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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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 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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FIT@50 / week 25

csprg

FIT@50 / week 25
The Ghost

On Saturday I drove around the city in my POV (personally owned vehicle), sorry cop talk. I noticed drivers without seatbelts, easing through stop signs, and generally just motoring about their business.

On the previous Friday, I’d been in my police cruiser. It had a wholly different effect. People immediately put on their seatbelts, they completely stopped at signs and they glance or nodded as they motored about their business.

I thought on that Saturday, “I’m a ghost.”
It felt odd – I questioned my ability and desire to exit a culture as powerful as policing.

Wisely, I began my transition period on Monday morning with several hours of conversation with my pastor, Joshua Melancon. His words reminded me that it never was the cruiser or the clothes or the shield that made the public servant.

It was me – The Ghost.

Do Good,
Scott

FIT@50 / week 24

FIT@50 / week 24
It’s A Date:

When I chose today as my retirement date, I never considered the historical significance it shared with another event that forever changed my life and worldview – Hurricane Katrina.

Today’s the day I leave the one job I’ve had my entire adult life. I will miss so many things about it. Mostly, I’ll miss leaving an anchor, that despite unbelievably chaotic and risky times, also served to center and shape who I am.

How will I feel at 5:01pm today? I have no idea. How did I feel at 5:01pm ten years ago? I felt like I do right now – that no matter what circumstances may come, I’m completely prepared to handle the mission. Not because of my ability, but because of my faith.

Ten years ago, as the worst natural disaster raged against my Gulf of Mexico boarded parish, I was assigned to command emergency preparedness. Neither bags of ice nor evacuees moved without my sending the okay.

It was the most horrible, yet fulfilling time of my life. Where better to be, than in the eye of Hurricane Katrina? Ground zero for rescue and recovery became all I knew for months.

The weeks in New Orleans’ metro area leading our SWAT unit showed me less about bravado, and all about compassion. I witnessed hardened men – modern day warriors, sling their machine guns to carry children, pets or the elderly. We bonded together against the federal bureaucracy to do what was right over what was regulated. We made life changing decisions during life ending encounters, but alway with life-saving hopes.

It was hell on earth, but what better place to be to have your faith tested by fire? It’s never further away than a thought or a comment, but nothing comes easy right? This and the thousands of crisis encounters during a single career are why we do the job. They’re also why we hurt. Why some crack. Why some cease to exist.

It’s ironic sitting here typing today’s fit report as Liliana Hart​ is next to me working on her own projects. She couldn’t ever imagine what that was like. But as someone I love, I never have and never will tell her what it was like or what we went through. Some experiences can be seen in the faces of those who endured – no words needed.

I’d like you to watch this video put together by a dear friend of mine, Rachelle Hitt Bilbo. This was created during the week Katrina slammed us. It’s what I’ve learned and always tried to practice throughout my career and life – human compassion.

Maybe I’ll check in after 5:01pm to tell you what it feels like. Chances are my feelings won’t become clear for some time, but what I do know is that the first moments in my new life will be spent with my family.

Do Good,
Scott

FIT@50 / week 24

FIT@50 / week 22: Unmasked

FIT@50 / week 22
Unmasked:

This week I made it official that after more than 25 years in the business it was time to heed God’s calling and retire from policing. Not an easy decision, it was all I’ve done my entire life. It’s all I knew and knew I was good at it.

Most friends, and even family have never known much about my career other than I always seemed to be working at it. They don’t know about the effects of working SWAT for 16 years.

The constant training and obsession with tactics to rescue victims or apprehend violent offenders. The thousands of rounds of ammo fired to become perfect at taking someone else’s life to protect another. The cold detachment of looking at a human being through the scope of your submachine gun, and then the expectation of going home and pretending like nothing special or horrific happened.

The 12 years spent working undercover narcotics and the dangers of a DEA assignment throughout the 1990s when New Orleans was more violent then than it is now. When federal undercover agents had to protect themselves from some of the local cops who were themselves more violent criminals than the criminals.

Sitting through family celebrations and holidays setting up drug buys under the facade of your undercover identity, while trying to pretend you were interested in what you got or gave your family for Christmas gift openings.

Bathrooms and back alleys exchanging marked money for illegal drugs, while sketchy technology seldom worked to alert your cover team to what was going down. Living the life of someone else, but going home to pretend a double-existence hadn’t affected your world view.

Oddly enough, those were some of my most treasured years in law enforcement. Existence within society’s very fringe, where you step back and forth between the life of service you swore to protect and the life you grieved in loss.

Most folks won’t know, or really have no interest in understanding how someone would thrive in an environment of constant risk. But it’s the risk, with life as it’s reward that pushes you to continue the service and sacrifice. It’s giving society everything you have in hopes of making it better – no matter the personal toll.

It doesn’t make us more important, just different. I’ve been blessed to have survived that life for many years. Carrying more scars on the inside than I do on the outside, and I promise my wife, Liliana Hart, one day soon, I’ll let those scars heal.

This is what retirement means to me – it’s my first chance in 25 years to take off that mask. The one that has hidden the hurt and the pain and the fear of what years in the service has done to the naively idealistic rookie who set out to not change the world, but to help everyone he could – one person at a time.

If the service is genuine, then the sacrifices are noble. There are thousands of good guys and girls out there that like me, only want to help everyone they can. They too accept the burden of wearing a mask, but hope one day soon that their retirement will allow them to unmask the cop, and return to being the son, daughter, brother, sister, father or mother and friend that society used to know.

Do good,
Scott

Chief Scott Silverii, PhD Announces Retirement

Chief Scott Silverii, PhD

Hi All,
It’s official – I’m retiring from law enforcement on August 28, 2015. I tried to think of an introspective post about bringing a career that began in 1990 to a close, but I could never capture what these years have meant to me.

I told a friend that cop years are like hard dog years. I’ve had times that tore at my soul, but as many or more than have touched it. In the end, it’s been faith, family and friends that kept me whole.

God placed it on my heart about a year ago, and it has taken that long to realize He wasn’t joking. He’s got other things for this cop to do, but I have the blessing of retiring on my own terms and with the friendship and assurances of a great Mayor Tommy Eschete​, and the beloved Thibodaux Police Department​.

Retirement doesn’t mean sitting at home. Liliana Hart​ and I have an amazing family to love and mentor, and plenty of adventures ahead. I only wish my mom was still with me to know that I did stay safe after all these years.

I’m thankful to have served the city that tolerated me as a boy growing up. I’m thankful for a nation that still values Pride, Integrity & Guts. I’m thankful for all of you, who’ve supported me, prayed for me and were always willing to send messages of encouragement. Thank you.

Be kind to one another,
Scott