FIT@50 / week 73

FIT@50 / week 73

Kinda Weird:

We came back to Louisiana for a few days while the kids were tucked away at summer camp. There were things left to do right before school resumed. Had it been notebooks and rulers, we would’ve knocked out quick. It was more involved – it’s always more involved.

Thanks to an unscrupulous builder (much more on that later) we’ve no base camp with Max heading back to the grind next week. With the helpfulness of our community, finding digs was no problem.

For now, Liliana Hart and I are checked into a hotel. It’s nice, but it’s a local hotel. One night we decided to walk across the parking lot to the Sonic for a snack. A big cup of ice cream type of snack.

It was super humid with the stale scent of impending rain wafting through a windy night. I walked to the big order screen and mashed that iconic red button. Soon we were recipients of late-night goodies.

As I looked around the parking lot, it fell over me like a moist sheep’s skin just out of the microwave – Reality.

“You know, it’s kinda weird.” I mused.

“What’s that?” Liliana replied with the expectation of never knowing what I’m about to say.

“It wasn’t long ago that I was the Chief of Police here. Now, I’m living in a hotel room and walking across a vacant parking lot for ice cream.”

She huffed, “True. I bet people would think, man, the Chief fell on hard times.”

Walking back while wishing I’d worn a tugged down baseball cap, I thought about how different my life is versus the way it recently was. Then I thought about why it mattered if people saw me walking back to a hotel room in my own home town. I was with my wife after all.

About half way through the rain puddled parking lot, and just as I fished out the last pieces of Snickers topping my ice cream, the realization returned.

I really didn’t care.

I was in a city I love, with the woman I love, eating the snack I love. Matter of fact, even the late summer’s humidity was nice to soak in once again as we kicked through warm rain water.

Come to think of it, it really doesn’t matter who you were or what you did or where you did it. What really matters is that you did your best while doing it, and now you get to enjoy life because of the effort once given. Even if it means walking from your hotel room to push the red Sonic button.

Do Good,

Scott

Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

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Change Responsibly – Stretching the Police:

Change Responsibly – Stretching the Police:

Going through old files, I came across a collection of video topics from my former agency’s annual summit. This, like many agencies host meetings to set the tone and sharpen the vision. There are only messages of community service through most agency missions.

Police are not the enemy. Their job is difficult and challenging. It is truly a double-edge sword where you’re the savior who pulls daddy off from molesting his daughter, yet become the villain because you’re taking her husband to jail for molesting their daughter.

By creation, police are the State’s arm of violence. Please allow me to explain while that soaks in.

While we’ve transformed over decades into the roles of community worker, counselor, teacher, preacher and anything needed at that moment, the legal reality is law enforcement’s function is to provide the surety that laws created by legislation will be honored or enforced if violated.

This is an example of a police officer’s oath of office. Most are required to be sworn, signed and filed in their clerk of courts’ office:

I……………………DO SWEAR,, THAT – I WILL WELL AND TRULY SERVE – OUR SOVEREIGN COUNTRY AND STATE – AS A POLICE OFFICER WITHOUT FAVOR OR AFFECTION – MALICE OR ILL-WILL – UNTIL I AM LEGALLY DISCHARGED, THAT I WILL SEE AND CAUSE ¬ OUR COMMUNITY’S PEACE TO BE KEPT AND PRESERVED – AND THAT – I WILL PREVENT TO THE BEST OF MY POWER – ALL OFFENSES AGAINST THAT PEACE – AND THAT – WHILE I CONTINUE TO BE A POLICE OFFICER – I WILL – TO THE BEST OF MY SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE – DISCHARGE ALL THE DUTIES THEREOF – FAITHFULLY – ACCORDING TO LAW.
SO HELP ME GOD.

Do you see term slike helper or friend or anything other than upholding, enforcing, preventing? It’s difficult for the community or the agencies to reconcile the requirements of their neighbor-citizen service versus their keeper of the peace roles.

This is a simple, not open for debate example of police force:

Cops don’t dictate the speed limit, but it is their duty to ensure the speed limits enacted by the legislative body are adhered to. What are the options of force? Posted speed limits signs are a form of force. Patrol cars parked in the speeding zone is another form of force. Running radar and warning drivers to slow down is an elevated form of force. Writing a speeding citation is yet another force option. Arresting the driver for speeding is possibly the highest form of force to make sure that limit on speed as established by a governing body is honored.

It may be cliché, but the saying, “We don’t make the laws, we enforce them,” is absolutely accurate. This isn’t an alibi for the extrajudicial use of police force, it’s just an illustration that the function of a police body isn’t to be your crutch or your punching bag. The job of the police are to ensure the laws of the jurisdiction are adhered to and enforced if violated.

Now comes the theoretical confliction.

The police are public servants. The term “servant” applies to helper on call to aid and assist in times of need or distress. This doesn’t sound like legislative muscle poised to enforce the law upon violation. No, it doesn’t. It’s a position of helper, and fixer.

Police are called upon more than 95% of the time to handle non-violent, quality of life circumstances. even in the most violent, crime ridden cities, police respond to violent crime calls only about 3% of the time. While this isn’t a statistical crime session, it is an example of what cops do with almost all of their other time on duty – Helping people fix their problems.

Can you imagine the personal dilemma of being trained, equipped and constitutionally commissioned with the empowerment of enforcing the laws of that jurisdiction, yet in almost 97% of calls for your assistance they are non-violent situations such as arguments between spouses, kids not wanting to go to school or a boyfriend not returning your daughter’s cell phone? You’ve not been trained by your employer’s academy to handle disputes with alternative resolutions or de-escalation techniques. You only know how to enforce the law and defend yourself and others.

The occupational dichotomy between the enforcer and guardian ethos is a powerful pendulum swing in either direction. Containing and directing those influencers is the function of the agencies’ heads and chain-of-command. An agency who gains a reputation of abuse, has failed leadership by allowing the domestic warrior mindset to overpower the community helper ideology.

In opposition, agencies ineffective at controlling crime, and focus more on appeasing political ambitions and personal agendas also exemplify failed leadership. It is a balance requiring monitoring every second of every day on every instance an officer interacts with the public.

So what does this all mean, besides spending the last ten minutes getting to the conclusion?

Police reform will not come easily. There are over 900,000 sworn officers – campus, city, county, state, federal and tribal, that work for 17,985 separate law enforcement agencies in the United States.

There is no one single governing body that dictates or influences these agencies. They, for the most part, are independent governmental jurisdictions who only answer to those within their respective political subdivision. Contrary to popular belief, while the FBI may have concurrent investigative jurisdiction with even a college campus police department, they do not have supervisory authority over any officer within that or any other law enforcement agency.

How do you affect change?

Reform will require changing the very mission, not just the practice of policing. A complete cultural overhaul that focuses on adopting the guardian ethos as opposed to the “us versus them” homeland soldier mentality. This change will require the same dynamics as any mass overhaul of disparate organizations – Clarity of Focus – Patience – Education – Accountability – Encouragement, just to name a few.

The reality is it will take a coordinated effort to develop best practice models based on multidisciplinary, social science approaches. That being said, it’s also vital to acknowledge the police cannot be everything to everybody. Society may have stretched the requirement of the police too far. Maybe the police just aren’t equipped to handle every one of society’s ills and quality of life concerns.

As an aggregate populace, it may be more productive to look at the entirety of what the police do for each community and evaluate what percentage of the whole are habitually acting in bad faith or illegal activity. Do good cops go bad? Yes. Do bad guys become cops? Yes, but that is the case in every profession. Are there bad kids in your child’s kindergarten class – Yes, so does that mean we march against little Johnny? No – it’s called life – bad things happen and are often caused by equally bad people.

Be warned!

Reform will result in a social service gap that has never been seen in this country. Even more concerning is that there are no public, private or social service agencies to pick up the slack once police stop doing the extra, non-criminal enforcement activities. For example – child custody exchanges, civil seizure of property, vehicle title verification, car insurance compliance checks, welfare concerns for the elderly or infirmed, delivering meals to the homeless, maintaining social media sites to keep us informed and enjoying the sense of community, funeral and wedding escorts, campaigning for their chief or sheriff’s election, visiting our kids at school to say hello, and the endless list of extras the profession has shouldered that have absolutely zero to do with the content of their sworn oath.

Can the profession of policing do better, be better? Yes. It has come so far since it’s inception. Can you force a 17,985 agencies juggernaut to change with violence against their communities and its their members? Absolutely not. If anything it will become more entrenched as a means of survival.

Becoming an agent of change requires more than a hashtag and bricks thrown. There must be direction and a definition of what that change looks like.

Police aren’t against changing to best serve their communities—they just need clear orders as to what their change will be. Don’t just demand change – define change, and uphold your end of the societal responsibility while that change is occurring.

Do Good,
Scott
Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

FIT@50 / week 68

max meat
FIT@50 / week 68
Talk, It’s What’s For Dinner:
 
Liliana Hart & I eat out. A Lot.
It’s what we do and what we enjoy. We work at home, so our chance to avoid being creepy homebodies is to go out and socialize with other humans. I love talking to people, so it’s a natural fit for me. I actually chased down the mail carrier to say hello.
 
The kids also eat out. A Lot.
It’s what they do, and what they enjoy. Besides it’s easier and much quicker to feed eight than to buy various foods to satisfy all. Plus – no dishes to clean up.
 
Then we bought a grill. Probably more on a dare than an actual desire to hang out in the Texas heat over an open flame.
 
Night 1 was sorta odd. We had to force the kids to come outside. They were like aliens leaving the mothership for the first time. The meat was cooked. A Lot.
 
Last night we had our final family feast BBQ, and not only was the food amazing, but the process of dinner time had become incredible as well. Over the weeks of cooking out almost every night, each kid found their niche from seasoning the meat to cleaning the grill. It was a joy to see their pride in doing their best and in contribution to the family good.
 
We’d spend hours outside in the preparation, grilling, eating and then talking. Yep, those were brakes screeching across your website – I said talking.
 
Talking.
 
Liliana Hart & I’d just sit there, full of wonderful meat because we’re meat eaters, and watch, but mostly listen to little voices laughing, and reading to each other, or one would wander off into the dark imagining he was Ironman, while they watched lightening bugs spark throughout the wooded backyard.
 
I know she’d agree that no amount of travel, adventure or success has or ever will match the incredible summer our family spent outside.
 
We head to Europe for July, but it isn’t without heavy hearts and hesitation. So I ask the friends we’re going to visit and see during our work and play – if you have an outdoor BBQ grill, how about we avoid the fancy French cafe’s and toss some beef across a flame!
 
Do Good,
Scott Silverii
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FIT@50 / week 66

buzz

FIT@50 / week 66

True Power:

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix
 
This week I received two notices about Chief of Police positions in Louisiana. My immediate thoughts were “No thanks.” It was about this time last year that I’d announced my August 28th retirement date.
 
I would’ve never in a million years thought retirement from the only job I’d known would’ve been a reality. To be honest, I just assumed, and was happy with the idea of dying before retiring. I was in the catbird seat and had no intentions of relinquishing the position as my city’s top cop.
 
Then it happened – My life changed.
 
It was no longer about conquering careers, giving orders or fielding offers to run much larger agencies. I transitioned into working as an equal with a partner I loved and respected. No longer was having my picture on the front page or official statements of any consequence.
 
I’d learned a long time ago that power and authority are two very different dynamics. Neither were important to me any more. Becoming a husband and dad were. Surrendering the spotlight to stand in the shadows applauding my wife, Liliana Hart and kids’ accomplishments became the new normal.
 
It’s been almost a year since I walked away from the facade of a powerful position to the reality of an important one. Sure, times like this week’s Orlando massacre make me miss being in blue to help the public, but I know there are almost 900,000 others who serve with the same passion as I did.
 
My place is where God led me. Does it mean I don’t train as hard as I used to just in case of a crisis, or that I’ve forgotten the skills and training that came with wearing the badge – No.
 
What has changed is my definition of true power, and it’s found within the love and support of family.
 
Do Good,
Scott
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FIT@50 / week 65

Family Vacation
FIT@50 / week 65
It’s Because:
Guys, this week has been so incredible. It was actually after 11:00pm before Liliana Hart reminded me it was Friday and that I’d forgotten to post my FIT@50. That’s just how amazing this week has been.
This was our first family vacation since Disney last Christmas. We swam, BBQ’d, go-carts, arcades, stayed up watching movies, and ate bacon late at night (don’t ask).
It was also our anniversary (I remembered)
Memories from my childhood were so strong this week as I watched the kids stumble sleepily into the kitchen for breakfast, or sprint along the sun-soaked boardwalk for the beach, or snuggle next to each other beneath cool sheets for a movie.
I reveled in how much fun we had although there were so many different personalities, interests and expectations. I also wondered how Liliana Hart and I pulled it off.
Then I looked back at a post my friend Todd Prevost shared of a picture our SWAT unit took in 2003 at the completion of one of the most grueling trainings I’d ever attended. It hit me.
I realized “It’s because.”
It’s because in my youth, my dad would teach the school year and then take a summer job so he could treat our mom and us seven kids to a family summer vacation.
It’s because my mom valued what was vital at the time and stayed home to raise seven kids despite barely scraping by on our dad’s school teacher salary. Of course back then parents didn’t treat their kids as their friends or equals, so lack of money was never discussed in our presence – focus on family was.
It’s because in my career I’d known people who valued protecting families, not just theirs. They would commit to duty on nights, weekends and holidays to ensure other people’s families were as safe as their own.
It’s because I worked in difficult assignments with amazing public servants who although loved their families, always set their personal satisfactions aside for the sake of allowing others the time off to share special occasions with family.
It’s because even after being divorced for almost 20 years, and losing my way, that an amazing woman found something deep inside of me that she felt was worth loving – my desire for family.
Do Good,
Scott

 

FIT@50 / week 64

triathlon

FIT@50 / week 64

3 Seconds:

A few years back I wanted to compete in a triathlon. There was only one problem. I was a 260 lbs powerlifter and had no clue how to swim.

I walked until I could jog and jogged until I could run. I bought a cheap bike until I could sustain the mileage and then I bought a less cheap bike.

I taught myself to swim, but nearly drown in my first race under the white caps. I came out of the water number 2498 out of 2500 athletes, but I came out of the water swimming to bike and then run.
The next year was dedicated to really learning to swim. Armed with a better skill set,my goal was to take the podium.

I swam, I biked and I ran for as long and as fast as I could. Into the second half of the run, my mind started to “talk.” It said, you’ve given a special effort. You deserve a break.

With a quarter mile to the finish line, I walked about a hundred yards before striding to the finish. I pushed hard, right? I deserved a medal, right?

I missed the podium by 3 seconds.

Know what I got? Nothing.

High School Hijinx

This week I read about a high school that would not allow National Honor Society students to wear their satin white stole. Parents were told it excluded the other students.

Another high school vanished the ranks of valedictorian and salutatorian. Again, the school was concerned the other students would feel less special.

I thought we’d learned our lessons post-Dr. Spock (not star trek) era and the “everyone deserves a trophy” phase of degenerating our culture. How did we disintegrate from WWII’s Greatest Generation to now ranking below some second and third world countries?

What message are we sending to those who made sacrifices and stayed the curriculum’s course despite the turbulent times associated with high school angst?

“Hey kid, you know the drugs, alcohol and sex you avoided so you could bolster your scholarship potential at a top college because your blue-collar hard working parents can’t afford it? Well, that was a waste of 4 years because you’re no more accomplished than the others who can’t wait to get out of this place to set the world on fire. No seriously, actually set the world on fire.”

Special

The truth is, we’re not all special at all things. And, we do not deserve a ribbon for just showing up. We are sending our kids off into a world vastly different than the rainbow sprinkled snow globe they’re raised in. Come to think of it, we’re not sending them off at all – they’re now living at home well into their thirties.

This new culture of entitled exceptionalism (I’m generalizing because there are some incredible people out there) has no work ethic and less loyalty. Jumping from job to job because their boss corrected them or a peer hurt their feelings. Or, better yet, just exiting the honest workforce altogether. It also manifest itself to family and social relationships as well.

Irony

I understand the irony of what I’m about to say. I have, through hard work, earned a bachelor, master’s and doctoral degrees. I say worked, because I’m not the smartest guy, just the most determined. I say earned because I never received one penny of government aid or grants. I worked full time through college, so I was classified as non-qualified.

The lie is that college is where special people go to feel more special about being special. Truth is – not everyone belongs in college. Having nothing to do with IQ (I’m proof of that), but with ability. There are more unemployed liberal arts majors than there are people who labor at a trade or attended a vo-tech college to learn a specialty. But, because everyone is special and deserves a ribbon, then they must attend college because that’s where special people go. Right?

I’m a big Mike Rowe fan, and agree that the sacred canopy veiling higher education is a disservice to working America. But, America is no longer about working. Just look at the fact that less than 50% of Americans pay income tax. When did the other 50% become so especially entitled that work is beneath them?

Was it because they didn’t actually have to round the bases to get an honorary homerun in little league, or was it the talent show that gave more trophies than participants, or maybe the football league that quit keeping score so no one had to experience the pain of losing?

Or maybe it’s my generation that wanted their kids to have more by doing less that created skewed clones who took the notion of one-upping and ran with it.

Why?

I can’t say for sure, but I do know that it’s shameful to disrespect those high school students who worked their juvenile butts off despite the crush of peer pressure and puberty to top their classes.

This week’s post really ran on longer than that triathlon race, but it’s one thing for adults to make stupid decisions like walking before the finish line. It’s intolerable when the supposedly “learned” products of higher education make derisive decisions tarnishing the honest efforts of our young citizens.

What I am positive about though, is that those students who really are special understand achievement is more than a satin stole or a high school GPA. That despite the mindless efforts to create something unique out of homogeneity, that the cream really does rise to the top.

Class of 2016, we salute you.
Do Good,

Scott
Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

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FIT@50 / week 39

bayou bridge

FIT@50 / week 39
Let’s Walk
The water in the background is Bayou Lafourche. Growing up in Cajun Country I swam in that bayou, paddled a pirogue in that bayou, fished in that bayou and played in that bayou.
I never once in 50 years ever walked across that bayou. Not until recently. It was a Saturday festival downtown and we looked for the rare space to park.
I suggested we walk. And we did. About half way across I stopped and told Liliana Hart it was the first time I ever walked across this bayou. Of course we had to take a pic to memorialize the event that was 1/2 a century in the making.
Becoming FIT@50 I’ve stopped worrying and conquering everything in my path, squeezing into the closet parallel parking spot and getting everywhere 15 minutes early.
How many bridges are there in life that we avoid walking across because we just gotta get there fast?
It’s a simple picture on the surface, but on this Saturday afternoon I actually walked across water – Bayou Lafourche.
Do Good,
Scott
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