I was sitting around the office the other day getting my bullets lined up, which is like combing my hair for me, before going out and doing that Bullethead thing. Another sergeant came up and started telling me about one of his troops. Ol’ Bullethead was so angry after that short conversation that I almost had to leave work. That ain’t my way, though, so I stuck it out and probably chewed a little extra butt on someone else to make up for it.
Here’s the situation: We keep monthly statistics on what our officers are doing. These can both help and/or protect an officer who’s working hard, and they can show when an officer is so lazy they make a sloth look like a fast mover. Our stats cover everything from radio calls to self-initiated activity, and they show the number of reports taken as well as the number of arrests, tickets, etc. Nothing special about it—I’m sure most departments use something similar, and I’m sure most of us can pretty well predict where people will fall with these monthly numbers.
You have your hunters out there, who always come in high in felony arrests and reports. You also have your traffic hunters, who come in high in movers and towed cars. Then you have your gatherers, who are always a little higher in radio calls and may also have high number of reports. Finally, you have your old salts, who are a little lower in most categories, but who still pull their weight in most respects. But what the sergeant had to show me was the report of one of the laziest SOBs our department’s ever had the dishonor of knowing. Shoot, I’m getting ticked off just trying to write this down!
This report read like a joke. I thought he was kidding at first. Next, I thought the guy must’ve been on leave for most of the month, but I was wrong there, also. This piece of work turned in stats that said he answered about one-third of the radio calls his beat partners answered. He took about 25% of the reports that his partners took, and you can imagine where his self-initiated activity landed. When his boss called him in to ask about it, he said that since the city is holding back some pay raises, he doesn’t feel bad not doing anything. And I saw the report: This chump isn’t doing a thing.
When I heard that, I just about blew my top. Sure, like many others, Ol’ Bullethead’s department is having some financial trouble, and as a result, they’re not giving out some pay raises, but this Major John Adam has a good, stable job that pays better than anything he could get on the outside with his level of education—not to mention the benefits. What a piece of work! If it were up to me, I’d pull a little salary savings right out of this guy’s ass as I walked him to the door.
Enough on that loser—my hands are shaking just from writing about him. The bottom line—and something that guy will never get—is this: We control only our own actions. A lot of people argue with me about this, but it’s a universal truth regardless of your opinion. Force is an exception to this. But physical force is—duh!— physical. Hearts and minds are harder won. And even when you think you’ve changed a person’s mind, it’s their mind that agreed to agree.
I’ve said it before. You can pull the patches off of cops and move them to a different city, and they can jump right into the same conversations they were having at their old city. There’s nothing wrong with a little bitching from time to time. The problems start when bitching sessions become reasons for not doing the job correctly.
You see, that’s the key. Ol’ Bullethead blew past it so fast that most of you didn’t even pick up on it. Listen now: We control our own actions by doing our jobs with honesty and integrity. Integrity means, among other things, giving a full day of work for a full day’s pay. If you don’t like the rate of your pay, work harder and move up in the organization over time.
Here’s another key: If you’re giving your best and you still don’t move up or get into the good assignments, you have no control over those decisions. All you can do is continue to work hard and try to impress the decision-makers in your organization. So getting ticked off about someone else getting promoted or the city freezing pay rates or anything else is like running on a treadmill—you’re going nowhere! Maintain your integrity and get out there and work, or go find a new game to play.
Got a question or complaint? Let Bullethead hear about it. He'll give you his opinion WITH BOTH BARRELS. Contact him via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or fax him at 619/699-6246.