Category Archives: The Blue Blitz

“If Not Us, Who?”

“If Not Us, Who?”

My heart weighs heavy in this week before the important decisions contemplated by a civilian grand jury in another state. After nearly 25 years of serving my community and country, I see the potential for an occupationalrevolution. The potential for substantially significant cultural change. While most revolutions are spurned through violence, this cannot be one of them.

Soon, events born in violence will again effect this country. Not just for today, but years to come. Regardless what you think of the decisions made by a civilian body, it’s critical to understand we are a nation of laws. You have the privilege (thank you military) to disagree with them, but not the right to break them.

The cultural evolution of expectations leading us away from the tenets of our founding fathers and the Constitution has left America in a state of moral and ethical conflict between knowing the laws, versus respecting the application of those laws.

Trapped in that conflict is the individual police officer. Empowered by the State to serve and protect, they’re also emasculated by that same State. Policies, regulations and public expectations factor heavily into each individual decision that police officer must make. Whether its writing a parking ticket or taking someone’s life.

The only constant in this equation is that not reacting is not an option for the police officer. An oath was sworn to with right hands raised. While truth, honor and sacrifice may have lost its significance to some, it’s still the reason that police officer leaves his family for duty.

They report for duty knowing that at any moment conflict may arise. It matters not if that conflict involves the braggart who claims to pay their salary, or the kid who marvels at the sun beaming off the rookies badge. The police officer swore to an oath, and no matter how human frailty may creep into that police officer’s singular decision at that one moment in their life, they and every police officer will be judged by that one moment.

When the decision is made to react to that conflict, despite the universal burden of knowing every eye is and will be upon you, a decision is made. It’s an unbelievable responsibility to take another person’s property, their freedom or their life. It’s one the police officer doesn’t take lightly. Most suffer lifetimes over a single or collection of decisions made at that point of conflict.

Yes, my heart is heavy on this eve before these decisions will be rendered. So many innocent people will be cast into a situation originally acted out on a single street in an unfamiliar town in an unknown part of the country.

It’s easy to sit back and criticize those who’ve sworn to protect others. Those officers who wear more scars on the inside than the critics have curses for their efforts, will thanklessly continue to report for their honored duty.

It’s easy to roar like a lion behind the keyboard. But when the time comes to be a lion; honestly, honorably and selflessly be that lion – to quiet accusing words without action or justification and do something for someone unknown for the greater good – will you?

There’s a reason a unified team of lions is called a PRIDE. Stay proud of your service BLUE – If Not Us, Who?

Us versus Them | A Ferguson Outcome

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Us versus Them | A Ferguson Outcome

Chief in Prayer

Us versus Them:

Sunday I shared the burden on my spirit in anticipation of the grand jury decision, “If Not Us, Who?” (https://www.facebook.com/CopsWritingCrime) It wasn’t about an outcome. It was that our nation rallied on either side of the issue based not on facts and evidence, but on historical perspective. Truth is, there’s more than one narrative to American history.

Just before turning off the news, I received a private message. Simply, it read – We Won! In clarity, I saw this wasn’t about black versus white as much as it was us versus them.

Let me be very clear – the “THEM” I refer to are the law enforcement officers believing it was a victory for the policing fraternity. A victory, such as a sporting event, would infer that policing was affirmed as being the better of the two.

Our occupational isolationism manifests itself against the communities we swore to serve. If we can’t share our feelings with the ones we love, then how do we sincerely show empathy to a community? Doubt it? We’re killing ourselves with alcoholism, divorce, domestic violence, PTSD and suicide.

As a Fraternity, we should engage in honest dialogue. Thousands of cops have shared feeling the same way, but are fearful to speak up because of reprisal from the Brotherhood. What type of brother’s keeper allows their peer to suffer in such silence over the cause of public service?

Let’s take this opportunity to examine why we’re fundamentally disconnected from the people we serve. Is it because we’re rooted in the old-school traditions of secrecy? Do we lean on the myth of being special and protected by the sacred canopy of public safety? Lets fix us, so we can competently serve those who most need our help.

In closing, I believe that the “us versus them” paradigm is dangerous for policing a populace. I don’t believe however, that the “us versus them” in policing is negative. The US who seeks a better, more society-linked policing model must no longer tolerate the THEM who still believe the Thin Blue Line is used to separate cops from community.

We do good work, now lets work to do good,
Scott

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Crucibles of Leadership (part 2)

Learning From Difference

A crucible is, by definition, a transformative experience through which an individual comes to a new or an altered sense of identity. It is perhaps not surprising then that one of the most common types of crucibles we documented involves the experience of prejudice.

Being a victim of prejudice is particularly traumatic because it forces an individual to confront a distorted picture of him- or herself, and it often unleashes profound feelings of anger, bewilderment, and even withdrawal.

For all its trauma, however, the experience of prejudice is for some a clarifying event. Through it, they gain a clearer vision of who they are, the role they play, and their place in the world.

Consider, for example, Liz Altman, now a Motorola vice president, who was transformed by the year she spent at a Sony camcorder factory in rural Japan, where she faced both estrangement and sexism. It was, says Altman, “by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

The foreign culture—particularly its emphasis on groups over individuals—was both a shock and a challenge to a young American woman. It wasn’t just that she felt lonely in an alien world. She had to face the daunting prospect of carving out a place for herself as the only woman engineer in a plant, and nation, where women usually serve as low-level assistants and clerks known as “office ladies.”

Another woman who had come to Japan under similar circumstances had warned Altman that the only way to win the men’s respect was to avoid becoming allied with the office ladies.

But on her very first morning, when the bell rang for a coffee break, the men headed in one direction and the women in another—and the women saved her a place at their table, while the men ignored her. Instinct told Altman to ignore the warning rather than insult the women by rebuffing their invitation.

Over the next few days, she continued to join the women during breaks, a choice that gave her a comfortable haven from which to observe the unfamiliar office culture. But it didn’t take her long to notice that some of the men spent the break at their desks reading magazines, and Altman determined that she could do the same on occasion.

Finally, after paying close attention to the conversations around her, she learned that several of the men were interested in mountain biking. Because Altman wanted to buy a mountain bike, she approached them for advice. Thus, over time, she established herself as something of a free agent, sometimes sitting with the women and other times engaging with the men.

And as it happened, one of the women she’d sat with on her very first day, the department secretary, was married to one of the engineers. The secretary took it upon herself to include Altman in social gatherings, a turn of events that probably wouldn’t have occurred if Altman had alienated her female coworkers on that first day. “Had I just gone to try to break in with [the men] and not had her as an ally, it would never have happened,” she says.

Looking back, Altman believes the experience greatly helped her gain a clearer sense of her personal strengths and capabilities, preparing her for other difficult situations. Her tenure in Japan taught her to observe closely and to avoid jumping to conclusions based on cultural assumptions—invaluable skills in her current position at Motorola, where she leads efforts to smooth alliances with other corporate cultures, including those of Motorola’s different regional operations.

Altman has come to believe that she wouldn’t have been as able to do the Motorola job if she hadn’t lived in a foreign country and experienced the dissonance of cultures:” …even if you’re sitting in the same room, ostensibly agreeing…unless you understand the frame of reference, you’re probably missing a bunch of what’s going on.” Alt-man also credits her crucible with building her confidence—she feels that she can cope with just about anything that comes her way.

People can feel the stigma of cultural differences much closer to home, as well. Muriel (“Mickie”) Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, found her crucible on the Wall Street of the 1950s and 1960s, an arena so sexist that she couldn’t get a job as a stockbroker until she took her first name off her résumé and substituted a genderless initial.

Other than the secretaries and the occasional analyst, women were few and far between. That she was Jewish was another strike against her at a time, she points out, when most of big business was “not nice” to either women or Jews. But Siebert wasn’t broken or defeated. Instead, she emerged stronger, more focused, and more determined to change the status quo that excluded her.

When we interviewed Siebert, she described her way of addressing anti-Semitism—a technique that quieted the offensive comments of her peers without destroying the relationships she needed to do her job effectively.

According to Siebert, at the time it was part of doing business to have a few drinks at lunch. She remembers, “Give somebody a couple of drinks, and they would talk about the Jews.” She had a greeting card she used for those occasions that went like this:

Roses are reddish,

Violets are bluish,

In case you don’t know,

I am Jewish.

Siebert would have the card hand-delivered to the person who had made the anti-Semitic remarks, and on the card she had written, “Enjoyed lunch.” As she recounts, “They got that card in the afternoon, and I never had to take any of that nonsense again. And I never embarrassed anyone, either.”

It was because she was unable to get credit for the business she was bringing in at any of the large Wall Street firms that she bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and started working for herself.

In subsequent years, she went on to found Muriel Siebert & Company (now Siebert Financial Corporation) and has dedicated herself to helping other people avoid some of the difficulties she faced as a young professional. A prominent advocate for women in business and a leader in developing financial products directed at women, she’s also devoted to educating children about financial opportunities and responsibility.

We didn’t interview lawyer and presidential adviser Vernon Jordan for this article, but he, too, offers a powerful reminder of how prejudice can prove transformational rather than debilitating. In Vernon Can Read! A Memoir (Public Affairs, 2001), Jordan describes the vicious baiting he was subjected to as a young man.

The man who treated him in this offensive way was his employer, Robert F. Maddox. Jordan served the racist former mayor of Atlanta at dinner, in a white jacket, with a napkin over his arm. He also functioned as Maddox’s chauffeur. Whenever Maddox could, he would derisively announce, “Vernon can read!” as if the literacy of a young African-American were a source of wonderment.

Subjected to this type of abuse, a lesser man might have allowed Maddox to destroy him. But in his memoir, Jordan gives his own interpretation of Maddox’s sadistic heckling, a tale that empowered Jordan instead of embittering him. When he looked at Maddox through the rearview mirror, Jordan did not see a powerful member of Georgia’s ruling class.
He saw a desperate anachronism, a person who lashed out because he knew his time was up. As Jordan writes about Maddox, “His half-mocking, half-serious comments about my education were the death rattle of his culture. When he saw that I was…crafting a life for myself that would make me a man in…ways he thought of as being a man, he was deeply unnerved.”

Maddox’s cruelty was the crucible that, consciously or not, Jordan imbued with redemptive meaning. Instead of lashing out or being paralyzed with hatred, Jordan saw the fall of the Old South and imagined his own future freed of the historical shackles of racism. His ability to organize meaning around a potential crisis turned it into the crucible around which his leadership was forged.

Crucibles of Leadership (part 2)

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Crucibles of Leadership (part 1)

What makes a leader

As lifelong students of leadership, we are fascinated with the notion of what makes a leader. Why is it that certain people seem to naturally inspire confidence, loyalty, and hard work, while others (who may have just as much vision and smarts) stumble, again and again? It’s a timeless question, and there’s no simple answer.

But we have come to believe it has something to do with the different ways that people deal with adversity. Indeed, our recent research has led us to conclude that one of the most reliable indicators and predictors of true leadership is an individual’s ability to find meaning in negative events and to learn from even the most trying circumstances.

Put another way, the skills required to conquer adversity and emerge stronger and more committed than ever are the same ones that make for extraordinary leaders.The skills required to conquer adversity and emerge stronger and more committed than ever are the same ones that make for extraordinary leaders.

Take Sidney Harman. Thirty-four years ago, the then-48-year-old businessman was holding down two executive positions. He was the chief executive of Harman Kardon (now Harman International), the audio components company he had cofounded, and he was serving as president of Friends World College, now Friends World Program, an experimental Quaker school on Long Island whose essential philosophy is that students, not their teachers, are responsible for their education.

Juggling the two jobs, Harman was living what he calls a “bifurcated life,” changing clothes in his car and eating lunch as he drove between Harman Kardon offices and plants and the Friends World campus. One day while at the college, he was told his company’s factory in Bolivar, Tennessee, was having a crisis.

He immediately rushed to the Bolivar factory, a facility that was, as Harman now recalls, “raw, ugly, and, in many ways, demeaning.” The problem, he found, had erupted in the polish and buff department, where a crew of a dozen workers, mostly African-Americans, did the dull, hard work of polishing mirrors and other parts, often under unhealthy conditions. The men on the night shift were supposed to get a coffee break at 10 pm.

When the buzzer that announced the workers’ break went on the fritz, management arbitrarily decided to postpone the break for ten minutes, when another buzzer was scheduled to sound. But one worker, “an old black man with an almost biblical name, Noah B. Cross,” had “an epiphany,” as Harman describes it. “He said, literally, to his fellow workers, ‘I don’t work for no buzzer. The buzzer works for me. It’s my job to tell me when it’s ten o’clock. I got me a watch. I’m not waiting another ten minutes. I’m going on my coffee break.’ And all 12 guys took their coffee break, and, of course, all hell broke loose.”

The worker’s principled rebellion—his refusal to be cowed by management’s senseless rule—was, in turn, a revelation to Harman: “The technology is there to serve the men, not the reverse,” he remembers realizing. “I suddenly had this awakening that everything I was doing at the college had appropriate applications in business.”

In the ensuing years, Harman revamped the factory and its workings, turning it into a kind of campus—offering classes on the premises, including piano lessons, and encouraging the workers to take most of the responsibility for running their workplace. Further, he created an environment where dissent was not only tolerated but also encouraged. The plant’s lively independent newspaper, the Bolivar Mirror, gave workers a creative and emotional outlet—and they enthusiastically skewered Harman in its pages.

Harman had, unexpectedly, become a pioneer of participative management, a movement that continues to influence the shape of workplaces around the world. The concept wasn’t a grand idea conceived in the CEO’s office and imposed on the plant, Harman says. It grew organically out of his going down to Bolivar to, in his words, “put out this fire.” Harman’s transformation was, above all, a creative one.

He had connected two seemingly unrelated ideas and created a radically different approach to management that recognized both the economic and humane benefits of a more collegial workplace. Harman went on to accomplish far more during his career. In addition to founding Harman International, he served as the deputy secretary of commerce under Jimmy Carter. But he always looked back on the incident in Bolivar as the formative event in his professional life, the moment he came into his own as a leader.

The details of Harman’s story are unique, but their significance is not. In interviewing more than 40 top leaders in business and the public sector over the past three years, we were surprised to find that all of them—young and old—were able to point to intense, often traumatic, always unplanned experiences that had transformed them and had become the sources of their distinctive leadership abilities.

We came to call the experiences that shape leaders “crucibles,” after the vessels medieval alchemists used in their attempts to turn base metals into gold. For the leaders we interviewed, the crucible experience was a trial and a test, a point of deep self-reflection that forced them to question who they were and what mattered to them. It required them to examine their values, question their assumptions, hone their judgment. And, invariably, they emerged from the crucible stronger and more sure of themselves and their purpose—changed in some fundamental way.

Leadership crucibles can take many forms. Some are violent, life-threatening events. Others are more prosaic episodes of self-doubt. But whatever the crucible’s nature, the people we spoke with were able, like Harman, to create a narrative around it, a story of how they were challenged, met the challenge, and became better leaders. As we studied these stories, we found that they not only told us how individual leaders are shaped but also pointed to some characteristics that seem common to all leaders—characteristics that were formed, or at least exposed, in the crucible.

Crucibles of Leadership (part 1)

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Gun Technology for Cops

Should gun owners be required to apply this technology?

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A Silicon Valley startup has developed technology to let dispatchers know when a police officer’s weapon has been fired.

The latest product by Yardarm Technologies would notify dispatchers in real time when an officer’s gun is taken out of its holster and when it’s fired. It can also track where the gun is located and in what direction it was fired.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak, whose agency is among two testing the technology, said it will allow the sheriff’s office to see whether deputies are in trouble and unable to ask for assistance.

“That’s the worst nightmare for any police officer in the field,” he said.

The system will not include a remote disabling mechanism. Yardarm was pursuing that technology and demonstrated it at a conference in Las Vegas last year, but it has since abandoned that effort, according to the Capitola, California,-based company’s marketing vice president, Jim Schaff.

Yardarm’s system would have triggered an alarm on an owner’s cellphone if a gun had been moved, and the owner would then have been able to hit a button to activate the safety and disable the weapon.

Schaff would not say exactly why the company gave up on remotely disabling guns. Gun rights advocates have raised serious concerns that so-called smart gun technology could be used to limit their access to weapons.

The developers insist their latest technology is not creating a smart gun, but rather is “police gunfire tracking technology.”

Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, said his organization isn’t opposed to the particular technology Yardarm is developing and other smart-gun technology.

“What we do oppose are government mandates requiring all gun owners to adopt the technology,” Paredes said. “If law enforcement wants to adopt this technology, that’s great. Just don’t make every gun owner adopt the technology.”

Smart gun technology has been around for decades, but technological advances and recent large shootings have prompted more than a dozen smart gun companies to begin developing weapons. Some began selling in gun shops this year, but analysts say controversy surrounding the technology could limit sales.

The technology that tracks an officer’s gun relies on the Internet and requires a small device that can fit in the handle of most police handguns. It connects to the officer’s smart phone using Bluetooth.

“The officer simply inserts it into the back of the firearm, and now it’s installed. They don’t even know it’s there anymore,” Schaff said during a recent demonstration.

Yardarm is paying for the test in the hopes they can develop the technology nationwide and charge departments for it next year.

Schaff said the company has not yet determined a price.

—-

CALIFORNIA START UP UNVEILS GUN TECHNOLOGY FOR COPS
BY HAVEN DALEY

Associated Press reporter Paul Elias contributed to this story from San Francisco.

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Lost that loving feeling?

Ways to Reinvigorate Your Passion for Policing

Consciously Adopt a Positive Attitude


police radio smilingIt can be very difficult to maintain a positive attitude and it is made even harder if you let yourself be negative for long periods of time. To begin the shift from negative to positive, start with being conscious of your self-talk. Start repeating positive comments to yourself several times a day to help drown out negative thinking.

Having a positive attitude not only improves your mood, but it has health benefits as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, a positive attitude can have the following health benefits:

 

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Get Plenty of Exercise
Law enforcement officers must be physically fit for their job performance. While being physically fit is important, exercising is about more than just being fit. Exercise helps to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
  • Strengthen your heart
  • Increases energy levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improves muscle tone and strength
  • Strengthen and build bones
  • Helps reduce body fat
  • Makes you look fit and healthy

[Related: Tips for LEOs to Improve Their Physical Fitness Levels]

Set Progressive Goals
Sit down and brainstorm what you really want to achieve in your career, with your family, and in life in general. When brainstorming your goals, speak with your supervisor to get his or her input on your work goals to ensure they align with the department’s vision. In similar fashion, talk with your family members to get their input on your goals.

The outcome of your brainstorming session becomes your target and your primary objectives. Think about your goals in multiple stages and set micro-, midterm-, and long-term goals.

  • Micro-goals are goals that you want to accomplish on a daily basis. These should help you accomplish your short-term goals, which ultimately help you achieve your long-term goals. Maybe you want to be promoted at work, so reading recent news articles, applying to college to get an advanced degree, or reading a book about taking the police advancement test would be supporting micro-goals.
  • Midterm-goals are usually goals you want to achieve in one month to a year. Define the goal as well as what is to be accomplished. Be specific because general goals without a clear and concise timeframe and outcome are very difficult to achieve.
  • Long-term goals usually require about five years to achieve. Again, these goals need to be specific to make sure you work toward them over time and know when you have accomplished them.

Adopting this type of goal-setting strategy is effective because it is the little accomplishments—the micro-goals—that help you build the momentum and self-confidence needed to achieve your short- and long-term goals. As you work toward your goals, be sure to visualize yourself accomplishing each one. A positive attitude will come naturally when you feel that you are on track to reach your goals..

Embrace Meditation
One of the best ways I have found to reduce stress and keep a positive attitude is through meditation. Meditation involves sitting quietly or with calming music for a few minutes a day. As you meditate, let go of the negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts.

I started off with 5 to 10 minutes a day of sitting quietly and reflecting on my life and what I want out of it. I have increased my meditation time to about 30 minutes each morning, which gets me off to a great start. It is amazing how much my attitude has changed and how many positive ideas I have just from meditating very day.

One of the best ways to get started is to find an app on your phone that either plays calming music or features a voice walking you through the process. Whatever method you choose, the key is to get started.

I encourage every police officer to try these techniques. If you find something that works well for you, please comment on this post so we can all learn new strategies for being more positive in our jobs and lives. Such positivity leads to a better work environment, a closer family, and longevity.

 

Matt LouxAbout the Author: Matt Loux has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and has a background in fraud, criminal investigation, as well as hospital, school, and network security. Matt has researched and studied law enforcement and security best practices for the past 10 years.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014

By Matthew Loux, criminal justice faculty member at American Military University

 

 

http://inpublicsafety.com/2014/09/ways-to-reinvigorate-your-passion-for-policing/?utm_source=PoliceMag&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Passion&utm_campaign=Public%20Safety%20-%20ET%20-%20AMU

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FITx50 \ week 12 – SPECIAL EDITION

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Warrior Dash DASHED

Fitness Benchmark #1 has been met.

This weekend was the Warrior Dash in St. Francisville, La. Our team of Cops-n-Kilts sponsored by Liliana Hart’s Warriors started strong and finished even gutsier. There was unexpected difficult terrain, injuries and dehydration within the unit, but no one left the others. I’m still in awe of the effort of each.

No matter how tough, everyone knew we were doing this for the true Warriors committed to kicking the crap out of cancer. No one ever considered letting them down.

I trained for this event by relying heavily on Momentum Crossfit and cycling / running. Though I’ve never gone into any competitive event completely confident, I was surprised at my level of fitness during the grueling runs and strength obstacles. Often coming back or helping team mates through the swimming and mud pits, I knew the hours of training were paying dividends.

Let me encourage you to pick an event before the winter arrives. Find a 5k, Bike ride or friendly game of catch – just make a mark on the calendar and progress towards making it happen. I usually tell people when they ask if they are in shape for a particular activity – you can do it, it’s just how comfortable you want to be while doing it.

Again, let me thank Liliana Hart for organizing the fund-raising activity. We raised money and awareness – but it’s no time to stop. Find your cause and your passion. Do something bigger than yourself for someone else. See you next Friday – once these old bones recoup from the DASH.

I like to grab folks I know and surprise them with the classic “PROM PIC POSE.” Looks like Liliana Hart was ready for it. Great time and looking forward to next year’s Warrior Dash as I expect to rock it at 50.

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