Laid Off Police
Just the other day about 48 police officers were handed pink slips, and told they no longer had jobs. I sat there in total disgust because the department I work for has repeatedly done this type of thing to their officers and firefighters. And it really got me thinking how these officers are busting their butts, risking their lives for the citizens, while these officials can make bad decisions over and over again, only to affect the people who work under them; but not them of course. The thing is, they can mismanage money and are not held responsible. The ones who pay the price are the ones that get laid off, and of course the citizens suffer as well with less resources. While at the same time, the people who put us in this position still have their cushy jobs, and it doesn't make a shred of difference to them.
Now I'm not referring to a local government that is just in a bad situation, I'm referring to governments who repeatedly mismanage money over egos, politics, playing favorites, etc. Let me give an example without naming anyone, or any departments for obvious liability reasons:
An officer one time from a particular department was on their day off when someone hung up a racist type cartoon article in the police department's hallway. When the person believed to have done it was named (even though the officer wasn't even at work that day), the officer was immediately fired. The chief did a mock trial (to see what the possible outcome would be on the case), and apparently went to the mayor explaining that they were in a lose-lose situation, and would likely lose the lawsuit. The mayor was rumored to have said he "didn't care," and instructed the chief to fire the officer anyway. You can probably determine the outcome which was a re-instatement of the officer's job (about a year later) with full back pay, all time lost, vacation days, etc. The settlement was rumored almost a $1 million dollars.
This is just one example of egos getting involved with local government that can destroy lives. This one incident for example not only cost the city money, but it had a direct impact on future lay offs for lack of funds. What happened to the mayor or the people that made these decisions? Nothing. The tax payers paid it.
Check this out. Here's another example, small one, but still illustrates my point. A local paper boy was delivering newspapers to a city government's employees (as he did every day), and was apparently "detained" by the mayor of the city. The mayor had the police take the boy to their department and interview him, and he was later released. Well anyone knows this is pretty much a false arrest; no probable cause to believe he did anything wrong accept his job. What was the outcome? The boy apparently hired an attorney and was paid $150,000 for the inconvenience. Again at the expense of the tax payers.
The whole point is, I could go on and on about things like this that affect the people. These officials are not held personally responsible, and its up to the citizens to "read between the lines" to determine if they want to vote for the councilman again, for example. But that brings another issue which is the power of manipulating the media, and of course the people. You see when you're on the inside, you know obviously what's going on. But the people on the street don't. They see roads getting paved, and a mayor on the news "appearing" to look smart, and aren't sure what to think.
The whole point to this article is that if you're looking to become a police officer and are evaluating departments, it would be wise to consider the local government that you would be working for. In today's economy, you don't want to put yourself in a situation where its likely you would be laid off down the road. I understand you have to take what you can when you can as a police officer, but at least recognize the writings on the wall so that you can better prepare yourself for these types of situation. When all the rumors started (again) at my department, I warned officers about a year in advance, based on being through previous lay offs. Almost every officer I told to "prepared for the storm" chuckled, and didn't take it serious. They didn't want to believe it, and most would convince themselves that they had enough people under them to be ok. In fact, even after the lay offs were announced and imminent, I remember one officer a week before pink slips were to come saying "I don't think they're going to do it." Don't fool yourself. These officials care about their jobs first.
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