How do you inform a public, who's only real source for news is a failing news paper that has shown a decade long bent on destroying anything labor? The local TV and radio stations simply read the writings of San Diego's only news paper, re-enforcing the slant provided by this so called news organization.
I have attached four (4) clips from YouTube. Three are news clips related to the exodus of Police Officers from the San Diego Police Department. Pay close attention to the numbers provided in each of these clips (I will povide accurate numbers when available). The last clip is one made by Officer John Graham, titled; "Happy Happens in San Diego".
The topic is fresh and relevant TODAY. We need to keep the pressure on and continue to focus on the public's safety. Put a face to the experience that is leaving. Educate the public with the realities of this exodus and how they stand to be affected; fewer police officers in the street; slower response time to ALL calls; inability to respond or handle "Quality of Life" issues; inability to adequately investigate misdemeanor crimes and property crimes such as residential and commercial burglaries and grand thefts; the potential for citizens to perceive excessive force when officers are faced with a combative subject and no cover, doing what is necessary to protect him/her self and the public and ensuring the arrest of the subject; officers who will burn out from being stretched to the limit, working long hours with fewer days off and no ability to take time off for the lack of adequate manpower; officer mistakes in judgment due to stress and fatigue. All of these issues are faced by soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other war zone. I am in no way saying what we are facing is anything like what our military continues to face on a daily basis in the middle east.
The POA needs to take the lead in this campaign. The membership needs to get involved. Sitting back and complaining about the lack of action is as much the member's responsibility as it is the Director's of the POA. Who is going to step up and LEAD? Who among you is willing to put your brother and sister officer's needs above your own?
We have not seen the worst of what is to come. This summer is going to be extremely difficult and will require a commitment never before seen from everyone; POI's; POII's; Detectives; Sergeants; Lieutenants and Captains, if we are to survive the heat of this summer. Taking care of one another first; ensuring each other's safety at all times. Help is a long way off when you get yourself in over your head by answering that Domestic Violence call; that fight in the park; the check the welfare; burglary alarm all without cover available. DON'T DO IT!!! Trying to help people, save people and make things better is what we are all about. But you can't do any of that if you are hurt, maimed or killed by violating your training and going against everything you know to be right.
Tell your friends, family and anyone that will listen, the crisis facing law enforcement in the City of San Diego. Share with them the realities of staffing and your inability to respond in a timely manner to any and all calls for service. Educate yourself about the numbers and the effect the exodus of experienced officers has had on protecting the public and fighting crime. Then take responsibility and educate the public. You owe it to yourself and your brothers and sisters in blue.
My last thought is about the Chief Officer's. I often hear anger, frustration and condemnation for the Chief and Assistant Chief's for the perceived lack of support or leadership. When the Chief appears on TV telling the public things are under control and the department has a plan he is doing his job and supporting his officers. The Chief's job is to balance the politics of the job and his commitment to his men and women. That is a difficult job in good times and impossible in times such as these. The mayor is pulling the strings and writing the script for the Chief's words and actions. The Chief could go rogue and say all the things we all want him to say and would pack his office within the next hour. The Chief has said openly the job of representing the officer's interests and needs is the POA. He is correct!!! Do not think for a second the Chief does not care or fight behind the scenes. (Holy-smokes; I sound like a suck ass; sorry) Let us take a step back and focus our energy where it will do the most good. That would be educating the public and getting the word out and most of all watching out for each other!!!