A tough hard look
This topic is one that most police executives and managers would rather avoid. It may appear that I am beating a dead horse but it is a topic that I’m passionate about.
And there is good reason for that.
As I have discussed in previous articles, policing in our country is at a crossroad. Agencies are having an extremely hard time retaining good cops and hiring quality candidates.
But this article does not lay all of the blame at the feet of leadership. I have already addressed leadership in other articles. This one addresses the rank and file.
I bet you weren’t expecting that.
Now don’t get me wrong, if the leadership is terrible then you are in far worse shape than just being dysfunctional. I know some, especially those of rank, may question my experience or lack of seeing the bigger picture from the lowly rank of sergeant.
And to a point they would be correct.
But I’m not your typical police sergeant. I’m not saying that I am better than others of the same rank (I’m not even the best sergeant in my own police department).
But I do have the ability and the stones to speak through social media platforms on issues that face all of us. Sadly, many are either too scared or are too wrapped up in themselves to advocate for our profession.
Roughly 80 percent of the articles that I write are satire. I use satire to amplify issues that effect cops everywhere.
Our founding fathers also used satire to blast the tyrannical rule of England. It was and still is a powerful medium to get your point across and to also bring laughter.
This article, however, is not one of them.
This post is going to sting a little bit. Some more than others.
This article is not satire.
1. Too many arrogant douche bags
I told you it would sting.
The douche baggery that I am referring to isn’t just synonymous with police agencies.
But the DB that I am describing does have some unique differences that are magnified greatly when one of these has a badge.
We all know him or her (sorry ladies but you should know me by now).
They are the greatest cop or detective since the job was invented.
All you have to do is ask them.
They love to tell the bosses how awesome they are, forever bringing up an arrest or a case that they solved. And each time they tell it the story becomes more legendary.
And typically these DB’s will throw you and anyone else under the bus if they perceive that their awesomeness is being threatened by you.
Before long you will have a situation where no one trusts each other. This reason alone is enough to dismantle and begin the implosion process of your agency if not kept in check.
It wouldn’t matter if you paid them six figures for the job, they just do the bare minimum to keep it.
This laziness, this total apathy to do the absolute minimum, not only spreads like a virus but also destroys morale.
We have all heard the old adage that the workers who do a good job get rewarded for their effort by getting more work assigned. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t true.
The odd thing about these offenders is that they will expend more effort trying to get out of work then if they were to just complete the original task.
If not checked, this behavior can spread throughout your agency like a cancer.
And yes, I know, cliques are just a part of life in every organization.
In my 23 years of policing, I have sat back and watched the various cliques in my agency and have made some interesting observations.
And I’m betting that these are very similar to every other police department in the country.
Let’s start with the female officer cliques.
This clique is the smallest but may have the strongest bond. The partnerships formed by female officers are both unique and complicated.
Because there are so few female officers in law enforcement, the cliques that they form are usually force multipliers.
What do I mean by that?
Simple, they look out for one another. They are almost forced into this way of operating because of how small their numbers are compared to males in the profession.
The flip side of female officer cliques can be just as brutal. If you try and go it your own and not willingly accept the clique then you are an island. Also, if you are a terrible officer and are female, god help you with this group.
Black officer cliques are very similar to female officer cliques.
Black officers look out for each other. And they are much more forgiving when one of their own is not performing well or is perceived as not performing well. Black officers also appear to rejoice more so in the promotion of one their own versus other cliques.
Like female officer cliques, when one of their own is promoted it’s seen as a win for the group more so than the individual.
Then there are the white male officer cliques.
Or the lack there of.
White male officers, in my observation, tend to go it alone throughout their careers and don’t conform to cliques. This is not to say that they don’t have close friendships but the bond of a group or clique just isn’t there.
This lone-wolf mentality can sometimes lead to an over zealous pursuit of getting ahead or promoted, usually at the expense of their peers.
“But Sarge, why are you even talking about this?” or “What makes you think you know what it’s like to be black or female?”
These are legitimate questions.
I do not know what it’s like to be black or female.
But I do have a brain and have observed these behaviors for over two decades. This is not to say that my observations differ greatly from your department or agency.
My gut tells me that many are similar to what I have just described.
The point that I am making is that we all need to drop the veil of exclusion and become united in our cause.
One team working for the common good against evil without the inner turmoil that these 3 examples can bring.
We must, as a profession, recognize and treat these viruses that have the potential to decimate a police or sheriff’s office.
All of us working together as a team and lifting each other up.
One blue team for us all.