Monday, December 1, 2014

Take me to your leader

A few weeks ago a police chief went ballistic online (it's now viral) and in a moment of anger told some harsh truths.

It has been a grueling few months for public safety. From controversial police shootings, protests, and riots to the bombastic vitriol of talking heads on mainstream media, saturated in opinion, starved in knowledge, devoid of balance.

Then I received news of struggles by some SafeGrowth practitioners under attack from bureaucrats and politicians in a few different cities.

For some of them political currents wane and crime slips from the Mayor's agenda. For others austerity budgeting undermines SafeGrowth as finances are redirected, typically to programs less effective and evidence-barren.


Truth is when leaders lose focus it is easier for them to revive comforting myths  from yesteryear - more cops, more technology, more CCTV, more generic social programs...whatever! These are myths with which they easily identify, myths their populations want to believe.

Anyway back to the chief, his moment and a video gone viral!

Disclaimer: I know and respect this Police Chief. Ed Flynn is Chief in Milwaukee, a police agency that supports SafeGrowth and, thanks to some help with our friends at LISC and some great beat cops, it's a city where SafeGrowth has been successfully applied to tackle neighborhood crime. 

Sometimes it takes leadership gumption and foresight to stick with what works, even if it's unpopular and doesn't grab quick headlines. Where are the leaders with that gumption, that foresight?

When this video appeared I had my answer.

In my view Chief Flynn speaks for everyone committed to, and working in, public safety everywhere. Note to self - So this is what passionate leadership looks like!

2 Replies so far - Add your comment

Tim Hegarty said...

You could not be more right about Chief Flynn, and yet there are scores of people who despise him, including his own officers. Even the sheriff of Milwaukee County has disdain for him, calling some of his efforts "data-driven crap." What's going on here? Why wouldn't most informed people share your same opinion? I think this quote from Moneyball says it the best:

"It's the threat of not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it's threatening the game. But really what it's threatening is their livelihoods, it's threatening their jobs, it's threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it's the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They go bat shit crazy."

Chief Flynn and those like him threaten the status quo in policing agencies and political agendas in the public. It follows, then, that the threat must be eliminated by efforts like votes of no confidence from his union (though no one will say actually how many votes). Well, he has my vote for truth teller of the month.

GSaville said...

Thanks Tim for the comment.

Regarding the Milwaukee Sheriff: There will always be those those who are magnificent with their largesse and minuscule with their potency. The Sheriff talks a good talk. Reminds me of some politicians - the one's I don't vote for.

You are right about Chief Flynn. His forward-thinking ideas might not be popular with the largesse crowd and their minion, but it is the only proven way that works to cut crime, protect the Constitution, and respect all citizens in the community. Let's hope the public sees that truth come election time and are not bamboozled by those who promise quick fixes that ultimately fail.