Help me, to help you, to help others.
That was a phrase an old Sergeant of mine used to use tongue in check in regard to “touchy feely” artificial community oriented policing programs.
However, I sincerely feel a need to help. Not only young men and women interested in entering the service of others, but future generations as a whole.
As big a deal as I am I can’t affect an entire generation single handed.
I need you to help me, to help others.
What do I mean by that?
Last blog I bemoaned the softness of the youth of America. Since then I have come across a couple of articles that show I’m not the only one noticing this trend.
I have included a link and the text here:
Police departments across the country are struggling with staffing shortages as a result of a weak economy, hiring freezes, furloughs, layoffs, and cutbacks to salaries, benefits, and retirement incentives.
According to Police Chief Magazine, “Such difficulties spurred 7,272 applications to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program, requesting $8.3 billion to support more than 39,000 sworn-officer positions. Altogether, both the supply of and demand for qualified officers are changing in a time of increasing attrition, expanding law enforcement responsibilities, and decreasing resources.” The problem is not new, either. The Anniston Star reported in December 2013:
Since the late 1990s the nation has seen a decrease in the number of people interested in becoming police officers. A 2006 article on police officer recruitment published in Police Chief Magazine said an estimated 80 percent of the nation's 17,000 law enforcement agencies had positions they could not fill. A separate report, Hiring and Keeping Police Officers, published in 2004 by the National Institute of Justice said 20 percent of agencies experienced officer weakness as a result of recruitment and fiscal problems.
One particular question being discussed by the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) at the annual National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas this year is how local law enforcement can recruit and retain quality individuals to their departments' SWAT teams. An NTOA seminar on this question was well attended by SWAT team officers from all over the country, from cities including Chicago, Santa Barbara, Washington D.C., and Palm Beach.
As baby-boomers in departments look toward retirement, issues surrounding differences among officers who grew up as Generation X-ers or Millennials appear to be surfacing. Veteran SWAT officers within the group of attendees say that too many new recruits look at SWAT as a “stepping stone” or “résumé builder” to other areas of law enforcement, so finding new recruits who are willing to stay on SWAT teams for the long haul is becoming more difficult.
“Instead of having 20 people staying there 20 years, you have people stay there five to seven years,” said Captain Ed Allen, NTOA Eastern Region Director and Instructor.
Additionally, new recruits are likely to be college graduates with a different mindset than their predecessors of 20 to 45 years ago. Attendees in the class gave their views on recruits in their early 20s who enter police departments with college degrees.
“What’s gone is police departments looking for the defenseman on the hockey team – the rough guy who can prepare to visit violence [on] a bad guy who would do us harm... [replaced by] the university graduate and all who comes with his entitled attitude,” said one officer.
Another claimed, “These new guys... come in that say, ‘I’m in here for just three to five years,’ and they check the box and they go on to do something else.”
“We got lawyers. We got Ph.Ds. We got everything but police officers. They can’t clear a corner. You tell them, 'Get out of the squad car and go clear the corner;' but they can recite to you a formula – you know, Starling’s law for cardiac help or something,” said one attendee.
He added, “But I think the worse thing we did was that we focused so much on law enforcement getting college degrees to move up that the type-A personalities out there in the streets kicking people’s asses and locking people up – well, they had to go to court. They didn’t have a lot of time to work on their master's.”
Allen reminded the class it was important for older officers to properly teach new recruits how they can improve on skill sets, discipline, and leadership as well as learn from recruits themselves, considering the technological skill set advantage young recruits have over their predecessors.
However, Allen does caution that some potential recruits may not have what it takes to break out of the stereotype of their generation and become law enforcement officers. Referencing the children of “helicopter parents,” Allen recounted a meeting he had with one young man.
“I got this kid who wants to be in law enforcement. He wants to go get his degree, but he wants to meet me first.” Allen continues, “So he comes to my office; and as he walks in the door, this shadow is right behind him – his mom. (the room laughs) He was about to get into the law profession. He’s a freshman in college and he wanted to come meet us – with his manager.”
Allen emphasized, however, that there are recruits who need to be told their weaknesses straight out but should also be reassured that others can work with them to eradicate such faults.
Daytona Beach law enforcement training specialist David Agata, who has more than 20 years of law enforcement background, agrees with the sentiment of the class attendees, telling Breitbart News that some new recruits in law enforcement today cannot even tell him why they want to be police officers.
Agata says that too many just “want to put the uniform on and work the street,” learning along the way. “And these kids say, 'Hey, why should I put a uniform on? I’m smart. I need to throttle back,'” he says.
“The challenge is we got a mindset that says, 'I don’t need to pay the price to get to where I need to go,' or they really don’t understand the job that they really have to do. Why? Because they haven’t done their homework,” Agata explains.
“Again, we have all this great technology, but I got a kid. He can probably text 250 words a minute, but can they write a report? Do they actually know what it is to educate? Can you tell me what your authority is? Can you tell me how to apply your authority? Can you tell me what levels of force would be applicable and proper while doing that? And then, what are we offering them?”
Other recruiting issues facing police departments are competition with the local fire departments, competition with nearby localities, and the privatization of law enforcement.
This next article, in my not so humble opinion is an example of the problem as opposed to a solution to it.
New demands changing the face of police hiring pools
Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune Updated: January 4, 2014 - 8:14 PM
More chiefs looking for four-year degrees, people skills and critical thinking.
Formerly in politics, Jackie Duchschere will soon put her bachelor’s degree and career skills to use with Columbia Heights Police.
Jackie Duchschere started her career in the unsparing world of politics after earning her bachelor’s degree. In her work at a state agency, her problem-solving and people skills were tested almost daily.
She’ll now plug those skills into her new job as a Columbia Heights police officer.
Being an officer these days is as much about brains as it is about brawn as more suburban police chiefs seek out job candidates with four-year degrees and previous professional experience, often in outside fields, including teaching, political science and corporate America.
Minnesota has long led the nation in peace officer standards; it’s the only state to require a two-year degree and licensing. Now, a four-year degree is becoming a more common standard for entry into departments including Columbia Heights, Edina and Burnsville. Many other departments require a four-year degree for promotion.
It’s not a rapid-fire change, but rather an evolution sped up by high unemployment that deepened the candidate pool and gave chiefs more choices. Officer pay and benefits can attract four-year candidates. Edina pays top-level officers $80,000; Columbia Heights pays nearly $75,000.
Nowadays, officers are expected to juggle a variety of tasks and that takes more education, chiefs said. Officers communicate with the public, solve problems, navigate different cultures, use computers, radios and other technology while on the move, and make split-second decisions about use of force with a variety of high-tech tools on their belt. And many of those decisions are recorded by squad car dashboard cameras, officer body cameras and even bystanders with smartphones.
Those higher community expectations and scrutiny are why Columbia Heights Police Chief Scott Nadeau said hiring officers with a four-year degree and some life experience is a top priority.
Still, there is healthy debate in law enforcement, with some chiefs favoring direct experience over pedigree.
Along with Duchschere, Nadeau recently hired a former schoolteacher with a master’s degree. He also has hired one officer who will finish his bachelor’s in business administration next year.
“Officers with education seem to do better with problem solving,” Nadeau said. “You need that breadth of knowledge. You need to know what is the difference between an immigrant and a refugee.”
That’s different from when Nadeau was hired, when chiefs literally sized candidates up, favoring those over 6 feet tall with broad shoulders.
In his inner-ring suburb of 20,000 made up of 16 percent foreign-born, officers are more likely to encounter a confused senior citizen than an armed gunman. During his career in Brooklyn Center and Columbia Heights, Nadeau says he has never had to discharge his gun, but he’s faced some rapid-fire questions from immigrant groups about racial profiling and from residents irked at efforts to stop jaywalking across Central Avenue.
The community problem-solving role for police warrants more education, Nadeau said.
“Officers need to fully understand the problem, provide a thoughtful analysis of alternatives, research best practices and assemble a plan that includes multiple stakeholders and leverages community resources to reduce or eliminate the problem,” he said.
A changing mold
Although her father is an Eden Prairie policeman, Jackie Duchschere says that for a long time “I just had the wrong idea of what you needed to be to be a police officer.” She is 5-foot-4 and describes herself as a bit of a “girlie” girl.
“Even though my dad isn’t this big macho guy, I was completely thinking about the physical aspects of it and I didn’t fit the mold.”
Duchschere, 26, has worked as a Columbia Heights community service officer part time to get her foot in the door. She starts her new job early this year pending background and health assessments.
“My biggest tool will be my ability to communicate with people — be smart and quick on my feet,” she said.
In Edina, Chief Jeff Long said, “We are not just hiring people who want to drive fast and make arrests. We are hiring people who want to get out in the community and participate. We really focus on candidates who have prior life experience coming in.”
Some of Long’s recent hires include two Target corporate employees and a YMCA executive. Many of these professionals are taking pay cuts to go into policing, he said.
Long, who will become Lakeville’s police chief this month, said that hiring practices started to change about a decade ago but that there’s been a big push in the last five years. It’s easy to be selective. His department had 400 applicants for their last job opening.
More education also coincides with greater expectations for police from residents and city officials. Two years ago, for example, Edina police started overseeing the city’s community health department, which handles pool inspections and hoarding investigations, Long said.
“That is the trend in law enforcement. People have that expectation that it’s not just cops showing up. It’s an entry into the social services arena,” Long said. “We want to do more social work when we are on the street. We call an advocacy agency every time we go in on a suspected domestic abuse case.”
Even conventional police work takes more education.
“You used to do a photo lineup, get the guy ID’d and you were done,” Long said. “Now you need DNA, a forensic trail, video and accounting.”
Burnsville Police started requiring a four-year degree in 1969. They relaxed the policy briefly in the late 1980s because of a thin candidate pool, but Chief Eric Gieseke said he firmly enforces it today.
“The community wants a professional agency and they expect us to be highly trained and highly educated,” Gieseke said. “The job has become more complex. You introduce technology. The laws are ever-changing and expectations in the community have not declined.”
Gieseke said larger urban departments, which hire more officers, may not have the luxury of considering only candidates with four-year degrees.
The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST Board, licenses officers. Its executive director, Neil Melton, said the board doesn’t track the number of officers with two-year versus four-year degrees but said the trend in some departments is to hire and promote officers with more education.
Debate about what’s needed
There is a back-and-forth in the law enforcement community about what qualifications predict a good officer. Maple Grove Police Chief David Jess said he values education but doesn’t require a four-year degree.
“I like to leave it open because there are plenty of people with two-year degrees that are good police officers,” he said.
Jess said he’s found experience to be a better indicator of success than education alone. He favors a candidate who has worked as a reserve officer or in a smaller department. He recalls once interviewing a highly educated candidate with no law enforcement experience who said his goal was to become the department’s forensic psychologist — a position that doesn’t exist.
“There was a total disconnect with the type of work we do,” Jess said.
Once in the door, many officers with two-year degrees utilize the city’s tuition assistance program to earn their bachelor’s degree.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, which provides police services for several north suburbs, requires only a two-year degree, but a four-year one gives candidates an edge, said spokesman Randy Gustafson.
“We are held to a higher public scrutiny level. You need people who are able to meet that public demand and the demands of technology,” Gustafson said.
Gustafson said today’s squad cars are like “driving a high-tech computer.”
He also noted that, for the first time this past year, the sheriff’s department put its new hires through 40 weeks of training and department shadowing.
“It’s a lot of money and you want to make certain you have a really good candidate who makes it through. … You can always teach specific competencies. You can’t teach character.”
A thank you to Cody Larson for finding that article for me. He is in that generation and seeking employment in Law Enforcement. He more than anyone else reading this is directly effected by the challenges I'm describing.
So somehow a guy that failed at a career in retail has life experience that is worth more than someone who has always wanted to be a law enforcement officer and sought out the training and education to achieve that?
Ok enough of my bitching
Bemoaning the problem does nothing to solve it.
That same Sergeant that used to say help me, help you, to help others also used to say…
“Don’t come to me with a bitch, if you have a bitch come to me with a solution to it and we will see what we can do”
What would Batman do?
He would take a leap
LEAP is a leadership concept I learned back in the Fraternity days
Precept (a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.)
If I am going to bitch about the softness of American youth, I (we – all of you who take the time to read this) had better set an example of being a hard charger.
These guys clearly have no solutions and have no right to bitch about a problem they are part of.
So step one lead by example. Oh, you want an example of well, leading by example. Allow me to dislocate my shoulder patting myself on the back.
SWAT PT Test 2013
Sit ups 61
Push ups 45
Body Weight Squats 56
250 lbs Leg Press 30
1 mile run in armor 9:45
I took 2nd place overall
SWAT PT Test 2014
Sit ups 69
Push ups 50
Body Weight Squats 65
250 lbs Leg Press 47
1 mile run in armor 7:58
Ok, ok big fucking deal besides shameless bragging what is the point of mentioning this?
Sadly, even with all the improvement I took 2nd place again. But to a different champion.
My efforts encouraged other to work hard.
Those results didn’t just happen. They were the well, results (I should really buy a thesaurus) of consistently doing the “hard” things every day.
Sleeping in feels nice but not as nice as crushing my peers so I get up at 0400 to get my first work out of the day in.
The guys I work with see me doing this, my daughters (the youth of America) see me doing this.
Eating doughnuts for breakfast feels good, but not as good as crushing my peers so I mix some protein powder into some steal cut oats.
The guys I work with see me doing this, my daughters (the youth of America) see me doing this.
Then they see the results. It isn’t being hard it is just being. Physical culture is just culture.
A phrase I usually hate but makes my point is be the change you want to see.
Don’t preach. Riding your friends, family, and co-workers to be more like you won’t work.
Just be such an awesome you that those who know you would want to emulate you.
If they ask for help in doing that, do whatever you can to positively encourage them
Step 1 lead by example
Challenge 1 – do the hard things every day that make you better at what you are passionate about. Before bed ask yourself, what have I done today to be better than yesterday? What have I done today to be the best there is at what I do
If the answer is nothing, change that tomorrow.
Step 2 Mentoring / Spread the message
This next chunk is going to be a brain dump of sorts for me. Stuff that has been cooking in the noggin that I feel I have to get on paper. Goals I am setting and action plans to achieve them. It should also serve as personal accountability. A few months down the road I (we) should be able to look back at this blog and have answers to the challenges and track my (our) progress.
Step 2 – Get ‘em young.
My daughters already embrace physical culture that is just life at our house.
How can I be a positive influence on more young people?
I’m not going to teach a kids class. That is not my thing, and the subject matter that interests me most is not appropriate for most youth.
So I figure 16 years old is the youngest I want to teach
16-24 age demographic is in most need of the help I can offer.
How / where can I advertise my services?
From youngest to oldest.
- Local (Near Dojo locations) High Schools
- Local churches with youth groups
- Local Police Explorer Programs
- Local Tech Schools, Colleges, Universities that have Law Enforcement Programs
- Military recruiters
Step 2 mentoring getting the word out to more people
Challenge 2 create a list of all the above mentioned locations. Make contact with each. Have professional advertising materials to leave with them. Develop online distance learning programs for those who are interested but cannot travel to train with me.
Challenges to readers:
Hold me accountable, ask me about my progress. I love winning, and I will not fail. I never want to have to answer a challenge with negative results. So help me walk the walk, please.
Reinventing the wheel. If any of you reading this have done something similar, or have strategies for getting my foot in the door of those “youth markets” I mentioned please share what has worked for you.
Anyone reading this that is interested in a distance learning program for the violence dynamics semester training leave me a message in the comments.
Also, I have shared many of the hard things that I do every day here on this blog. The last part of “the book”, the part that I am working on right now so I can finish it is the hard stuff. Things you can do to have positive answers to the question – what did I do today to be better than I was yesterday? So shameless plug buy the book when it comes out
Lastly, who have you influenced today? Can you influence more?
Train hard, Train smart, Be Safe – Change the world (with your awesomeness)