Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Monday, April 27, 2009

A moment of Clarity

I have a very good friend that is currently, gainfully, employed at Wal-Mart. I met him and his associates in a professional capacity because he was in a law enforcement liaison position at his store at that time.

Anyway, one night we and two of his associates were wondering around his store trying to find a subject I was seeking to make contact with for an investigation unrelated to the store. We had entered the pet area and walked to a section that was selling frogs in small plastic cups. I said, "Hey look, frogs, I wonder what they are called?". I pulled a frog off the rack and read the label and it said, Frog in a Cup.

I suddenly had a moment of clarity. I shared my findings with the three other people with me and once they got over their fear of, this cop has just lost it and is armed. I explained, "It is one of the few things in this world that is just what it is...A frog in a cup. Nothing more, nothing less. It is the sum total of what you are getting in four words."

We all sat there staring at the frog in the cup. This has become a saying with our group when we want to express that something is just what it is, IE she was cheating on him, that is why he broke up with her, frog in a cup."

In life so many things are hidden or over hyped or contained unexpected negative elements or varnished with deceit or a bitter disappointment or extremely complicated or experience sudden uncontrolled change, simply...most of what we experience is not truth. This was a truth. However it should never be confused with The Truth. It just was a small-a truth.

Simply, it just was nice to have just one thing that was just simply what it was. A clear bell ring in the silence.

Frog in a Cup.

Psalm 119:30

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Maintaining your Police Job-A Simple Guide

Maintaining your Police Job-A Simple Guide to staying out of trouble and making it to retirement.

Last week into this week, it seems like I have been bombarded with one law enforcement officer gone bad after another. They are either stealing, providing the bad guys with operational information (see US Marshal trials) or tragically striking a vehicle when drunk and running away while the other vehicle's occupants were burning alive. While I have only been at this slightly over a decade I have seen my share of Officers loose their jobs and in rare instants a few commit actions that result in criminal charges (this always catches me by surprise, it is not usually the person you think it is and only after they leave do you discover what actually happened, I thank the Lord that I have never had the criminal act happen in my presence).

This has spurred me to create a simple list that if followed will eliminate over 95% of the reasons officers find themselves either unemployed or jailed.

1. Don't drink and drive...others get arrested, pay a fine and go about their lives, we get fired.

2. Places to not get drunk. A) local bar filled with yahoos, B) neighbor's backyard, C) weddings, D)funerals and E) well...every place outside the home...how about...do not get drunk.

3. Do not cheat on your wife/husband...especially with a coworker or someone to whom you have just provided a service (see domestic violence pickup).

4. Do not Lie. If you are on the stand and everything is going badly resist the temptation to lie. Believe it or not you will score points with, "I do not know" or admitting your mistake. You will destroy your career if the lie is discovered (once a liar always a liar, in the court's eyes)

5. Do not steal, while it may be the bad guy's money/jewelry/cellular telephone/clothing and in one case underwear and there is no chance of being caught...just don't do it.

6. Treat your co-workers, bosses and the public the same way you would want to be treated. I can think of a number of instances, in which the incident was used to get rid of a real cock@#$%^& that had it been anyone else they would have suffered a mild reprimand.

7. Do not beat your wife/husband...enough said.

8. Anything over a cup of coffee should never be taken for free...let me say again nothing over a cup of coffee should never be taken for free.

9. Do not accept cash/services for your performance or lack of performance...your pension is worth 1,000,000 over your retirement lifetime...is it really worth risking over 300?

10. If you are depressed/sad/consistently angry, seek help, quickly.

11. Your family is priority one and the job is priority two...the second that switches you have already slipped halfway down the slope without realizing it.

12. Revenge is not your job, justice is not your job, your job is protecting the weak, gathering evidence for the court and arresting the bad guys AND NOTHING ELSE. Payback only pays you back.

13. Finally, insurance fraud is well...a crime!

14. Well I thought finally, but there is one more. Ok for some I will have to speak slowly...do...not...have...sex...with...anyone...under...18! (Thanks Eric, not the sex part but sending me the story about this twisted officer).

Basically follow the ten commandments. My list of 13 is for situations that I have known about in some form or another. It really is pretty simple, be smart and learn to delay gratification.

Exodus 20
The Ten Commandments
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 "You shall have no other gods before [a] me.

4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

13 "You shall not murder.

14 "You shall not commit adultery.

15 "You shall not steal.

16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Sunday, April 12, 2009


The Stone was rolled away. The grave is empty.

Mark 16
The Resurrection
1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "

8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Chicago Police Contract

One of the most unexpected benefits of my current position is my exposure to law enforcement professionals from a multitude of other departments; local, county, state and federal. It has taught me a number of things, primarily, that the men and women who serve us in law enforcement are a credit and a boon to America and secondly I come from a good department.

I have gotten to know a number of Chicago Officers while I was going through my master’s program and then met even more now we are all working together to pull illicit drugs off the street. They are being disserved by the Daley administration. The officers have been without a contract since 2007 and yet other city services find a way to increase their pay and benefits package (See Chicago Aldermen). Mayor Daley has made the simple calculation that it is cheaper to keep the money with the city and eventually pay out retro checks then to settle the contract quickly, well unless he can get the union to make substantial cuts into the proposed benefit package. This is coming dangerously close to the Cook County Model in which when one contract is finally negotiated, they have to instantly begin new contract negotiations because once the new contract is approved and signed it has expired.

I brought up the problem that Chicago PD is going through to a group of my non-law enforcement friends and immediately the response was, “Well they should be taking a pay cut like everyone else.”

That got me thinking about the unique characteristics concerning Police contracts.

First, the general purpose of the employee contract rather individual employment/ at will employment is to; theoretically, remove the politics and personal gain issues that affect private sector employment. If you are in negotiations as a group, then individual actions can not improve individual employment keeping Officers actions on the street for law enforcement purposes and not for personal gain.

Second, everyone regardless of individual performance gets paid the same. In patrol for instance the lowest ticket writer gets paid the same as the highest. The only change in pay comes with either positions (investigators get paid the same as other investigators but higher than patrolmen), promotion or time on the job.

Third, the reason the Officers do not deserve a pay cut is primarily due to point two. When economic times are positive Officers upward mobility in both position and pay is restricted. Promotion comes only through a testing process that is conducted only once every couple of years. The Officer also does not get increases based on performance but rather negotiated raises throughout the year. In the private sector when a company is successful and the employee is performing at a high standard, their compensation is improved whenever the company deems fit. I get all kinds of calls from my friends wondering why I picked this profession when I could be making so much more money in the private sector. When times are bad I get calls to the reverse. The bottom line is that public sector pay is a slow line increasing up and we can not take advantage of the good times and are not hurt as badly during the down times. However if a pay cut is implemented for a contract employee it is a permanent loss since you do not get a corresponding pay increase when times are good to offset the loss.

Finally, the last in this post but certainly not the last element concerning contracts is the retro check. When a post due contract is finally signed and ratified the pay that the Officer should have received is calculated and put into a check. The problem for larger Police departments unions is sometimes the money that the city can make in interest and alternate use is greater than what they will eventually issue in retro checks. So in essence there is little hurry for the city to negotiate when they are essentially making money by holding up the contract negotiations.

These are just the concepts I brought up that night and there are a multitude more to choose from but I can see how frustrating it can be to work for years without knowing how much you are making and what is your benefits package.

The bottom line is Chicago Officers deserve a contract.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chicago Police FOP Rosanna Pulido 2009

I have made a point of staying apolitical but for one post I will rescind my policy.

I hosted Rosanna Pulido, the Republican candidate for the Illinois 5th congressional seat at my home for a meet and greet. She stayed for four hours. I can say with certainty that she is pro law enforcement...she was even a dispatcher for Northfield Police Department. I was impressed with her dedication, intelligence and well thought out positions.

The Chicago Police Department FOP members had a rally on April 2, 2009 around City Hall. These Officers have been without a contract since 2007 and yet the Mayor's office and the city alderman seem to have no problem finding pay increases for their positions and the positions of their subordinates. Rosanna was there and marching with the Officers. The democratic candidate was no where to be found. This was noticed...

Rosanna Pulido, Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District. What a kick in the teeth it would be for a Republican to win Rahm Emmanuel's old seat. We don't care if she's not your typical candidate. She was there. Quigley wasn't. What does that tell you? That is from Second City Cop Blog http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com

If the FOP really wants to send a message. Back Rosanna and get her elected to the 5th...this is a very heavy CPD area. The democratic party is so sure of the FOP/police vote they have become contemptuous. Why would they help if they are guaranteed the vote.

If Rosanna is elected not only would a pro-police politician be in office but she would be beholden to FOP and intervene on their behalf. Do you really believe that Quigley would take on Daley?
They need to vote for their own best interest and not to keep their piece of the Chicago dum-o-cratic machine.

Rosanna's links