You're entering your police career during a time of
change never before experienced by past
generations of police officers. In the late 1960's
and early 70's, police departments underwent major
reforms. Departments were modernized, and
organizational systems were well conceived and
implemented. Police departments attained levels of
efficiency and accountability that had never
Today…police departments are more politicized than
ever before...and that's going some. Police chiefs,
and their obsequious minions, are more interested
in their self composed resumes describing their
numerous grand accomplishments and areas of
expertise. One need only divide the
accomplishments and expertise by years of service
to realize that most resumes are simply
autobiographical self delusions. To be fair…not all
police chiefs and those high ranking minions are
political hacks. After all, nothing is ever one
As a young person, you're not going to have a lot
of patience. You're going to want to move as fast
as you can as far as you can. It's always been that
way, but things like seniority and actual
requirements for experience use to temper the
overly ambitious, ensure continuity, and keep
change within manageable boundaries.
When a police department's foremost concern is
continuity and adherence to well organized systems
of control, change can occur at a reasonable and
rational pace without wrecking continuity and those
all important systems of control. When change
gets out of control, continuity is lost, and systems
are ignored. Think of continuity and systems as a
department's immune system. For a human being,
once the immune system is damaged, the body is
susceptible to any number of diseases. For a police
department, a damaged immune system results in
its susceptibility to numerous forms of corruption.
When you hear a police chief invoke the phrase,
"thinking out of the box," stay as far away from
that police department as possible. The chief could
be simply parroting the phrase, because it's popular
these days. However, if "thinking out of the box" is
a philosophical center piece of that police
department, you can be certain that the department
is either operating in an environment of confusion
or well on its way.
Once a police department is overly infected by
politics — politics has always been a destabilizing
factor — destabilization will occur at a rapid rate.
You'll see frequent personnel reassignments within
the command structure and throughout the
department; constant implementations of "new
ideas and initiatives;" slavish adherence to current
politically correct thought as it pertains to anything
and everything, and a general decline in competent
supervision at all levels.
When it gets to the point where everybody is just
making it up as they go along, corruption, in every
imaginable form, will flourish.
"When change gets out of control, continuity is
lost, and systems are ignored."
~ Barry M. Baker
When the subject of police corruption comes up,
most people think about crooked cops taking bribes
to protect drug dealers, or cops accepting, or
demanding, sexual favors from female suspects.
While these two examples certainly are forms of
police corruption, they're only the result of a more
profound and systemic cycle of corruption that
emanates from the top down.
|Copyright © 2019 Barry M. Baker