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.

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Incredible Virtues

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.

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.

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.


Police Leadership: What’s on your mind, Chief?


What’s on your mind, Chief?

Recently, while speaking with a sergeant from another jurisdiction about calling my Patrol Division lieutenant, he suggested that contact would be made over the radio.  The sergeant then asked; “What band is he on?”  Band?  I honestly have no idea.  I know that when I push the power button, the light comes on and I hear radio traffic.  Because I did not know the radio band, does that make me a bad chief?

Then I thought, well I bet the sergeant does not know the employee pension contribution percentage or the average overtime rate for determining expenditure allocations associated with state and federal grants.  While that allowed a temporary relief from the sting of the “radio band” debacle, I immediately realized the banality to this line of rationalization.

Truth is, the above illustration is not a completely accurate reflection of my response to this fine sergeant’s question, but it did prompt me to think.  I considered the various strata of professionally intimate knowledge and the organizationally relevant issues based on an individual’s path along the para-militaristic hierarchy.


Obviously our focus shifts through the years and responsibilities.  I was challenged by this to ask what is important to me as the chief of police.

As a patrol officer, I recited the criminal ordinances verbatim and communicated exclusively using the 10-code.  As an undercover agent, I knew precisely how many grams made an ounce, how many ounces made a pound and how many pounds made a kilo.

As a division commander, I was focusing less on the adrenaline-producing accounts of arrests, pursuits, and seizures, and more on budgeting, total quality management, and alternative scheduling solutions.  As we move up the ranks, time is spent wrestling less over arrests and more over the employees affecting them.

The areas of concern most important to me at this stage in my career are various, but the singular topic monopolizing my focus is the employees.  The challenge of investing in human capital yields the greatest institutional returns for you as the leader, for the individual officers in their quest to serve with dignity and longevity, and for the community in their desire to live unencumbered by the fear of victimization.

If employees knew the depth of consideration given to their safety, training, education, mentoring and general well-being, there would be plenty of crow to eat.  Obviously, how could they know?  Without the relational experiences as a senior law enforcement executive there is no substitute for understanding the objective perspective required for surveying the comprehensive nature of the organization as it relates to the employee.



The difference in the expected and the experienced creates the traditionally adversarial nature of employee / employer relations leading most to view this fraternal caste system through a Marxist lenses.  The senior law enforcement executive becomes the oppressive bourgeois, while the proletariat officers bust butts as their labor is exploited as a commodity to be reassigned, promoted, transferred, and disciplined.  However unrealistic this analogy is, perception for some becomes their reality.

Breaching the institutional stratification of rank, assignment, classification or perception may be accomplished by articulating a clear organizational vision focused on equity of opportunity and ownership.  Will the rookie officer attend your command staff meetings?  Probably not, but if their voice is represented, then they become an invested resource for the institutional ideals and operations.

The truth is, while we care about the well-being of the individual and their ability to communicate on the proper radio band, our focus also considers the operational integrity and effectiveness of the organization.  This may segregate us from the rank and file, but objective distance is necessary for ensuring a sustainable natural balance of labor and demand contributing to long-term and productive employment.

Bridging this perceptual divide also promotes employee longevity as they balance a need for external motivators (fair compensation) and internal satisfiers (selfless service).  Is harmony achieved with increased pay that encourages employee’s retention?  Possibly for a brief period, until the next material purchase beyond their means, and then it is back to pay rate complaints.

It seems that every employee terminating their service is offered a job elsewhere making at least twice their law enforcement earnings.  Really?  I want a job like that.  Of course, most soon return because of their “love of the job.”  It is what we call unemployment.

Materialism does not create deeply committed careers in progressively challenging workplaces.  The luster of new vehicles wane as the miles accumulate, SWAT gear gets forgotten as the activations go fewer and farther between, and the reassignment to narcotics fails to satisfy because it doesn’t live up to what was learned watching “Training Day.”

The material and external appeals to self-satisfaction are temporary, and like forecasting the market or predicting the next YouTube video to go viral, law enforcement executives cannot continue guessing when the motivational rollercoaster will adversely affect the institutional core.  A sound foundation is laid when leaders focus attention to the internal motivators appealing to the altruistic nature of public service.

TPD Patch Fleur De Lis Graphic

Listen quietly as the chorus reigns down, “You cannot pay bills with altruism.”  No, but without an ethical anchor or altruistic attachment, meaningful institutional commitment fails to develop and diminishes the individual’s potential for meaningful long-term employment.

The contrasting of personal values creates fissures between the employee’s desire to serve and reasons to remain.  There are occupational points of departure when employees become disenfranchised with the altruistic ideals of duty, honor and service.

The socialization process of “becoming blue” includes the period when a new officer is introduced to the traditions, codes, and cultural expectancy of fraternal membership.

Researchers struggle to decode the mystery of the thin blue line, and their attempts end with mere speculations about what occurs behind the veil.  Peter Manning’s seminal research into the meaning and symbolism of police work describes the powerful mystification of policing as the “sacred canopy.”

Researcher Marjie Britz concluded after attempts to identify dynamics involved in the enculturation process that; “Traditional research in this area has suggested that the socialization process is so intense and the subculture so strong that individual characteristics are quickly overwhelmed.”  Top academics focusing on what makes us; us, can only venture about the informal processes creating such loyalty yet so much discontentment.

The years of research I invested for my doctoral dissertation focused on the occupational socialization of policing.  During this time I learned that the initial disenfranchisement from the organization begins once the individual joins the agency.  They immediately realize that the preconceived notions established through external influences, such as media and myth are in actuality not what policing involves.

The next major point of departure happens once the cadet graduates the academy.  Senior training officers fail to reinforce the lessons taught in the academy by encouraging the rookie to forget what they just learned there.  The senior officers impose their ideology of “not making waves” thus ensuring a continuation of the homogenous nature of the organizational ethos.

Chief-Scott-Silverii-PhD-Welcomes-you-to-the-Bright-Blue-Line.jpgThis further alienates the officer from the original altruistic motivators such as duty, honor, and service.  Homogeneity is critical to maintaining the status quo as evidenced by the lack of minorities and females throughout the classified ranks of the profession.

The combination of these stages produce the fully socialized officer who learns to acclimate to the occupational environment by embracing mediocrity for the sake of avoiding isolation from peers.  Police observer John Van Maanen captured the essence of the fraternal unity by stating: “Consequently, the police culture can be viewed as molding the attitudes, with numbing regularity, of virtually all who enter.”

My best observation for remedying the contrasts between what senior law enforcement executives want for their employees, and the perception employees have towards organizational altruistic ideals is found in the “why.”

Core commitment is not cultivated in the “what” or “how” things are done, but “why” we do it.  As it relates to addressing institutional investment, officers know how to do police work and what to do when situations arise requiring their services.  What they either never knew or forget over time is “why” they do police work.

Simon Sinek explains it succinctly in his work, and attaching meaning to their need for “why” establishes a cause greater than themselves, their pay, or their current condition.  The sense of sacrifice and service is as relevant today as ever.

It is incumbent upon us as leaders of our organizations to discover the voice for relaying this message to our employees and re-introduce them to the reasons they played cops as kids, admired them as teens and joined them as adults.

Police Leadership: What’s on your mind, Chief?

Chiefs, if you are wondering what you should be thinking about, please take note.  Catch them early in the career, do not overlook the significance of your influence and opportunity to meet with potential candidates, recently hired cadets, proud graduating rookies, and fully field trained officers.  Brief one-on-one moments spent sharing your vision and level of expected commitment burn an indelible image on the public service psyche of these officers.

Does “what” I think about matter?  Maybe not.  What does matter is “why” I think about it.  That is because we have been commissioned to grow the next generation of public servants, and without specificity of focus on the core tenants of sacrificial service, we remain numbingly regular and amazingly ineffective.  That’s why.

Police Leadership: What’s on your mind, Chief?

What do you think Chiefs should focus attention to?

About the Author

Scott Silverii, Ph.D. was appointed Chief of Police for the Thibodaux Police Department, Louisiana in January 2011, after serving 21 years for the nationally accredited Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.  Chief Silverii began his law enforcement career in 1990 by serving in a variety of investigative and command assignments including twelve years undercover and sixteen years in SWAT.  A subject matter expert in data-driven approaches to crime and traffic safety, he was appointed to the IACP’s prestigious Research Advisory Committee.

Chief Silverii earned a Master of Public Administration and a Doctorate in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans, focusing his research on anthropological aspects of culture and organizations.  Chief Silverii can be contacted at, @ThibodauxChief, or Law Enforcement Today. 

Learn more about this article here:

Van Maanen, J. (1975). Police socialization: a longitudinal examination of job attitudes in an urban police department. Administrative Science Quarterly, 1975, 21.

Manning, P. (1980). Violence and the Police Role.  American Academy of Political and Social Science, 45(2), 19.

Britz, M. (1997).  The police subculture and occupational socialization: exploring individual and demographic characteristics. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 21(2)

Sinek, S. (2009).  Start with Why:  How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Penguin Publishing Group, New York, NY.   ISBN: 978-1-101-14903-4,

Cops; Old Bulls & Young Bulls

Chief Scott Silverii, PhD Discussing Police Culture
Chief Silverii, PhD – Discussing Police Culture

January 22, 2013 in Featured, Leadership,

Posts by Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

Who can forget Robert Duval’s advice to a young LAPD Officer played by Sean Penn in the 1988 movie “Colors?” While Duval’s character may have been referring to operational efficiency more than chronological age, the point is that better results are often associated with maturity.

Oakland’s Chief of Police Howard Jordan recently announced increasing the Police Department’s minimum hiring age from 20.5 years to 25 years old. I hope this draws the more experienced recruits with college, military or additional life exposure on their resumes.

Most importantly, I pray God blesses and protects the good people of Oakland. Next, the city is fortunate to have a chief executive willing to explore options and alternative solutions for solving violent crime. When we stop searching, we stop serving. Chief Jordan, here is wishing you the best of luck searching for what works in Oakland.

My concern is not with the age, the education, or the numbers of recruits. I am concerned about the organizational culture that these recruits are entering. I am not referring to the 2003 Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) that followed the tumultuous period of “

via The Old Bull and the Young Bull | Law Enforcement Today.

Cop in the Hood

I came across this article at the Cop in the Hood blog site. Catching my attention was the title, and my same question, “Why is academic writing so bad?” There is plenty of information out there, but where are the gatekeepers to true “peer-reviewed” material?

He also mentioned my favorite theorist, none other than Jane Jacobs who I discussed in the first post I ever wrote for

Law Enforcement Today.

Cop in the Hood

Why is Academic Writing So Bad?

Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy:

In the end, it comes down to what a scholar is trying to achieve. If the goal is just narrow professional success — getting tenure, earning a decent salary, etc. — then bad writing isn’t a huge handicap and may even confer some advantages.

But if the goal is to have impact — both within one’s discipline and in the wider world — then there’s no substitute for clear and effective writing. The question is really pretty simple: do you want to communicate with others or not?

Back in October I looked at Amazon’s top 40 books in sociology. You had to get to number 43 (Alone Together by Sherry Turkle) before you came across a sociologist. Foucault came in at #61.

It’s not to say there wasn’t great sociology in the top 40. It’s just that this sociology isn’t being done by sociologists. Admittedly Amazon’s classification of “sociology” leaves a bit to be desired, but in the top 40 are 7 journalists, 3 moms, 2 CEOs, 1 priest, 1 aspiring model, 1 rapper, 1 liberal TV talk-show guy, 1 survivor of child abuse, 1 public speaker, and 1 community organizer / President of the United States.

There were 8 professors selling in the top 40 of sociology: three economics, and one each from Political Science, Computer Science, Law, Clinical Psychology, and Business Administration. Where are the sociologists?


via Cop in the Hood.