Category Archives: Law Enforcement Today articles

Incredible Virtues

Incredible Virtues

On September 12, 2001, we collectively vowed as a nation to take into account all that happened the previous day. “We will never forget,” read signs from coast to coast. FDNY and NYPD ball caps sold in record numbers. Thirteen years later I want to make good on that promise. May we remember the companionship lost, the laughs now restricted to our memories, and the human touch that was severed on one of the darkest days in American history.

While we solemnly pay tribute to those lost, may we also cherish the living. I wish to honor all marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and coast guardsmen, but especially those who join the civilian law enforcement community after completing their military tour of duty.

Regardless of what our tough exterior communicates, we are people who love humanity. The nature of our work is a testament to this love. We respond to aid those in need when others freeze. We run to trouble when most run from it. Yes, indeed, the law enforcement community in general exercises what is called the greatest gift; love. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love,” wrote Paul the Apostle in a deeply moving letter to those he cherished in Corinth.

Most people remember where they were on September 11, 2001. I was a patrol lieutenant serving as watch commander on swing shift in Orange County, California. I worked September 10, 2001 and arrived home at 2:30 a.m. on September 11. I was jolted by the news that greeted me when I awoke later that morning. I remained glued to the television all day.

One year later the Fountain Valley High School planned an assembly to commemorate the first anniversary of 9/11. I was honored when our chief offered my services to speak when the school asked for a representative from the police department. Trying to introduce meaning into the event from my perspective, I wrote a poem to share. It expressed what I believed then, and still believe today.

Of 2977 people who lost their life that day, 23 were from the New York Police Department, 37 from the Port Authority Police Department, 343 from the New York Fire Department, and 125 from the Pentagon. Countless others received long term emotional and physical trauma resulting from the day that will be forever etched in our memory.

The poem that follows is a tribute to the police officers and firefighters who valiantly served the citizens of New York, in both life and death, on that tragic day. They are words of respect for heroes from United Airlines Flight 93 who forced the plane to the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, undoubtedly saving many other lives in the process. They are thoughts to pay homage to the brave servants at the Pentagon, to all others who perished on September 11, 2001, and to those fighting the war on terror since that time.

Freedom comes with a price tag! Throughout history it has been purchased with an irreplaceable commodity, the blood of those willing to sacrifice their lives for the benefit of others. We do it because it’s at the core of our being. What an incredible virtue!

“Incredible Virtues”

Freedom wasn’t free

The price was sweat and blood

Freedom wasn’t free

Soldiers wounded in the mud

“Declaring Independence”

We shouted to the world

We sewed our stars and stripes

‘Old Glory’ was unfurled 

Our nation has been growing

For a couple hundred years

We’ve had more highs than lows

More smiles than the tears

Then evil hit our shores

Twelve months ago today

We chose no other option

But to respond the American way

We responded with our courage

With allegiance and our might

We responded with our sympathy

With fury and our fight

On a single dollar bill

The bald eagle sits in place

With the olive branch of peace

And the arrows of war in case

9/11 shook our world

Even on the Far West Coast

Note to other evildoers

We’ll defend what we love most

What we love most in life

Includes family and our friends

Two things that they stole from us

But it’s not the bitter end

We have three more they cannot have

Faith, hope, and love within

And since they are secure in us

Liberty’s torch will never dim

—Jim McNeff


Jim is the author of The Spirit behind Badge 145. He worked in military and civilian law enforcement for thirty-one years. While in the USAF he flew as a crewmember aboard the National Emergency Airborne Command Post—a presidential support detail. Following his military service, he served for twenty-seven years with the Fountain Valley Police Department in Orange County, California where he retired as a lieutenant. During his career in law enforcement, he worked with, supervised, or managed every element of the organization. He holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Southwest University and graduated from the prestigious Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute as well as the IACP course, Leadership in Police Organizations. Jim is married and has three adult children and three grandchildren. You can contact him at or view his website which is geared toward helping officers.

– See more at:

Incredible Virtues

Leave a comment

Filed under Law Enforcement Today articles

Cops and Cavemen; Come out of the Cold

Chief at Rotary

First posted Law Enforcement Today; March 25, 2013 in Featured, Leadership, Posts by Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

What’s With This Person?

I was speaking with a Law Enforcement Agency’s Commander about an officer who just did not seem to grasp an agency’s vision. Although clearly communicated over the last several years in agency-wide meetings, in-services, e-mails, social media, and personal conversations the officer just refuses to “get on board.”

This Commander is fully committed to the city, the agency and the progressive vision of the administration. The officer, uh…..not so much. In our last conversation about this officer the Commander asked, “Why can’t the officer just see what we are building?”


I replied that he is a “laggard.” He knew me well enough to understand that there was more, much more behind that term. Enjoying the dramatic pause, I then followed with “and you are an innovator!” He was still not convinced my response addressed the adversarial officer.

The Spread of Great Ideas

How do great ideas spread, what does it take for a product to catch the public’s imagination or why do organizations adopt behaviors as acceptable? There is a term originating from the social sciences called Diffusion of Innovations.

The term seeks to explain how, why and at what rate do new ideas and technology spread through various cultures. Consider the domestic application of fire. Someone’s great, great, great…grandfather had an experience with fire in a manner positively affecting the quality of his life. This also benefited the community, thus the culture of early human groupings and prosperity.

Had that innovation been quenched by an elder for the sake of maintaining tribal traditions, where would we be today? Literally; in the dark.

Obviously this innovation was replicated by the few with a capacity for appreciating, understanding, and promoting the domestic use of fire. Even though, how did a torch in Asia Minor spread to the Pacific Northwest?


Fire, like the progressive vision of an administration, requires four elements influencing the adoption, implementation and sustainment of the vision.

1. Innovation

2. Communication channels

3. Time

4. Social systems

Relying on human capital to promote the wide-spread adoption of the new idea is critical for establishing it as a cornerstone of an administration. A Neanderthal passed that first torch, who then passed the next torch, and so on.

A Chief of Police (sometimes called a Neanderthal) shares their fire with a new vision, an organizational ideal or an operational paradigm shift. Then they wait for the agency to openly embrace the progressive public service direction. Then wait and wait.

Stop wasting your time waiting for something to happen. It won’t, and you will be like the solo caveman before the successful caveman who introduced fire to humanity.

The first one probably sat in a cave alone thinking how awesome and hot his new idea was. He never shared that flame, that fire, that passion for improving the collective culture. He probably expired in the cold after that flash extinguished.

I understood this concept as a new chief and strategically planned the introduction of my vision for organizational change. It was not wrapped around ego, but founded upon scientific principles of administration, theory, data analysis and old-fashioned accountability.


The Innovation element was the organizational reliance upon data with NHTSA’s Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS). This proven philosophy has realized significant reductions in social harms formerly plaguing communities deserving a better quality of life.

Communications Channels

The Communications Channels used agency-wide introductions, e-mails, social media, public presentations and personal conversations to share the vision with actionable items for achieving quantifiable goals and performance standards. The element of time is the most difficult, because as chiefs we want it done yesterday. It is our idea, so it must be great and accepted immediately.


Time is critical, as is timing. I always reassure my staff that I will not be out worked or out waited. If you have been on the job more than a year, you know what I mean. Time can be your friend or your enemy. In a fraternity where the primary goal becomes earning pension, they also know how to leverage “time” against your innovative ideas.

Social Systems

The final element required for achieving diffusion of innovations are Social Systems. Who do you go to lunch with regularly? How many mealtimes have you and posse in tow walked out past other officers?  As the leader of any organization it is vital that you do not allow that sense of comfort to control your actions. The perception of segregation or elitism spills water on the flame of your vision. Re-engage your team with your time and sincere attention.

Back to Officer Laggard. I explained to the Commander that an idea needs to reach a point of critical mass before becoming part of the culture. Reality is, not everyone will adopt your vision, as not everyone thought the “Flowbee” was great for cutting their own hair.

After convincing enough in your agency that the passion behind the vision produces sustainable results, they will also promote your vision and embrace it as their own. The good news is, you do not have to gain the support of every individual to obtain critical mass.

The “S” Curve Chart

This is where I should have paid more attention in math and statistics courses, but here it goes. Remember the Bell curve that spared so many of us from failing grades? It’s here again to demonstrate the phases and population adoption percentages for achieving critical mass (acceptance.)

The Diffusion of Innovations “S” Curve chart

Cultural Innovators & Early Adopters

Cultural innovation, be it fire or an IPhone involve four types of people. Only a small percentage of the culture is Innovators. Only one Steve Jobs, William Bratton, or you! These innovations are embraced by the Early Adopters. These are the officers embracing the new zero tolerance for DWI enforcement, or the first in line for the IPhone 76. They will carry the flag of your vision faithfully, regardless the cost or inconvenience.

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...Early Majority

Your first big slice of the culture’s population is the Early Majority. Great news is, you are no longer the single voice preaching the powerfully positive influences of your vision.  You’ve collected other Innovators and Early Adopters to carry your banner.  You have now achieved critical mass, and your policies, practices and persona are eligible for cultural sustainment. Eligible I say, because nothing is guaranteed.

Late Majority

Rounding down the employee pool is the Late Majority who will comply because the others seem to be benefitting from it. This group will not respond to your motivational plea, only to your very specific directions for what it is you want them to accomplish.  These employees are not contrary to the agency’s objective, but they are a reality and must be included in the vision sharing.


Finally, Officer Laggard. He will only embrace your ideology when placed in personal jeopardy. Let off the pedal and they are back to a dead stop. While you may rejoice once Officer Laggard retires, resigns or finds employment in a scrapyard, it is short-lived euphoria.

There will always be a percentage, although a very small subculture of your population, as laggards.

Maintain your focus and your presence. Laggards drain your creative energies and distract you from providing your best positive mentoring attentions to those officers willing to trust the new direction.

Energy & Equity

Being successful in leadership also involves the wise expenditure of personal energy and equity investments. A sure way to fail in supervision is believing you can satisfy everyone. Don’t neglect fanning the flames of your “team” because the laggard wants to sit out in the dark.

Maybe the nocturnal wolf of unemployment will snatch him!


Learn more about this article here:

Rogers, E. M. (1960). Social change in rural society: A textbook in rural sociology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Rogers, E. M. (1962). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press.

Scott Silverii, PhD is a native of south Louisiana’s Cajun Country and serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Thibodaux, Louisiana. Spending twenty-one previous years with a CALEA accredited Sheriff’s Office allowed opportunities for serving various capacities including 12 years narcotics, 16 years SWAT and Divisional Commands. Chief Silverii earned a Master of Public Administration and a Doctorate in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans, focusing his research on aspects of culture and organizations.  A member of IACP’s prestigious Research Advisory Committee, Chief Silverii, author of “A Darker Shade of Blue: From Public Servant to Professional Deviant” and contributor for TheBadgeGuys, is available at, @ThibodauxChief, or

Chief Silverii first posted this article at Law Enforcement Today; Cops and Cavemen; Come out of the Cold

1 Comment

Filed under Law Enforcement Today articles, The Cultural Revolution

Chicago is Adopting The “Broken Windows” Strategy | Law Enforcement Today

Chicago Police Department

Chicago is Adopting The “Broken Windows” Strategy

Editor’s NOTE: In a city with a high propensity for violent crime, do you think fixing windows and erasing graffiti is the solution? Is The broken windows theory a crime fighting strategy or a quality of life improvement plan? Either way, something’s got to give.

May 5, 2013 in Crime, Crime Prevention, Featured, Posts by Jean Reynolds

In January, Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced that 200 police officers were going to be reassigned to patrol work. Two weeks later, McCarthy had more news for Chicago residents:

Focusing on the little things

He is proposing an ordinance to authorize arrests for unpaid tickets for public urination, public consumption of alcohol, and gambling—“the three top complaints,” he said, from Chicago residents.

“Fixing the little things prevents the bigger things,” said McCarthy, a longtime advocate of the “broken windows” approach to fighting crime. “Broken windows” is the brainchild of social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling.

The theory behind it

They claimed that unrepaired windows, litter, and other signs of neighborhood decay constitute an announcement that a neighborhood has stopped taking responsibility for the quality of life in its public spaces. The next step is for responsible citizens to start moving out—and for lawbreakers to move in.

To learn more about it

To Read More about Chicago’s paradigm policing shift;  Chicago is Adopting The “Broken Windows” Strategy | Law Enforcement Today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Law Enforcement Today articles, Research Work

Police Dispatchers: Unsung Heroes and Lifelines

Police Radio Communications Operator

Wrapping up our week of honoring Dispatchers is this piece posted by one of my favorite sites, Law Enforcement Today

Dispatchers; we truly appreciate you.

Dispatchers: Unsung Heroes and Lifelines

by Niki Tallent

March 14, 2013

According to the LA Police Protective League in discussing the shoot out with disgraced former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner, “The chilling audiotape makes one thing clear: the civilian dispatcher did an outstanding job.

She performed flawlessly during this critical tactical incident. Her calm and professionalism most certainly saved officer lives. Being a police dispatcher is harder than most people think. In this case, the dispatcher fulfilled her duties with unfailing focus, composure and expertise. The incident underscores the essential role played by the dedicated emergency services dispatchers nationwide.”

You can listen to this brave dispatcher’s amazing job performance here:

Hearing someone’s last thoughts, panic and fear pour through a headset as you are sitting in a room helpless and wanting to protect could be the worst moment of your life.

The worst possible call I could ever receive would be an “officer down” call. Just thinking about it makes my heart do a flip-flop. This is not just because I am married to a LEO, but because I am a lifeline.

A dispatcher is a…

via Dispatchers: Unsung Heroes and Lifelines | Law Enforcement Today.

About the Author:

Niki Tallent married to her LEO James Tallent reside in Arkansas with their 5 sons and one dog. Niki is a 911 operator/dispatcher and her husband James a Deputy at Pulaski County. Niki went to Lakeside High School and soon started working as a dispatcher after her first son was born. Niki became Director for Arkansas Wives Behind the Badge Auxiliary after wanting to support LE even more. She joined Wives Behind the Badge Arkansas Auxiliary in March of this year, trying to find my place to help impact Arkansas LEOWs. In September She took over as Director of Arkansas Wives Behind the Badge after talking it through with my husband, whom at first was skeptical of the workload involved. The support for me from other LEOWs was absolutely amazing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Law Enforcement Today articles, The Blue Blitz, The Cultural Revolution

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

SWAT PIC SOLO TORSOFebruary 13, 2013

in Featured, Patrol, Posts

by Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

Let’s explore why it is so hard to “break up” from a job you love and love to not love. before beginning, I was approached by a lady Saturday night while monitoring a downtown nightclub crowd following the Ambrosia Mardi Gras parade. She is not associated with law enforcement and I am not sure who she is.

She was kind enough to share having read my previous LET article entitled, “I Quit!”. She emphasized that she read the whole thing. I was curious if she meant it was interesting, or long! Either way, it was a kind gesture. If she is reading this; thank you and owe this inspiration to you.

I realized then, that in addition to the many e-mails I receive from all of you in support of our cultural revolution, these principles apply to everyone. I write to encourage sincere public servants, but also know that cultures exist in all aspects of society.

Who knows, we may ignite a “change” reaction in another industry while recreating ours. I believe dedicated professionals are ready for a change, and desire a singular vision directing their energy. I believe “we” are the soldiers of evolution, and in our generation of service, a n

via Breaking Up Is Hard To Do | Law Enforcement Today.


1 Comment

Filed under Law Enforcement Today articles, Personal Perspective, Research Work, The Cultural Revolution