I said I would give it at least 6 months from the time I retired from the Scottsdale Police Department before I was super critical of the organization. I retired after just over 20 years there. I liked my last position as a Computer Crimes Detective and Forensic Computer Examiner. I liked my boss and I liked every guy in my unit. But I started looking for a computer forensics job in the private sector the day I was eligible to retire because I was very tired of the general treatment of line level employees within the organization.
It starts with the Chief, Alan Rodbell, and had permeated down the command structure. The most overt example was standing in one of Rodbell’s annual “talk with the Chief” meetings and hear him say that “everybody is replaceable” and that you “have to earn your job everyday.” Notions that I don’t totally disagree with. You just don’t need to remind your employees every chance you get about how “replaceable” they are. Try telling your spouse, “you are replaceable”. See how that goes for you.
The bigger issue with this idea is how it has tangible effects on the organization. Often, you have a senior detective, SWAT operator of officer working in a specialty unit that gets removed because of a single incident or, more common, a personality conflict with someone i the chain-of-command. So, you take an employee that has had thousands of dollars spent to train them in their special area and is efficient at their job after years of doing it, that gets removed at a whim.
It’s even more egregious when more and more employees are being moved around, demoted and/or taken out of specialty positions due to personality conflicts with their bosses or someone in the chain-of-command that they might have little contact with.
Let’s use my 2013 example. I was told by Sgt. Carrie Candler that my behavior and performance on a call-out had been noticed and formal complaints had been made against me. I found her claims suspicious. One, she was not at the incident. Two, the supervisor that was controlling the scene pulled me aside the next day and gave me an “atta boy” for everything I did that night. I think his actual report to my supervisor was that I went “above and beyond”, which included him having to talk me into giving up what I was doing for the night to go home.
The whole incident quickly escalated to the point that my boss’s boss, Lt. Buckler, ordered my boss to launch an Internal Affairs investigation on my for my conduct that night. My boss refused, telling Buckler that he had looked into the claims of Chandler, not only thought they were unstained, but thought she might be lying. The request to start an investigation on me continued. I then asked for a meeting with all parties involved.
During this hour long “meeting”, I tried to gain clarification about what behavior I had exhibited that constituted an IA investigation. Candler could not give me a concrete example. All she said, repeatedly was, “several people complained about you that night to me.” I asked for names. She refused to tell me.
Later, I pulled the dispatch records to find all of the SPD personnel that were on the call. There were about 7. I asked if they had complained to anyone about my behavior that night. They all said no and were confused why I was asking. I had them all provide emails to me stating they did not speak to Candler, at all, after this call-out, about me or anything. I presented this to my supervisor and his boss, the one that ordered the IA investigation. Any talk about the IA went away.
Two weeks later Candler started her own IA investigation on me for an unrelated action. Buckler told me boss to investigate it. He did and exonerated me. He was ordered to change his finding. He fought it but finally gave in. My punishment was “verbal counseling”.