Saturday, August 9, 2008

King for a Day

The Chief has graciously allowed me to take over his blog for the next week. To my knowledge, he has no idea to whom he has relinquished control. Of course, as you will see over the course of the next few blogs, I do not have the computer skills or techno-geekness that he possesses, so it's possible that he may have some way of determining my true identity. I kind of doubt he knows now though. Don't repeat this... but I am fairly sure that if he knew who Atticus was, he wouldn't have been so willing to turn the reigns over to me. Let's just say I don't think I've ever been on his short list of 'favorites'. Heck, probably not even on his long list. Anyway, here I am.

A response to the Chief's last entry before he headed off on vacation asked if Atticus would be approved to make some changes at LPD in his absence. Sadly, no. It is one thing to turn over control of your blog, but quite another to turn over control of your entire department. But that did start me to thinking on what changes I would make if I was crowned LPD King for a day. (Que the dreamlike harp music)

Sure I could start with the 1.5 officers per 1,000 citizens, but that one has been done to death. Do you get the feeling the Chief could insert that lofty goal into just about any conversation? I do. I am glad he does and maybe eventually the squeeky wheel will get the grease. For my day though I will leave that up to him.

I suppose I could make some changes on the type of calls LPD will and will not respond to. Clearly we are the clearing house of the city and some of the calls we are sent to border on the ridiculous.

Or I could magically decree that I would determine who is and who is not a 'criminal', based on each citizen's personal description, and protect the true victims in the city. After all, if you read some of the blogs following the newspaper articles there are many among us who feel LPD should have crystal ball powers and be able to make these determinations regardless of facts, witnesses, individual rights, etc.

Naw, I think if I were King I would go for a real change. Something crucial. Something far-reaching. Uniforms! I think it is high time we moved out of the 70's era polyester/wool pants and comfort matching french blue shirts. Seriously, I know outfitting an entire department is costly but we don't have to do it all at once. We can do it a little at a time. Start with the new recruits. When a veteran's uniform needs to be replaced due to wear or weight gain, change it out with the new threads. Surely that would help the cost issue a little.

There is no doubt that the current uniform pants wear like iron and can take a beating. Unfortunately they actually do wear like iron! They are not meant for sitting. In a cruiser or behind a desk, they feel like a medieval torture device. They ride up, they bind, they are itchy. And, after all these years I still cannot decide what size I wear. If I get them a little big, they wind up looking like clown pants. If I get them a little smaller they look like I had to pry myself into them. Unlike Mark Fluitt, I do not have the body of an Abercrombie and Fitch model. Few of us do. I'd like a little room in my pants, without looking like I should be entertaining the crowd at a bull riding event. And by the way, this is Nebraska. It gets a touch warm in the summer. Ah, there's nothing like the feel of sweat rolling down the inside of your thigh while working a fender bender.

The shirts are a bit more comfortable but only a shade. And speaking of shade, I am pretty sure the french blue needs an overhaul. I kind of like the darker shirts. Helps to eliminate the underarm stain problem following the above described accident investigation. Of course the darker color attracts the heat, but with today's fabrics, I bet there is an answer out there. Maybe an officer in Florida or Texas or California could provide some input. I hear it gets a little warm in those areas as well.

I am well aware that the Chief does not want the BDU pants and paramilitary style uniforms that some have suggested. At this point I think there are a variety of uniform options out there and we should be able to come up with something that is comfortable, yet has the professional look the Chief is after.

This is a job in which one minute you could be running through alleys, up & down stairs, over fences; and the next minute you are expected to sit in on a neighborhood meeting or testify in court. We need uniforms that match that diversity in comfort, style, and price. We need a change.

If only I was the King.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

We need a different hat too.

podunk said...

Why not tear-away leather pants and a standard-issue boombox playing "everybody dance now"?

Anonymous said...

The uniforms are important. I would give up my yearly cleaning allowance for three years to pay for the new uniforms. $360x300 officers=$108,000 x 3 years= $324,000. Done. Don't forget about the follow up. Get rid of the frivilous stuff, be honest with the citizen. "No mam, nothing further will be done with your case. We have neither the time or the personnel." All complaints would have to be in person at the station. None of this anonymous crap or the officer did not smile when he introduced himself (or her). If it means so much to you to jam up the officer come on by so we can gauge your integrity eye to eye. If you are caught in a lie (as often happens) you will be arrested no exceptions. There you go. Oh and the "you need to save gas" and then the "you are not putting enough miles on your car" emails should stop. Thanks Atticus. Make it so.

Anonymous said...

Question--Atticus Finch or Titus Pomponius Atticus?

Anonymous said...

Atticus, is that you?

Anonymous said...

I knew it...I just knew it....and inside "mole" has taken over the reins for Chief Tom. Now the questions is...at what level is he..officer?? Sergeant?? Captain??? (say it isn't so). All I can say it must be a street "officer" seeing as how it takes so LONG for a post to be made...MDT keeps spitting my post back to me.

Anonymous said...

My work doesn't pay for my uniforms, why should we pay for yours?

Atticus said...

5:07- I am all for a new hat but maybe we should keep looking...
9:27- Finch.
8:22- Mole? Hardly. Sorry about the delay in getting the posts but I have a life away from the computer as well.
9:01- There are some jobs where you provide your own uniform, and some where they are provided for you. By providing the uniforms, the city has some say in what we wear, and how we wear it. Needless to say, if we bought them on our own, some of us would wait until they are in shreds before forking out the money for another set. Rest assured though, I still spend money on things the city requires but does not provide, such as boots, gloves, t-shirts, etc.

Anonymous said...

Leave the follow up alone 8:19. As a veteran officer, I like the challenge of actually trying to clear a crime and I work every call as though I will. It's just not about showing up and writing something down in your notebook and then speeding off to the next 'hot' call. If you want that type of police work - head down the street to Omaha. Hopefully police shorts for all are in Atticus' crystal ball. Remember when long sleeve shirts (with tie or dickie) were required during fall and winter? Those made for some very hot Husker games.

Atticus said...

Absolutely shorts! Then we can all be law enforcement cheetah's!

Anonymous said...

Doing away with follow-up does not mean not following up on your cases. It means that we are all adults and should be smart enough not to need a duty CO to tell us what to do next, especially when it is "continue investigation" or "attempt to locate suspect" DUH! That's treating us like little children. Sgts. would then actually have to know what is going on with the officers and if they see something not getting done take care of it. Less assignment of follow-up will also save some trees which turns out to save money which is what the current city admin is hooked on.

RINGO said...

I think the LPD uniforms look pretty sharp, and my guess is that when the temp is 100 degrees, its going to be hard to find any uniform thats really comfortable.

As far as the followup goes if all of the LPD officers were like 10:54, the Sgts wouldn't have to waste their time issueing follow-ups.

Anonymous said...

I thought BDU trousers were pretty comfortable in the desert heat. They're roomy enough to run an obstacle course, and they take abrasive contact pretty well. They've got a little adjustment in the waist if you grow an inch.

Solid color BDUs (like Navy blue) might be preferable to some old hippies that still chant "Two four six eight, Communism's really great" in their sleep, but camouflage patterns really hide dirt and stains well till the end of a shift. There are some nice blue camo patterns out there, if blue clicks better for LPD. I used to be around thousands of other guys in BDUs, and never felt intimidated in the least.

I also think that an MP in BDUs looks quite sharp. Float a bond issue to outfit LPD with a three sets of BDUs (including three pairs of tactical shorts in addition to the trousers), and I'll vote for it.

Zen said...

Plus, even solid color BDU's can be purchased relatively cheaply. 5.11 makes some great ones (good enough for FBI training) and some of their designs still look like slacks by not having all the exterior pockets. There isn't a Surplus store in the state that doesn't sell solid BDU or TACs. Pair it up with some breathable polos that have the pen pockets and the radio hanger built into them, and you are good to go.