I recently attended the State of the Department address at the Smith Center. Since the election and the new regime has assumed power, I have heard a lot of things that are reasons for excitement. It’s like the days leading up to Christmas — you have all these high hopes, and you have made that list of the things you want. Everyone can relate in some fashion to the anticipation of promises being delivered and the sheer excitement of things to come.
Ask yourself this question: Has that anticipation ever been met with joy, and have you ever gotten everything you wanted or needed? Well, the stakes are a lot higher here than not getting that new iPhone or diamond necklace you hoped for. The men and women of this Department are counting on some real change and support from the new regime.
So, how will this be accomplished? There has been a lot of excitement generated during and after the recent elections. We have heard that this Department will prioritize the health and welfare of the brave men and women who put on a uniform and risk their lives on a daily basis. I recently attended the Corrections Academy graduation, and I was impressed to see a large contingent of the command staff greeting each graduate after their badge was pinned on. That was a nice gesture, and I am sure the graduates appreciated the show of support. I can only hope that we are going to see more effort than a symbolic show of gratitude for our officers.
Health and wellness seem to be a big topic of discussion lately, and it seems to be an area being focused on by the new powers that be. But what I have not heard is how this will benefit any of our members or what it even looks like. The people I have spoken to all state that the most important thing to them is time off work, and a lot of the single mothers/fathers on this Department want day care for their kids. I spoke with a young lady who is a single mother, and she stated she would be willing to pay for day care contracted by the county.
What I have heard so far is a lot of talk about working out and physical fitness. Those things are very important, but most officers are looking for some type of support from their chain. During a State of the Department address, I heard our sheriff state that we need to learn to police with humanity. What I took from that is we need to treat people with respect and fairness. Our supervisors should adopt the idea of supervising with humanity because yelling, using profane language and constantly threatening people with discipline is not a good way to promote health and wellness. How can any supervisor expect an officer to treat other people with humanity when the example is not being set?
I really want to believe that our members’ best interests are the focal point of the new regime, and perhaps time will prove this to be true. But so far, I am still hearing the same things from our members: Morale is low, and it’s everywhere, from every substation to CCDC and a whole list of places. So, the question is, how does this problem get fixed? How about including the people who work and do the job in discussions?
Channel 8 recently did a special called “Women of Metro,” and I received a phone call after it aired from a young, single commissioned officer on this Department. She stated that the special was really cute but found it interesting that she or any of her co-workers weren’t included or advised to give their take on this topic. Getting the perspective of a captain or an assistant sheriff who has not done the job in years does not tell the real issues facing our officers. There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of hurdles facing this Department moving forward. We at the LVPPA are committed to working with everyone to ensure a positive work environment for our members. We also will not hesitate to defend or come to the aid of our members when the need arises. A wise man once said, “Just because you are in charge does not mean your way is the right way of doing things.”