FEATURED IN LEADERSHIP
I've wanted to write for some time, but never had the gumption until now. I'm a six-year deputy in a small department, and I have a sergeant who's frustrating the hell out of me. When we were both deputies I could deal with the problems and move on. But now he's a sergeant.
The biggest problem I have with him is his lack of professionalism. He gets text messages constantly on his personal cell in meetings, on the range, while talking with people. If he's not answering the text, then his phone is beeping and distracting those around him.
Often, he also doesn't complete his case narratives before going off shift. This is mandatory per the undersheriff and sheriff. Other deputies have been issued disciplinary letters and told they'll get days off if they neglect this task. On one of these cases, I got a follow-up call and had to call this sergeant s personal cell to get info on the case because he was off shift. He claimed he put something in the narrative. I came back to work the next day and found two more cases with nothing in them.
I sent an e-mail to the undersheriff and cc'ed the sergeant. I find myself in the position of telling on others often. Should I continue to send e-mails and risk being considered a rat and complainer? I don t want the violators to slip between the cracks, but I also don't want to be the complainer deputy the bosses hate.
Dear I'm Glad I Don t Have Any Friends Like You,
We'll get to what he's doing wrong, but Ol Bullethead isn't about to let you slide. I'll tell you right off the bat that you re the annoying, pain-in-the-ass cop who spends too much time bitching about other cops instead of worrying about yourself. The other troops don't trust you. The administration if they're worth their weight in used Taser wire (they won't let me say cow crap, oh wait, they did) thinks of you as the guy who's trying to get ahead by kissing butt and ratting out the petty stuff you think other guys should get into trouble for.
Don't bring me your Bullethead, it tarnishes the badge bogus bull either. If you see something that actually tarnishes the badge, report it. This would include any cop doing anything criminal. There s no room for that sort of thing in police work. You're upset over some rudeness and a guy being either too lazy or too busy to finish his work on time.
On top of all that, you re a coward. Yeah, I said it! When you have a problem with someone (I know this is a surprise) go to them and discuss it. Any chump can send an e-mail to the administration. It takes an adult to walk up to someone and say, We re supposed to finish our work prior to going home. The fact that he's your sergeant makes no difference; you can be professional and explain yourself reasonably. Offer to help and you might even develop an actual friend, which you need because right now you don t have any.
I had a guy on a tactical team sending text messages between volleys on a rifle range. Two things happened. The rest of the team wore him out to the point where he almost dumped the girl to avoid the wrath of the team (never underestimate peer pressure or even pressure from the bottom up). The other thing that happened: I told him I'd put a .308 through his phone if I ever saw him doing that on the range again. Ol Bullethead don't make no idle threats, so he rightly believed me. Round up some of the guys and start making fun of him every time that phone goes off in the middle of something. Either he'll get the message, or he's too stupid to be in this business.
As a supervisor, he should know the importance of finishing his work. You need to bring this one to him directly and let him know it isn't going unnoticed by the other troops who are being held to a standard. If he doesn't change, it's his problem and the department's not yours. Let them deal with it.
Your orders are simple: Worry about yourself. Support your fellow officers and those appointed above you by helping, not ratting. And don't be a coward!
Got a question or complaint? Let Bullethead hear about it. He'll give you his opinion WITH BOTH BARRELS. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax him at 619/699-6246.