The tenor of the comments to my latest BLOG posts seems to have taken on a much different tone of late. Frustration, anger, disgust and a bit of fear have begun to dominate. The focus of these words seems to be the chief officers occupying the 7th floor. I have deliberately stayed away from bashing or joining in the discussions when it moves in that direction. I walk a fine line as I write at times between the protections afforded under the First Amendment to the Constitution and violating department policy. Taking on the department brass in a public forum has proven to be an unprotected right and has in the past subjected individuals to discipline.
I have had several discussions with various members of the 7th Floor (for non members of the San Diego Police Department the 7th floor is where the offices of the Chief's are situated) and have observed visible anger as they would discuss a particular BLOG post and the "Anonymous" poster. The common theme among them is their view of those persons who post comments as "Anonymous" they are "cowards; trouble makers; idiots; not to be taken serious; and meaningless" and they (chief officers) reject out of hand what is posted by those using this label.
To some degree I agree with this view; and again I said to some degree. I would prefer people select a user name when posting comments and stick with it. This accomplishes several things in my mind; allows for dialogue back and forth with me and others; provides a name, albeit a pseudo name for others to identify with; and brings the writer of the comments more respect. BUT, I completely understand why people chose to remain "Anonymous" and not provide any hint or glimmer of their identity. I will hold myself up as the poster child for why it is better at times to remain anonymous when writing things that are not politically correct or may offend the target of the rant.
This BLOG started out "Anonymous" and my intention was to keep it that way. I had not thought through the name I assigned to the BLOG and a couple of people called me out. They did this innocently and not with any malice to injure or create problems. After about 2 weeks I came out from behind the monitor and identified myself and took ownership of the contents of this BLOG. It was not long after I became known as the author I started hearing certain people (management) were upset with me. I was careful not to rant about the department or its members and stayed clear of the dialogue about the perceptions many people voiced about the members of the 7th floor.
I have on several occasions been challenged for the content of my posts to this BLOG by members of management. These same individuals have expressed the perception my comments about the mayor, council and others in some way creates a climate that somehow makes their job more difficult. I was asked by three of those on the 7th floor how the chief could promote me to lieutenant with my BLOG being so negative toward the mayor and council. I believed then and still believe my BLOG and the content of my posts should have had no part of the discussion relative to my abilities and qualification for promotion. I am also not so naive as to believe my BLOG would not become a topic during these discussions.
Back to my initial topic; "Message from Anonymous" and the implications of being identified or worse, ignored. Sometimes we reject out of hand a message from someone we do not like; have a low opinion of; or have a poor relationship with. We take the position, "consider the source" and close our minds to what it is this person may say or write. We all do this, some of us more often than others and some of us are not even discreet about the manner we take when rejecting the information. The problem is we miss important information by doing this.
I am aware the people on the 7th floor are regular readers of this BLOG. I am also aware these same people take issue with the comments posted by "Anonymous." I believe the messages being put out by "Anonymous" are being missed and not being taken serious. The frustration with a perceived lack of support from the chief officers is a common theme among posters. The frustration is growing by the day and incidents mounting giving cause to the frustration turning to anger and disgust. Officers, detectives, sergeants and others grumble openly about their perception no one is willing to stand up and support them. They watch with anger and frustration press conferences where the public is told crime is down and all is well in San Diego with the police officers and the department. They see interviews where the lack of staffing is downplayed and the mayor discusses further reductions to wages, benefits and personnel. They speak out at the perception no one is standing up for them. They point north to Los Angeles PD and the chief standing on the steps of city hall challenging the council to provide additional personnel. They grumble about the perceived lack of communication from management and have grown weary of hearing bad news in the press when the belief is the information should be provided from within. Many feel they are being lied to and would prefer open, honest discussion from management about the budget and other issues facing them.
The frustration, anger, disgust and fear coming through the comments on my BLOG cannot be ignored or discounted because the person posting them wishes to remain anonymous. The messages need, at the least, to be viewed and discussed by the management of the police department. Individuals who may be the focus of the comments must take the comments in and determine if there is a cornel of truth and act accordingly. "Anonymous" has a message that must be taken seriously. Discount if you must the messenger, but take heed of the message and make this a better place tomorrow than it is today.