Monday, March 02, 2015

Why are you leaving? is the right question to ask cops

The Journal informed the democracy this morning, link.
The information they provided will be of use to those who both care and are willing to do something about what they care about.

 "Councilor Diane Gibson, a Democrat, is sponsoring legislation that would call for an independent group to survey retiring officers and ask them why they are leaving the Albuquerque Police Department."
'"The intention here is to get data and make better-informed decisions regarding (officer) retention," City Councilor Diane Gibson says."
Good as far as it goes.  I find myself wondering;
by what logic are the opinions of one group of police officers valuable, and the opinions of all of the other police officers are not?

There are some fundamental truths about surveys such as the one they contemplate;
  • People whose incompetence and or corruption will be exposed, will do everything they can to diminish the gravitas of the results.
  • The smaller the survey sample, the easier to ignore.
  • Surveys will be limited to groups sizes that cannot be extrapolated to the population.
  • Surveys will be anonymous*
*Anonymity, for whatever reason it is granted, makes it harder to use survey results to hold powerful people individually actually, honestly accountable for their character and competence.

The need for anonymity points to fear of retaliation over truth telling. If there is a more important indicator of organizational ill health, than fear of retaliation against whistleblowers, I cannot imagine it.
"... a report on the survey's findings would be created."  
Then to be redacted as they need and fought over, under the Inspection of Public Records Act.
"... there likely would be additional surveys of the annual retirees.
Written by whom?  Surveys written the politician and public servants and creating an appearance of a conflict of interests, and possibly of impropriety?

Police officer organizations are on board;
 "Bob Martinez, the president of the state Fraternal Order of Police, said the survey would be an “excellent idea.” "One issue (affecting police retirements) may be wages and working conditions, and another may be how officers feel related to doing their jobs and not getting the support or backing by management and people in the community,” Martinez said. “Those are concerns (among police officers) across the state. But I don’t think they have the dramatic intensity that exists in Albuquerque.” emphasis added

Shaun Willoughby, the vice president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, said he liked the idea of the bill but said it’s crucial the surveys are anonymous.I wouldn’t want to leave on a bad impression by saying something detrimental to the organization,”* he said.
By all means, let's not say something "detrimental".
How would that look?
Who cares how it "looks"?  People standing up for what they believe in, don't get to stop, nor should they want to, because it might leave a "bad impression".

Finally; someone has to ask,
why is the concept of surveying retirees coming up now?
Why haven't they been surveying retirees (and others) all along?

An important question is what "leader" of ours, is personally responsible for the fact that no data has been gathered on why police officers are leaving the APD?

Those who believe in "the buck stops here" accountability, would hold Mayor Richard Berry accountable for never wondering, and or never hiring a subordinate who would wonder in his stead;

Why can't we find enough good men and 
women to staff a top notch police department?

The bill is on the agenda for action at tonight’s City Council meeting; 5 p.m. at One Civic Plaza NW.  

photo  Mark Bralley

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