Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Fear among the rank-and-file

is one of the major clues that a department is rotting."

So wrote police expert Neal Trautman in a paper entitled; How & Why a Department or Jail Becomes Corrupt.

The Alibi comes with a story, link, about an investigation into corruption and incompetence in the Albuquerque Police Department. It appears that the investigation into the problems was cut short and then the results misrepresented in a report to incoming Mayor Richard Berry.

Trautman also pointed out that symptoms of rot include;

"... a departmental attitude of keeping corruption out of the media. Avoiding bad press, Trautman writes, becomes more important than addressing and disciplining corrupt acts.
I don't know how much the APD spends on "communication", but APS spends a million (otherwise classroom bound) dollars every year to avoid bad press rather than addressing and disciplining corrupt acts.

As to fear among the rank and file; an audit of the APS conducted by the Council of the Great City Schools found "... a culture of fear" of retribution and retaliation that prevented employees from exposing executive and administrative corruption and incompetence.

When I asked APS Director of Communications and Custodian of Public Records Rigo Chavez, for any public record that proved the leadership of the APS had responded to the audit finding by changing any policies, rules or regulations, I was told, they have no public record responsive to the request.

They cannot point to a single concrete change they've made in the years following the audit, to ameliorate or mitigate the fear they instill in subordinates to keep their complaints to themselves.

And why should they? Things work just fine the way they are, and there's no consequence for doing nothing.

There is no good and ethical reason to make subordinates fear the consequences of exposing administrative and executive mis, mal, or non-feasance. There no excuse for instilling or allowing that fear to exist. It doesn't exist except under corrupt and incompetent leadership.

If one really wants to measure the health of an organization, the quickest measure is morale and in particular, the fear of retribution and retaliation for exposing superordinate misconduct.

The next most easily measured markers of institutional health are, high standards and honest accountability.

Every scandal proves the system was incapable of, or unwilling to, prevent that corruption from taking place. Corruption exists because we allow it to. Casino security on government would end the corruption. All we have to do is make corruption and incompetence impossibly difficult to hide.

Every exposure proves the people who run the system were incapable of, or unwilling to, prevent corruption.

Unwilling means corrupt, unable means incompetent.

In any organization where subordinates live in fear of retribution and retaliation for exposing corruption and incompetence, there is corrupt and incompetent leadership.

In any organization where there is not manifest, honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence, there is corrupt and incompetent leadership.

I don't know if the leadership of the APD will ever be held accountable for their corruption and incompetence. We'll have to wait and see what the establishment media does with the Alibi's expose. If they make a big deal of it, heads might roll, who knows?

If the establishment media were willing to investigate and report (candidly, forthrightly and honestly) on APS' executive and administrative unwillingness and inability to provide accountability to high standards of conduct and competence, heads would roll.

The people would see to it, if they knew.

photo Mark Bralley

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