Written by: Greg Ellifritz
If you want a small taste of how many police executives (the ones running the show) are astonishingly corrupt and inept, read this short article by my friend Kevin Davis (linked below). It highlights some of the egregious acts of misconduct he personally experienced in his career. Remember, this is just one guy and he was once a peak performer in his agency.
The brightest and most skilled police officers in any agency generally have a target on their backs. The bosses know that the peak performers are both brighter and more dedicated to their careers than the administrator is. Many high performing officers disdain politics and operate under a personal code that requires both integrity and pride in doing a good job. These officers hate corruption and inefficiency and aren’t afraid to highlight the cases they see. That’s incredibly intimidating for an inept police command staff that just wants to keep things running as smoothly as possible so that they can earn lots of money without doing much work. I’ll wait while you read Kevin’s article.
Police Unions and Associations in Use of Force Incidents
In the article, Kevin discusses some of the serious problems with the way that many police unions and police executive staff operate. He notes:
“I’ve asked this question innumerable times over the last few years, “If an officer violates policy, they can be disciplined up to and including termination. If the agency violates policy what happens?” The answer is ‘nothing’.”
When an agency violates its own policies and procedures, there are rarely consequences if no citizens are harmed by the violation. If officers get screwed over by the agency policy violations, no one is ever held accountable.
The rules are not the same for everyone. The bosses can violate policy with abandon because the only institution that will call them out is the police union. But the police unions are in a delicate position. They function with the goal of creating general occupational harmony, well being, and a fair working environment for the all officers they represent. The unions are unwilling to burn bridges to make things right because they must continue to maintain an adequate working relationship with city politicians and police command staff. The union attorneys are not willing to go after police administrators who regularly violate officers’ rights if it means that those command staff members won’t support officer wage increases in the next contract negotiation.
I’m glad to be out of the policing world. To share one personal example, I caught a police lieutenant redacting and altering evidence during a disciplinary action they were taking against me. The entire investigation was a gross violation of our contract and legislated best practices. When the case was concluded (I won), I attempted to file policy violation charges against both the chief (who conducted the improper investigation) and the lieutenant who tampered with evidence (a felony) in the case. The police union would not pursue either member of command staff or the politician who filed the false charges against me. No one was ever disciplined.
Think about all the retired cops who are now well known commercial firearms/tactics instructors. Most of the well known trainers who meet this definition are friends or acquaintances of mine. An astonishingly high percentage of them were fired from training jobs within their own departments because they wanted to affect positive change. Almost all the guys (and gals) who are good enough teachers to earn a living teaching commercially (including myself) were once thrown out of their departmental training gigs because of vindictive and corrupt police administrators/politicians. That’s the reality of today’s law enforcement world.
Although the unions may be more supportive to the individual street officer than his own command staff, my cop readers should recognize that the police union’s primary goal isn’t to protect officers. Its primary goal is to perpetuate its own existence. The union will almost always sacrifice doing the right thing for courting political favor and maintaining positive relationships with city politicians.
Unlike many of my retired friends, I have absolutely zero regrets about leaving my police career. I couldn’t get away from the corrupt system soon enough. There is no chance that I will ever take up another policing job in my life, The profession is a quagmire. It’s going to get progressively worse until the entire system is completely dysfunctional and collapses.
You really should be training to take care of yourself. You won’t want future cops responding to your call for help.