To coach or not to coach
By: Officer Jason Lobaugh - Central Precinct
In case you don't know who Joe Luiz is, he is one of the hardest working officers I know. I remember sitting in Old Town Precinct (Doing paperwork I'm sure) while Joe's partner that day was doing some paperwork from a stop that they had done. Joe was pacing back and forth, waiting for his partner to be done. Joe couldn't wait to get back into Old Town. Joe always knew who was dealing, and who was looking. That's the kind of officer he is.
Joe was also a coach and what a great coach to have (Just ask one of his trainees). A coach who was not only knowledgeable, but a hard worker too. A new trainees dream. There aren't many of those coaches left. Joe would tell you that he works hard mainly for the money but I believe it was more than that. It is a certain pride that some officers have. I know because I used to have it.
One day Joe gets a letter from the Training Division decertifying him as a coach. Apparently Joe had not done some of the daily observation reports (D.O.R.s) requested for some trainees. This letter came with no warnings beforehand. The letter also told Joe that if he wished to plead his case he could meet with the Training Division to address the decertification. I also know of some other very fine officers that received similar if not the same letters decertifying them.
Joe decided to take the opportunity and go talk to the Training Division. Now before I go on, it is important for me to say that I genuinely like and respect everyone involved. This is more about how things seem to go awry in this bureau without anyone ever saying " Gee that doesn't seem right". The obvious question is what's more important to the bureau? That every D.O.R. get done or that the coach is out there showing the trainee how to do police work.
The bureau seems to be on some type of micromanaging trend. I'll admit that some things should be tightened up. However there is a fine line between managing and treating your employees like kids. Also in question is, if management is going to make a change then how do you make it without leaving a hard working employee feeling betrayed?
Well Joe did decide to meet with the Training Division. Joe told me that he let the Training Division know exactly what he thought. He said there was no swearing (Especially with the new G.O. That's an entirely separate article) but was blunt and firm. Come to find out someone had a problem with Joe standing up for all his years of hard work. Consequently the decertification stood.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know how Joe felt when he originally got the letter. Probably angry and frustrated among other things. By the way I want to say something about anger. We deal with the lowest of the low out there. Sometimes officers get angry. As much as some idiots want to say we are dealing with "Customers" we do not work at Nordstrom's. We do not fold pants in our spare time. As long as the anger is controlled it is not a bad thing. This is for all you liberal knuckleheads looking for police misconduct around every corner. Just go back to smoking your weed, eat some ho-ho's and stay out of our way.
Now as cop's we know there is always two sides to every story. The Training Division probably feels they are doing the right thing. I imagine that their argument is that they want the D.O.R.s done so they can properly evaluate the trainees. I think everyone understands that. However, isn't there some middle ground that the coaches and the Training Division could have agreed to? Was Joe warned before they decertified him? Were other coach's reinstated? Why not Joe?
Too bad there is no test to see the harm done to the bureau by losing one good coach. It is what it is. We are just that much less of a good police bureau.
Oh, and your gonna love this. One of the reasons given for decertifying Joe was that he was on "The early warning system" and had a recent letter of reprimand (Again this topic could be another article unto itself). This just furthers my theory that if you work hard for this bureau your gonna get spanked. Now Joe was going through some personal issues at the time. Someone close to him was very sick. Maybe on paper the personal issue, the lack of D.O.R.s and the reprimand the Training Division felt Joe was a ticking time bomb ready to go. I disagree and what bothers me and should bother you is how it all came down.
July 2004 - Vol 35 No. 7