Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Polish the Brass

I retired last week and even in retirement I seem to get under the skin of the thin skinned brass of the San Diego Police Department. It is no secret I have little to no respect for the command staff of the department. The individuals who occupy space on the seventh floor of the Headquarters building need only look in a mirror to answer the question as to "Why" I have elected to eliminate them from my retirement party guest list.

I put out a flier letting friends and colleagues know of my impending retirement and party to celebrate. In the flier I made a not so tongue in cheek comment not wanting to deal with the brass and for them to stay home. This comment was directed at chief officers and a few captains. It did not take long for word to get back to me they were not happy with the slam. A couple captains I respect asked if they were included in the "No Brass" comment as well as several lieutenants. I explained my reasons and to whom the comment was directed at and meant for.

You see I have served for 32 years and 8 months as a sworn officer with the SDPD. During this time I also served for the better part of 25 years as an employee representative. I also served two times on the POA Board of directors. I made some enemies along the way. I was not shy about calling bullshit when the administration ran afoul of rights, MOU or policy. I knew the bill of rights, policy and the MOU better than they did. I pointed out when they were wrong. They didn't like it. I always did my pointing out in private and professionally. When the offending party fought back and continued the actions I was not shy about calling them out in public. Kill the messenger seemed to be their natural reaction.

I have been lied to so many times by chief officers that I grew weary of having to hear their voices. I have watched chief after chief spew lies to and about officers over everything from reasons for transfers, promotions, discipline, to why something (pick the event)occurred that did not make any sense. I watched chief officers and captains talk glowingly about an officer retiring, knowing the chiefs were all to happy the officer was leaving. Like me.

I know full well how the chief officers feel about me. They are doing the happy dance now that I am gone. They are no doubt having their own party to celebrate my departure. So I find it humorous they took exception to being excluded from my party's guest list. Their only reason for attending is to make themselves feel good and show people they are stand up, by attending and saying kind things about me. Excuse me while I puke.

My party is to rejoice and share happy memories with friends and colleagues. It is not a forum for a chief officer to say a bunch of empty crap everyone in attendance knows is crap so he or she feels good. I'm too old and to disgruntled to sit idle while one of them goes on and on about how I will be missed and how I made this a better place and how my experience and knowledge made them all better people. I'm about to up-chuck again.

I gave a few captains and four chiefs a bottle of beer for Christmas. The label on the beer was appropriately labeled, "Kiss Ass" ale. My case of "Ass Clown" beer did not arrive in time for the chief to get his beer and a couple of captains. I heard one of the recipients on the seventh floor wondered why he was included, saying he thought he always got along with me. If lying to me and doing everything in your power to screw me every chance you got was getting along... Well now you know I know.

My flier was on the desk officers desk as you enter the chiefs office. The officer was unaware of the exclusion of the Chief's. Someone removed the flier from the desk where retirement fliers are placed, any guesses who? It really does not matter to me. It shows the attitude and thinking of the persons on that floor. God help anyone who may associate themselves with me.

Respect is earned. A leader has ethics. Rank is acknowledged. Rank does not earn respect and a leader tells the truth and acts ethically even if the words and actions have an adverse consequence to him or herself. Killing the messenger does not make the message mute. I may be gone but I am not dead.

I hope to see friends, colleagues and partners at my party, Friday, January 13th, at the range. I have invited the Captains I respect and the lieutenants were told the no brass comment does not apply to them. To save any embarrassment, chiefs and those captains not offered an invite should stay away.


Anonymous said...

It's a celebration not an audition. One cool result is that perhaps if the brass is not in attendance the pretenders won't be either.

Anonymous said...

Congrat's my friend! You survived not only the streets, but the politics. Enjoy your retirement and take as much of "their" money as you can!

Anonymous said...

Steve - After reading your "Polish the Brass" article I felt as though I found a long lost twin! Your comments in many facets are spot on. For the very same reasons that you mentioned, I too, left the SDPD, albeit a few years earlier than I planned. Respect is truly earned and not expected, and simply promoting and surrounding yourself with people that will agree with you, does not make a leader. Looking back, there is no doubt that the early years of my career, the early 80's, were the prime of the SDPD. I will forever be thankful that I was able to serve during those years. Best wishes in your retirement Steve. It's well deserved.

Kevin said...

Congratulations Steve. You hit the nail on the head with this. The arrogance of the chiefs is constantly amazing to me. The mere fact they are upset says it all.

Now go enjoy retirement and have fun. I will see you on the 13th.

Anonymous said...

At a recent Commanding Officer's meeting, one of the Chief's with the smallest intellect asked what constituted "brass." I hope they show up because I'd like to see you blow thier shit out of the water!