Sunday, July 12, 2009

Take Care of Number ONE!!!

The first weekend after the 4th of July saw division's city wide struggle to meet staffing. I can relate to part of the problem; officers calling in sick. I have been struggling with a stomach virus for the past 4 days and spent Friday and Saturday lying in bed or on the couch (Still feeling puny and on the couch). If there is anything good to come from this, it's the loss of about 8 pounds (OK, I know, that's like throwing a deck chair off the titanic) and some much needed rest. I think this may be a trend as officers work longer hours; have fewer days off and move in and out of the air conditioned car to the sweltering heat of summer.

We all need to be aware of our bodies and what it's telling us. We need to take care of "Number ONE." If ever there was a time to take care of ourselves, this is it. If you are feeling sick and run down; do not come to work and infect the rest of your squad. Take the time off necessary to fight the bug and get back on your feet. Take your vitamins and supplements; eat properly and stay hydrated. Cut back on your workouts if you are feeling run down and starting to show signs of illness. The adage of working through it has been shown to be a fallacy; it will simply run you down more and hinder your ability to fight off some of the more low level bugs.

To those of you who work a lot of volunteer overtime or second jobs; remember you need time to refresh and rejuvenate your bodies. Late nights and too much alcohol is not on the list of to do's from the doctor. Take time to relax, rest, charge those batteries. The lack of staffing is not a reason to let yourself go and not take care of you. If you do not take care of "Number ONE" you will not be any good to those who count on you most. Keeping your mind and body fit is paramount to your safety and the safety of your partners.

I heard over the weekend 20+ officers called in sick on Saturday. It appears this created a concern that there was some sort of a coordinated "Sick-out." I am confident this is not the case and those who called in sick were in fact legitimately ill and not capable of working. That being said; I would offer these suggestions for supervisors, managers and officers;

  • We need to pay attention to each other and support one another.
  • If a squad member appears to be fatigued and showing signs of illness or fatigue, demand they go home and rest.
  • Supervisors need to monitor the overtime of officers for stress and fatigue.
  • Managers need to encourage officers to take vacation time at least once a year to relax and recharge.
  • Officers need to make it a point to take time off, over and above the three days off each week. Being away from the stresses of the job for several days in a row will allow the mind and body to recharge and release those stressors that create illness.
  • Supervisors and Managers need to have a plan to accommodate those times when officers are run down, stressed or ill. Acknowledge the officers importance but honor their need to take necessary time away from the job to prevent or overcome illness.

We owe it to one another to look out for each other. As supervisors and managers we owe it to our officers and the department to take care of them and ensure they are fit both mentally and physically. We owe it to officers to reduce the outside stressors and provide support and encouragement for the job they do; whatever it takes. This may mean going a person down on a busy night and sending an officer home who is over tired, run down or feeling the effects of the stresses of life and the job.

Be safe and take care of "Number ONE."


Anonymous said...

Given the way that police officers have been treated in this city recently I believe that a "SICK-OUT" would be attention getting. Remember "Loyalty" is a two-way street and the city isn't paving their side of the street. KEEP IT A SECRET AND SICK-OUT SATURDAY JULY 18, 2009. MAKE THE CITY CALL BACK OFFICERS ON OVER-TIME. THEY REFUSED LAST WEEKEND AND PUT OFFICERS IN DANGER; IS THAT LOYALTY?????

POII in Patrol said...

I would love to see a sick-out BUT it will NEVER happen. To coin a phrase I have heard Sparky use over and over; "If the POA were giving away one million dollars and members had to be at the office at a specific time to split the money equally; half would not show up; half of those who decided to attend would be late and those who showed up on time to split the money would argue over how much they got."

The membership of the POA is NOT united on ANYTHING and there would be ABSOLUTELY NO WAY this would be effective. Even if 1/3 of those who were suppose to be at work did this, you would simply have 50 people facing discipline or termination. Who wins?

Sparky has said it before and I agree; we all need to do our job professionally and by the book!!! Do complete investigations, collecting evidence, witness checks and write the report before going 10-8. Do not go to Priority one calls alone; WAIT FOR COVER. Do not wash ANY reports out and enforce the law the way you were trained. If someone needs to be arrested; do your job and make the arrest. STOP warning people because there are no units to answer calls. You job is to put people in jail. Write tickets for moving violations; NO WARNINGS!!!

If you are sick or stressed out; take time off. You owe it to yourself and your family like Sparky said.

If I thought for one second 100% of officers (POI, POII, Det, Sgt, LT) would follow through on a sick out, I would be right there with you. It is not going to happen.

Laughing Out Loud Retired Sergeant said...


POA Members??? Yea right!!!!!

Bunch of selfish, all about me, money hungry spoiled city workers who think they are owed the world.

I have a picture of this!!!


Beat And Release said...

I have to say this and might get hammered for it, but sick leave is one of my pet peeves. Yes, it's a benefit, but it's one I have difficulty using. Eight years in the military did that.

In the service, you have to report to sick call at your unit. If the medics think you're sick enough, you get sent to the clinic. I have been sent to the clinic so sick I could barely stand, yet I was sent back to full duty each and every time. I learned to just suck it up and head into work.

Old habits (and training) die hard. Sick leave abuse trips my trigger. My folks know the way I feel - you don't owe any loyalty to the current political admin or the current department admin. The folks you do owe your loyalty to are your squad-mates. Calling out sick when you truly aren't only causes the team to be short and sets up a potential officer safety issue. I know if I called in sick to stay home and drink beer and one of my guys or gals got hurt, or worse, I would feel like shit.

Just my opinion. Yours may differ.

San Diego Detective said...

Excellent post Steve. I sure hope you get promoted to Lieutenant. You are what we need for the next several years.

We need more Sergeants and Lieutenants like this to speak up and tell the truth and at the same time support the troops as well as the department. This is a great department; the city government sucks.

Thanks Steve for sharing with us.

A Patrol Sergeant said...

I appreciate this post Steve. I have discussed this with my people and it has been passed around the station. I have to tell you, every person who has read or discussed this is in agreement and hopes this is what ALL supervisors will begin to do. A lot of us already do these things but this is re-enforcement to each of us at a time we all need a gentle reminder.

Thanks again Steve. Job well done again!!