I now have a teenage son, and from day one I have always drilled it into him that he can turn to his mom and dad whenever he has a problem. I am overjoyed when he comes to me looking for advice on a problem and we solve it together. He is not always correct in his way of thinking, but I am happy to say that he trusts me enough to ask for my help. When members of the LVPPA come to me for guidance or help, I am all too eager to find an answer or assist in any way I can.
Our members are told from day one that if they have a problem, to report it and always trust in your chain to have your back. Imagine going to work and being singled out and made to feel like you don’t belong or are part of the problem. Imagine not fitting the image of what some antiquated, narrow-minded supervisor thinks you should look like. Imagine being ridiculed, picked on and chastised for simply being different. This treatment causes stress and hinders your ability to perform your job in a safe and prudent manner. You are told from day one in the Academy that this type of treatment will not be tolerated by Metro. You are also told that you have rights and that there are systems in place that will protect those rights. Believing this to be true, you speak to your representative and we utilize the systems that are in place. In the past, we would give our member their options, such as filing a diversity complaint. Diversity will investigate and attempt to ensure our member’s rights are being adhered to — unless your complaint happens to be against a supervisor or against the actions of a supervisor. Funny how a supervisor can violate policy, such as taking a picture of an employee from behind while they are sitting in a module. This would clearly be a violation if it were performed by a line officer. A supervisor can carry their phone within the confines of CCDC for duty-related purposes, not to share vacation photos or take pictures of unsuspecting officers. But it happened, and we were told it was handled. If you were to file a complaint, you would still get an interview and be told that your complaint will be thoroughly investigated. Then all of a sudden it seems like the person filing the complaint becomes a target. So what is the outcome of this complaint? In my opinion, nothing. It is a rare occasion when a supervisor is held accountable for their actions. I have seen instances where an officer is investigated, sustained and receives discipline. On the other end, a supervisor commits the same or similar infraction and it is handled differently.
So what do you do when you firmly believe that the system you are following and adhering to has failed you? None of us are willing to give up or give in, so our only option is to push back. It is instilled in us from day one that if you trust the process and the system, you will be fine. Our members have a belief that our hard work, dedication and willingness to serve will see us through the darkest of times. But it is difficult to have faith in a system controlled by someone who wants to discipline you just so “I want to get his attention” (a true quote from a captain). Scare tactics and bullying are not the way to get an employee to become better at their job. Communication, respect and commitment can do the job better than threats. I firmly believe that our management does not get the most out of their employees because they think there is a separation; they have an elitist attitude toward their subordinates. How many times have you heard the term “open-door policy”? Ask yourself this question, why are the entrance doors to the captain’s office locked on the 12th floor?
A former president once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” What have our leaders done to inspire us and make us want to be a part of their vision? I guess you have to have a vision in order to get someone to look for one.