You wrote an article titled “No Patience for No-Loads” (March 2006, p. 112), and I use it regularly for training. I have a deputy who is 53 years old, a 24-year veteran, who has a four-year degree and who graduated second in his academy.
The problem : He struggles with report writing. He either writes a bad report or he writes none at all. I gave him your article and asked for a written reply. His reply—which he illegibly handwrote—follows.
I thought this article was informative and entertaining. There is a bit of the boob in all of us.
I think a person needs to use their best judgment on how much time and information they put into any particular report. Some incidents have no probability of ending up in a court. It would be a waste of the taxpayer’s money spending an excess amount of time on such reports.
I’d appreciate your opinion.
—Fed Up in Sibley
Dear Fed Up: You’re doing a great job because you care enough about those in your charge to save articles and hand them out for training. I’ll have some advice for Shakespeare in a bit, but first let me bring everyone up to speed on the article you reference before I tap dance on your lazy deputy’s head.
“No Patience for No-Loads” (available at http://tiny.cc/bullethead) describes a cop who at one time had a supervisor who accepted junk but then got moved to a new supervisor who expects the cop to earn his living. The cop was upset because he thinks the old supervisor had it right. Ol’ Bullethead gave him a beat down and suggested he start looking for a job selling shoes or flipping burgers. That article is a hell of a piece of literature you should all read; it also made me laugh out loud when I revisited it, and I’m the S.O.B. who wrote it! Get off your Facebook page for a second and go read it.
Now for your deputy: This chump is a real piece of work! It’s a shame, but the first thing we learn from your question is that experience and education don’t add up to a whole lot unless you put them to work. That’s right, folks, you must continue to perform or you quickly become as useless as lips on a chicken (try pecking your food off the ground if you don’t understand the analogy).
It’s a real shame, because this is a very serious problem in our community. It doesn’t make any sense either, because no one expects this chump to be out there busting his hump like a three-year cop trying to work their way to the special enforcement or SWAT team. One of the coolest things about our job is that we can change our focus almost completely every few years. We continue to learn new aspects of the profession. We stay interested, and we continue to perform.
I really love hearing that “waste of time” excuse. I hear it from losers like this one all the time. We know these duds aren’t taking people to jail or working on some quality of life project—so what are they doing?! Nothing! That’s right. They take the money; they just don’t do anything. These jackasses have forgotten that it’s their job to investigate crimes. We all know it’s hard to track a random car burglar when they just smash and grab and leave no prints, but that doesn’t take away our obligation to try. And just maybe there’s a hardworking detective who’s tracking these things and all he needs is a few good reports to move forward. Bummer. Chumps who pull this sort of crap are not only screwing over the public but their own agency too—all because they’re too busy doing nothing.
Your guy needs a gut check. Push him into retirement or back into contributing to the agency’s mission—those are the options. I’d start by taking that chicken scratch, handwritten response— to an assignment! —and shove it about three feet up his fourth point of contact. I’d gently tell him—by taping his head to the PA speaker on my unit and shouting into the mic—that anything he gives me better be typed. I’d show up at his calls and order him to investigate, and then turn in every report to me. I’d kick back anything subpar.
Don’t tolerate any of his BS excuses about a go-nowhere case or about being too busy to perform the duties he’s paid to perform. Now, go forth and polish this turd, or send him to the dump with the next bag of trash.
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 email@example.com or fax him at 619/699-6246.