19 Mar OpEd: The Emperor has no clothes (except a tight-fighting Spandex leotard)
Over the course of the past three and half years this website has been filled with all sorts of finger pointing and excuses for the problems that have plagued this agency since the change in administration. Make no mistake about it, the sole reason this agency is in such disarray and suffering from a complete lack of morale is the lack of leadership. I have worked very closely with the leadership since its inception and I can tell you that the lack of leadership the agency has experienced is a direct result of a lack of self-confidence, professional integrity, knowledge of current police practices, and overall leadership skills.
The first sign that we were in trouble was the hiring of multiple friends to positions within the department. This was, for all intents and purposes, a security blanket. Having a group of friends close by gave the leadership a greater comfort level, and a fan base per se, that would unconditionally come to the leadership’s defense against poor decision making and the overall lack of leadership skills. In order to build on the trust of friends, favoritism was extended to many of them in the form of specialty assignments, etc. This became even more of an issue when the friends that were hired: clerical staff, entry level officers etc. had more input in the day-to-day operations of the department than the command staff. Ultimately, the complete and udder downfall of the leadership began with the establishment of a Deputy Chiefs position.
The ex-DC easily identified just how weak the leadership was and quickly began acting as the de-facto head of the agency by taking complete advantage of the weak leadership and instilling a sense of paranoia that would enable him to control the leadership. Make no mistake about it; the ex-DC was the head of the agency right up to the point that the CM advised the ex-DC (through his intermediary) that his services were no longer needed. For the record, the ex-DC retired, but the fallout from his “retirement” resulted in the bitter end of a friendship that spanned many years. A relationship that was more about a bully and his weak, inept side kick, than anything else. *See letter to wife following dismissal.
Needless to say, life under the ex-DC’s reign became a living hell for most of us: attempts to prosecute numerous employees with phantom criminal charges, serving I.A. papers to an employee while he held vigil over a gravely ill daughter, orchestrating a quid pro quo situation to oust a long term employee, relieving people of their specialty assignments because they had the nerve to defend themselves during internal investigations. The list goes on and on. There is neither the time nor the space in this post to document all of the inequities. The history of his tenure has left an indelible stain on this agency and the damage he inflicted is known to all of us.
While everybody knows the evil that was perpetrated upon us during the ex-DC’s reign, the one question nobody seems to be asking is: Where was the leadership while the ex-DC was independently investigating us, terrorizing us, and threatening our livelihoods and the welfare of our families?
Being a party to, and condoning unethical and immoral practices, and showing no semblance of a moral compass are character flaws that no law enforcement agency should condone in their leadership. When the CM resorted to holding a meeting with the entire agency to deliver a message of: This is the leadership. If you don’t like it leave. The underlying message was: I’m stepping in to exert my will because the leadership has failed to earn the trust and has lost the respect of its followers. The minute the CM stood in front of us and uttered those words, the leadership lost any shred of credibility that may have remained amongst us. (For me personally, I lost that last bit of respect for the leadership after I witnessed the embarrassing, gushing, school boy crush routine that took place during a sergeant promotional ceremony – I was embarrassed for the agency that such an episode was put on public display).
There is nothing the leadership can do at this point to gain our trust and respect or reestablish any sense of credibility. Being invited to the Christmas party after being snubbed in the past does not absolve the leadership from the sins of the past. The Emperor Has No Cloths….we have seen the leadership, and it does not possess any redeemable leadership qualities. The observations of our leadership’s qualities are not restricted to those of us in the police department either. Employees throughout the city, including many of the Department Directors, speak quietly behind closed doors about the dysfunctional leadership of the agency. Most, if not all, wonder how low the CM will allow the agency to sink before stepping in and acknowledging a change must be made.
None of us are going to take the CM up on his offer to leave. Our personal well-being and the welfare of our families depend on our jobs. Please don’t confuse our need to remain employed with the approval of the leadership’s actions, character, or abilities. I for one will bide my time in the hope that new leadership is not far off. Anybody who believes that unethical, retaliatory behavior is a thing of the past, need only to look at the Support Lieutenant who was reassigned because he simply exerted his right to have lunch with a friend. Keep in mind that it was not the leadership’s decision to oust the ex-DC. The leadership had no problem with his continued unethical behavior. It was the CM’s mandate that put an end to the ex-DC’s wrath.
There will be those that will say: Let it go (with all due respect to Angela – and I do respect her). I would suggest those people were not the ones who were targeted by this administration. This administration tried to destroy people’s lives, people’s families. You don’t just forget that the welfare of your family, your children, was threatened. And for no other reason than someone wanted to justify their own existence and to showcase their investigative skills (or in this case, lack thereof). Until you’ve experienced it, don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be targeted for the sake of someone else’s ego. I refuse to pretend nothing ever happened. Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. Never forget……don’t ever forget!
I know job one for the leadership will be an all-out attempt to try and identify the author of this post. Trust me; I have been present for many of their internal witch hunts. Inevitably, the leadership will assign blame to someone, with little to no proof, and someone’s career will suffer (without them even knowing). I realize the likelihood of the leadership questioning the content of their character in all of this is non-existent, but the leadership should know how the past three and half years are viewed by the majority of us. Not the few that the leadership would like everyone to believe. If there’s any doubt which side represents the few, let’s take a vote!