There has been much speculation about the recent NBC4 Investigative story about the Metro Unit that aired this past Friday evening. The speculation has swirled around whether the officers depicted in the story should have gone public with their concerns over a lack of training and equipment for the mission they have been assigned and over the identity of the officers.
Let us state for the record, we don’t care who the officers are. What we care about is what they said. What we care about is the culture created in our department that would compel any officer to go public with these serious concerns for fear that their concerns would fall on deaf ears or fear retaliation for expressing their concerns.
We watched the story and waited for Chief Beck to say, “These are serious concerns and any time an officer in my command feels the department has fallen short in ensuring they have the training and equipment to keep them safe I am going to make sure I rectify the problem.” But that’s not what Chief Beck said.
Or Chief Beck could have said, “I am going to look into these accusations and if they are true I am going to hold folks accountable and I will get these officers the training and equipment they need. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.” But he didn’t say that either.
The story showed Chief Beck exhibiting a cavalier attitude about officers expressing a desire for more training and safety equipment, such as body armor. The Chief’s solution, bring me your concerns and I will re-assign you. Talk about a chilling effect on anyone wanting to improve the department or protect the public.
An inclusive and collaborative leader should reward those willing to get out of their lane and identify problems before they get worse, a leader should welcome information to improve the likelihood of police officers making it home at their EOW.
Chief Beck sent the wrong message. Period.
The command staff is scurrying around trying to figure out who went on camera instead of scurrying through the Metropolitan Division to determine if they did all they could to equip and train those they send into harm’s way.
The League will act on the information revealed in the NBC story and we are saddened that it took a news story to expose the culture created by some in the command staff that would rather have everyone just go along to get along.
The League also stands ready to work with the department, city elected officials, and the officers of the Metropolitan Division to ensure they are equipped and trained to do their jobs as safely as possible. We owe it to them to advocate for immediate changes. The League will also work toward a cultural shift within our department, one that welcomes criticism, encourages differing points of view and fosters an environment where speaking up to improve our operations is celebrated.
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