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Bloviating Zeppelin: Shooting The Messenger

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Shooting The Messenger

I have this hypothetical situation for you.

Let's say, in theory, you work for a law enforcement agency somewhere in the United States.

Let's say you train cops and emergency personnel (police officers, firefighters, in cars, on motorcycles, on fire apparatus, box medics, etc.) how to drive defensively, with precision at low speed, with precision at speed, in pursuits and in emergency response, with safety being the overarching concern -- the safety of the emergency responder and the safety of the immediate motoring and surrounding public. Let's say you're the current supervisor of such a program.

Let's say you've been doing this for quite some time, over 25 years, so you have many contacts in the arena, you've attended some of the finest training available in the entire nation, in many states. Most of this training you've paid for personally.

In providing this hypothetical situation, let's say you abandoned a lucrative assignment in your department over ten years ago in order to get this driver training program off the ground floor, in its infancy. Let's say you were specifically chosen by managerial staff, at that point, due to your abilities and knowledge, to construct, from nothing, an entirely fresh series of driving courses. And let's say that your base course was used by other immediate and linked agencies, literally word-for-word, as the foundation for their current and new courses as well -- which continue to this day -- because they believed the content was superior to anything else.

And let's say you've personally trained, literally, thousands of students and recruits over the years. Let's say you're considered a Subject Matter Expert in the field and can easily qualify as an expert witness in court. Let's say that another equally-qualified veteran supervisorial instructor for an allied law enforcement agency frequently states: "I can make more money testifying against you than I can working for you."

Further, let me postulate this: let's say you personally witness, enroute to a dinner engagement with your wife, a very recent egregious driving event displayed by an obvious member of your department (you can tell by the markings on the car) that leaves you speechless at the time.

Let's say you witness that unit blow through an extremely busy intersection at what you estimate to be 65 to 70mph and, surrounding that intersection, there are numerous persons, pedestrians, bicyclists, women with children. Let's say you see that the unit did this in contravention of most every safe principle you teach where you work. And finally, you know the unit is not in pursuit but in emergency response (at least with lights and siren activated) which should, theoretically, be some of the most safe driving cops do because they have the time to safely plot, plan, and take external elements into account.

Let's say that, as a senior supervising instructor you've constructed a blog (not significantly different from this one) whereupon you've consistently and in-the-clear, for 3 years, conducted communications between yourself and your 45+ souls cadre of full and part-time instructors.

The goal of this blog and your prior e-mail devices was to provide your full and part-time instructor staff with timely information regarding not only departmental instructional issues but greater, overarching driving, officer survival and internal issues. These updated posts, let's say, you've provided not just to your instructors but to your boss, your boss's boss, a co-boss and others. Everyone knows your blog exists; it's no secret at all. In fact, let's say it was one of your prior bosses who signed off on the original idea, thinking it was a good way to communicate.

These posts have heretofore been well received and acknowledged by your current boss's boss in e-mails (which, unfortunately, you were an idiot to not save but - so it goes) as accomplished, thoughtful, well-written and facile. This all at the behest of your communicative blog.

But once you witnessed your agency's unit completely blow through an incredibly-busy intersection, during drive-time, against all orders, against all training, against all logic, against all common sense, and at 65 to 70 estimated mph -- and then you posted truthfully about the issue on your blog. . .

Well, let's theorize that the determination by your administration was to order you to eliminate the blog, to suppress the information. Because the uniform in your hypothetical profile kinda looks like your agency's, because the hypothetical description in your profile kinda sounded like your agency but was never named, because you couldn't quite read the badge, you couldn't see your agency's shoulder patch but -- if you were sufficiently educated -- you might make that link. So your hypothetical blog was eliminated because it, bottom line, displayed the truth about some immediate and personally-observed heinous conduct, not reflecting well on your hypothetical department.

Theoretically, you wrote about that event on your blog when it existed. You sent it out to all your instructors. Let's say that one of your instructors evidently took umbrage to the truth and complained to your department's union because -- after all -- that individual could find themselves subject to discipline. Your union president dialed-up the agency head, the applicable next person down, your boss, your boss's boss.

And let's say your boss shuts the door to your office in order to speak with you. He politely suggests that, if you were smart, you'd kill the entire blog because the administrative staff believes that you've embarrassed the department in public. And, theoretically speaking, because the department believes you've exposed it to liability -- despite the fact that, thank God, no accident occurred as the result of that event and no one was injured or killed.

Oddly enough, you thought (after all those years) your theoretical department was "above" STM.

Evidently not.

Let's say this hypothetical department realizes the event was significantly embarrassing and just wants to bury it, considering the recent death of an agency's officer in a vehicle accident and another event involving an officer bringing much shame on a department by their conduct.

Let's postulate that you conclude your agency just wants to "shoot the messenger" when it decides it's time to hang you out to dry and not the perpetrator of the hypothetical act.

What might you, dear reader, conclude?

BZ

P.S.

This is all hypothetical, of course.

1 Comments:

Blogger Big I said...

No good deed goes unpunished I fear, and those who would put the need for unwarranted secrecy above the need for public safety shouldn't have that power in the first place! Might I assume that this hypothetical situation has a counterpart in reality? I am unaware of that situation.

When the Cops burst into my sleeping 7:00am Sunday house over a crossed up 911 call, guns out and pointed all the way, I realized that they were ENDANGERING us while protecting themselves! The overwhelming clawing NEED for the Police to bury this like a cat buries it's doo was astounding. Our police cars have a saying,"To Protect and Serve." It has yet to be decided just WHOM they are really protecting and serving.

Mon Mar 21, 07:43:00 AM PDT  

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