Thursday, January 5, 2012

Come to the Party

I hope to see you at the party. Yes, I have excluded the chiefs and a few captains. I am in no mood to deal with them at my party. I had to hold my tongue when working but no longer do and won't. The phony, insincere, persona they project has no place in this world.

I hope to see old friends, partners, colleagues and bosses as I say farewell and thank-you. While I speak out and voice what many feel and believe; I hope people take notice and someone will find the courage to challenge when appropriate and to do what is right.

Be safe and take care of each other. Hope to see you next week!!!

I Got Off The Bus - Watching it Roll

I am that old, cranky, disgruntled cop, heading out the same door I have seen so many over the years walk through. I never saw myself as being that guy. I often wondered why so many, who during the majority of their careers, were upbeat, hard working, positive officers, suddenly became disgruntled and angry. I get it now. I'm that guy.

I enjoyed my career in law enforcement. That is, until I got near the end. The memories I take away from the job are for the most part positive ones. The friendships and camaraderie built over the years will be with me forever. The loss of friends from disease, violence and accidents have taken their toll. But the biggest contributor to the anger and frustrations leading to me being disgruntled is the administration of the San Diego Police Department. Take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I am admittedly disgruntled and some would say I have an ax to grind. But I am not fearful of the brass and being retired no longer have to hold my tongue and smile at the thin skinned administrators who believe because they have been elevated to a higher rank they are somehow smarter or more important than everyone else.

In my almost 33 years, I have worked for five chiefs, countless captains, lieutenants and sergeants. I have worked for some outstanding, dedicated professionals who were true leaders. They were ethical, honest, caring professionals who knew their craft and were tough disciplinarians, yet compassionate individuals. They were experienced, knowledgeable, tenured officers who spent time in investigations, patrol and the all important but miserable administrative jobs. They learned from doing and were not afraid to buck the status quo and challenge when things were not as they should be. They were leaders who earned the respect of the troops. They cared about their own integrity and that of their employees and what toll a bad apple among the ranks would cause. You knew there were activities that would result in certain termination. Solicit a prostitute and you were fired. Associate with known felons, gang members or drug dealers  or commit a crime of moral turpitude.and you were fired. Have sex on duty and you were sure to receive a suspension at the very least. Drunk driving arrests resulted in lengthy suspensions; second offenses would result in termination. Lie or falsify reports and you are of no use to anyone and you faced certain termination. Off-Duty incidents were thoroughly investigated. Lansdowne's response to off duty incidents; "call them in and tell them to knock it off." No investigation, no discipline, no accountability. "Boys will be boys." The erosion of ethics and accountability began almost immediately.

Things were not perfect and in 25 years of being an employee advocate/representative, I often advocated for employees who got themselves into trouble. I sought fair, reasonable and equitable discipline for transgressions. When an employee was found to have been involved with a prostitute, associate with known felons, gang members or drug dealers; get arrested for drunk driving; lie or falsify a report; I would often tell them what to expect. No one would support fighting for a person involved in criminal activity after a fair and complete investigation that proved the allegation and followed the rules.

Promotions have always been a bone of contention. Subjective vs Objective; filling a "need"; nepotism; friendships; reputation; rumor; politics. All play in the promotional process. The bastardizing of the Civil Service Rules governing promotions started with Bob Burgreen and have grown even worse under Lansdowne. Lansdowne added another layer to the promotional process, outside of Civil Service; "Kiss the Ring" that you must participate in if you have any hope or desire to get promoted. Put your ethics, backbone, brain and ability to make a decision in the closet, for you are of no use to the administration if you only act with ethics; stand up to or question a directive from the chief; make a decision that is clearly thought out and in the best interest of the employee and the department; or associate with someone with whom the administration dislikes. Remember; YOU are guilty by association when it comes to me!!!!

The ability to pass over candidates repeatedly and without explanation has reached new heights with this administration. We can all think of a certain promotion (we all have one or two or more in mind) and just shake our head in bewilderment. The higher the promotion (Captain and Chief) the greater the impact to the department for passing over the most qualified and experienced candidate. Look no further than the most recent promotions to understand the direction this department is headed. The chief surrounds himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear. Tell him the truth or disagree with him and he will cast you to the furthest command; out of sight out of mind. You should have put lipstick on that pig and told him she was beautiful before telling the old man the truth or disagreeing with him. Learn to use "Extraordinary" in every conversation (worked for one) and in the face of flooding after days of heavy rain, make sure the chief hears its sunny and 72 outside.

Does anyone have faith that any one of the recently promoted chief's or captains will challenge Lansdowne and speak up against or in disagreement with ANY issue? If you do, I have some land for sale at a great price in Florida. I can show it to you after 9 PM on any night the tide is low and there is no moon.

Micro-management is not supervision and surely not leadership. Cheerleaders or not leaders. Longevity does not equal experience. Trust is earned and Respect is gained. Information is power. Speaking up is not an act of defiance. Dilbert has no doubt been in the chief's conference room. He has written extensively about the goings on on the 7th floor of Headquarters.

This department is run on fear. Captains running scenes from their offices as well as running around jumping radio calls taking command of scenes once handled by a patrol sergeant. Lieutenants rushing out to bank robberies, domestic violence calls, street robberies and taking charge, directing sergeants, officers and detectives. Captains calling detectives, directing routine investigations after reading cases in CRMS, sometimes before the sergeant has had a chance to assign the case. Chiefs showing up at hostage scenes where SRT is being deployed and telling them what window to look in and how to use a pole mirror in an attempt to get eyes on. Then countermanding the SWAT units decision to make an emergency entry. Tell tale signs the chiefs and captains don't trust anyone and are the only ones who know how and what to do. All because of fear.

Chiefs, Captains, Lieutenants calling sergeants as they respond to hot calls, demanding information before it is available. When no information is available because no one is on scene yet, they will get in their car and respond, taking charge and getting in the way. Of the current field lieutenants, how many, if any, have experience in a pro active investigative unit (outside of Vice) or worked for more than a month in investigations (Homicide, Sex Crimes, Robbery, Narcotics) at any rank? The answer is none.

The sad truth is the administration is breading a culture of "wait for the brass." This is in turn breading a bunch of supervisors who are followers, not leaders. It all starts at the top. The assistant chiefs are afraid of number one. The captains are afraid of the assistant chiefs and number one. This is pushed down to the lieutenants who are afraid. Afraid to make a decision or act and the need to be in charge (or at least look like they are). Lieutenants and Captains refuse to stand up for their people out of fear they too will suffer the consequences of the chiefs anger. The thinned skin of chief officers when someone with the audacity to speak up or challenge "The Bigger Picture" is amazing.

"The Big Picture." How many times have you heard this phrase? The problem with this phrase is the command staff only sees what it wants to see and uses this phrase to create fear and justify their actions when there is no other explanation.

"The Big Picture"??? The wrong people are in the wrong seats on the bus. The bus is headed for a cliff and there is no one capable of stopping it.

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.