Change. Not the kind you get back for a dollar at the store or find in the couch cushions, real change. Change for the sake of change. Change because the Big Ikes have nothing else to do. Change because they said so. Change that no matter what, leads to misery.
If your really unlucky, talk will start in your police department about change. If you start hearing about a process of ongoing improvement, your in trouble. Here are some activities that show someone is sneaking this thing in. Avoid them at all costs, or get something for the chronic indigestion that is right around the corner.
1. Rocking the boat
If you rock the boat, it is likely to get swamped and everyone will at the least get wet, if not out right drown. Think about it: the art of stability is to maintain the status quo! No one stands up, no one reaches too far. The boat is steady, and the sailing is smooth. Those people in the boat with big ideas must have ulterior motives. In police departments we all know what that motive is: P.R.O.M.O.T.I.O.N. What else explains their crazy, risky behavior?
2. The improvement trap
If #1 gets out of hand, inevitably someone will suggest that there is room for improvement. You know the routine: we can do it faster, we can do it with fewer mistakes, we can do it and actually save money and time, we can treat the customers better… The list goes on and on. Police often face this madness from people that do not even work at the police department! We know the truth, we didn’t get this far being idiots, we don’t need to be insulted with suggestions that we could do better, when we know we are on top of the game.
3. Looking at your PD as a whole and ignoring the individual parts
Right. Let’s be real for a minute. Its the individual parts that make up the system, and honestly, our part and our crew, are likely the reason for the success of the organization to date (although we never get credit for it). If our crew spent too much time figuring out what another crew was up to, or endless amounts of time in meetings and coordinating with the other parts, when would things get done? If the other parts of the organization want to improve, they should start following us and stop slowing everyone else down.
4. Work smarter, not harder
Makes sense; NOT! So instead of rolling up the sleeves, applying the elbow grease and throwing labor at the operation, we sit around and talk about how the work should be performed. For coppers, we just need to focus on getting to the calls and working those cases. Gumshoes. No time for that new shiny idea out there that will just get in the way. Let the Chief’s staff do all the hard thinking, that’s why they get paid the big bucks.
5. Finding ways to measure operations
Another time waste; instead of getting onto that next call or interviewing another witness, we will sit around and write more things about what we did instead of just doing. How are we doing? Busy, that’s what we are, busy. Sounds like more micro management to me.
6. Use teamwork and share ideas
Teamwork? Our squad, our platoon, our division. If that’s not team work than what is? And sharing ideas? When is the last time patrol ever heard a peep out of the detectives, or vice versa? The last time our crew shared an idea, someone else took credit for it. The time before that, no one listened. So much for what sharing will do.
7. Engaging the community
Oh this, again. We are engaged in community, everyday and every hour. Where else would we be? If the community is not grateful that’s not on us; that’s on them. If we are so bad, why do they keep calling? How come they never complain? They have choices you know.