Leadership put to the test
Tennessee – In a bold and now disastrous move initiated last year by Chief Sam Trautman of the New Haven Police Department, all command staff officers were ordered to work and investigate all homicides.
This is in response to the public outcry about the abysmal solve rate for murders in the past few years committed in this city of 135,000.
Since the command staff took over the homicide unit, 24 murders were committed in the beleaguered city.
And the results of the Chief Trautman’s controversial strategy??
And it’s not a typo.
One murder solved since the Chief’s command staff officers took over.
“I stand before each of you and declare that this was a big, big mistake,” declared Chief Trautman.
“I committed the cardinal sin of policing when I let my emotions overrule good common sense,” he continued apologetically.
New Haven had seen a spike in homicides over a short period of time and the public was questioning why so few of them were being solved.
During a much heated meeting last year with his staff, one of the Captains blurted out, “if I was investigating these murders….. “
“I should have known better than to let a guy who spent most of his career in crime prevention take over our Homicide Squad,” said Trautman sheepishly.
“But I had to do something.”
Instead of addressing the real issues like morale or filling vacancies in uniform patrol, this chief, like many others leading our nations police departments across the country, thought this plan would work.
In over their heads
“We were in over over our heads from the start,” said Captain Baker, the group appointed leader of the team.
“You would have thought between a Lieutenant, 3 Captains and a Major, that one of us could draw on our experience as investigators,” Captain Baker said in a hushed tone.
“It became clear early on that none of us had ever worked a murder,” Baker admitted.
“The closest thing we had to experience was the 6 months that Maj. Barry pulled in the auto theft squad back in the late 80’s,” Baker related.
“And he let’s us know every chance he gets, especially the stolen moped ring he shut down.”
The murders were coming in so fast that Baker’s Homicide team couldn’t keep up. Two on the team refused to work nights or weekends saying that rank has its privileges.
One by one, day after day, the bodies were piling up.
Baker Team was getting behind and couldn’t keep up.
It wasn’t so much that most of the staff only worked a 3 day work week on average, it was their experience that hindered them from being real cops.
Initially, it took the team two days to write a search warrant for a case but after several months they were able to write one in under three hours.
The Chief was about to pull the plug on this experiment when finally an arrest was made by Baker Team.
A study in perseverance
It became obvious early on that the Command Staff for the New Haven PD were ill prepared for their new assignment.
Until the day it happened.
The day they solved their first homicide.
And yes, some critics of “Baker Team” will contend that the case was a “grounder” being the shooter actually turned himself in at police headquarters.
“And yes, the alleged suspect in this case turned himself into police headquarters with a full, written confession,” Baker announced.
It was also learned that the suspect provided members of Baker Team with video surveillance footage of the shooting showing the suspect as the lone shooter.
“We still have some loose ends to tie up but it clearly shows one thing,” shouted Major Barry. “That even though our only goal in police work was to make rank, we can still do the job when called into action.”
The Chief has decided to let “Baker Team” return to their staff positions at police headquarters resuming their roles as “yes men” and “ladies”, for the organization.
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