It's been happening all too frequently. One of my officers makes an appointment with my administrative assistant. I get to the meeting and the officer sitting across from me looks decidedly uncomfortable. After exchanging pleasantries and getting up-to-date on family and personal dynamics, the issue at hand is ultimately reached; the officer is resigning.
The range of those leaving has been from those on probation (i.e., less than 18 months of service) and beyond. When asked to expound upon their decision making process, the general themes provided from the departing officer are: they are grateful for having had the experience to work at a progressive department like the MPD, they acclaim the training received, they appreciate the collegiality of their peers, and cite the laudable ambitions of people who are working tirelessly to achieve "BPR" (our term for "best possible resolutions). That said, then why are YOU making this change?
While each and every individual's story has unique elements, the common denominator through it all is the unrelenting toxicity of the incessant criticism and scapegoating of the police for society's complex issues, the narratives about police as the foils of racism, the ever litigious world that is currently feeding/settling law suits on the backs of a "business model" of bottom line efficiencies rather than fighting on principles, and the increasingly dangerous working conditions that are faced on a daily basis. (For example, just last week, a 28-year-old Chicago police officer, a husband and a father, a two year veteran of CPD, was killed in the line of duty. Our Honor Guard represented MPD at the funeral).
I have already commented on how our recruitment efforts have been sorely affected by the "climate" that is pervasively taking a toll on those who might contemplate serving as a police officer. Now, our own agency has begun to feel the impact of early departures. At MPD, where staffing levels are always the subject of much public debate, I can state unequivocally that officer morale has deteriorated as they are being asked to do more and more and can't get off when they need to have that vitally important time for respite and mental health. This is going to be a chronic discussion for years to come that far transcends the City's fiscal capacities. . .it goes to the heart of recruitment, retention, health and wellness.
When I was blessed to gather for our own family's recent Thanksgiving, I looked with love across the table at my own two adult sons; one has already found his soulmate and has a 7-month old son while the other is 27 and is head-over-heels in a committed relationship. They remind me so much of my recruit officers---filled with hope, aspirational about doing good, and committed to making a difference. My wife and I have raised our sons with unconditional love and support for whatever life's pursuit(s) that they are passionate about. But truth be told, I say a silent prayer of relief that neither son is interested in following the career path that I took. The demands and sacrifices are not borne solely by the guardian who dares to take on the mantle of service, it affects the entire circle of support from family and friends.
Each Sunday, when I go to mass, we are always being asked to say prayers for an increase in vocations to religious life, which I do. Only now---more than ever--I also pray for an increase in those responding to the "calling" of policing, for those individuals who believe in the nobility of a profession that is still grounded in the notions of justice, mercy, fundamental fairness, and service.
The information contained in my blog is derived from notes provided by MPD Officers-In-Charge (OIC) at the end of their shifts. Most narratives represent early and preliminary information that was gathered by an OIC from those in the field who were actively working cases. The OIC is sharing what they were being told, in the moment. In many instances, facts and circumstances, even the type of crime listed, can change as officers, detectives and investigators continue their work.
From 6:00 a.m. on 11/27/2018 through 6:00 a.m. on 11/28/2018, MPD received 524 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials. For purposes of clarification, the following abbreviations are short-hand for race designations: W=White, AA=African American, NA=Native American, H=Hispanic, ME=Middle Eastern, A=Asian, MR=Mixed Race, U=Unknown. MPD shifts are staggered as follows: 1st detail=7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2nd detail=12 p.m. to 8 p.m., 3rd detail=3 p.m. to 11 p.m., 4th detail=8 p.m. to 4 a.m., 5th detail=11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
To further break down the 524 calls for service for the past 24-hours this is how the calls came in per district: Central (72), East (84), Midtown (89), North (87), South (62), West (85), and Other (45). Other=these are calls for service that either do not have a sector listed or the sector is not in the City. For example, if one of our officers assists another law enforcement agency, their sector is not listed in our districts so therefore it is listed under "other".
1) CENTRAL: Retail Theft – 8:40 a.m. Officers responded to Festival Foods on E. Washington Ave for a suspect (19-year-old AAF) attempting to steal merchandise. The suspect was not on scene when officers arrived. Staff advised that the suspect was "very threatening" towards them. The suspect was located and arrested for retail theft and disorderly conduct.
2) CENTRAL: Crash with Property Damage – 11:23 a.m. Officers responded to Sutherland Court for a crash. A garbage truck hit a power line. MG&E responded. The driver did not sustain any injuries. Investigation continuing.
3) WEST: Crash/Private Property – 12:02 p.m. Officers responded to Tokay Blvd for a crash. The driver (74-year-old WM) reported that his vehicle's floor mat slipped which caused him to run over a small tree, a cement parking bump and subsequently collided into a business wall. No injuries reported. Minimal damage to vehicle/building reported. Investigation continuing.
4) MIDTOWN: Domestic Disturbance – 12:41 p.m. Officers responded to a residence regarding a disturbance. The caller advised that two males and one female were verbally arguing. Officers made contact with the female subject/victim (21-year-old AAF) who had visible injuries and had her phone damaged. The victim was not cooperative with officers. The primary aggressor/suspect (20-year-old AAM) was identified and he was arrested for domestic disorderly conduct.
5) MIDTOWN: Information/Check Person – 1:03 p.m. Officers met with a juvenile (13-year-old HF) about concerns of inappropriate pictures she had been sending to an unknown person via the internet. Investigation continuing.
6) SOUTH: Battery – 1:06 p.m. Officers responded to Turbot Drive for a report of a battery. The victim (28-year-old AAF) reported being assaulted by the sisters of her children's father (32-year-old AAF and another AAF, unknown age). The victim further explained that the suspects came to her residence where they "kicked" down the door to assault her. The 32-year-old suspect was arrested for battery and burglary. The second suspect turned herself into officers later in the day/evening. Investigation continuing.
7) NORTH: Intoxicated Driver – 2:03 p.m. Officers responded to E. Washington Ave/Zeier Rd for a report of an unconscious subject/driver behind the wheel of a vehicle. Officers made contact with the driver/suspect (28-year-old WM) and subsequently arrested him for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (first offense) and bail jumping.
8) CENTRAL: Check Person – 2:54 p.m. Officers responded to Jenifer St for a suicidal subject (28-year-old WM). The subject was contacted and conveyed to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. No legal grounds were found for an emergency detention/protective custody outcome. The suspect was arrested for domestic disorderly conduct, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.
9) NORTH: Domestic Disturbance – 3:32 p.m. Officers responded to Independence Lane for a domestic disturbance between two subjects (48-year-old WF victim and 60-year-old AAM suspect). The victim reported being threatened by her husband/suspect. The suspect was arrested for domestic disorderly conduct.
10) MIDTOWN: Domestic Disturbance – 5:07 p.m. Officers responded to a residence for a domestic disturbance between two subjects (26-year-old WF victim and 22-year-old AAM suspect). The suspect battered and strangled the victim. The suspect also prevented the victim from leaving. The suspect is at-large. Charges pending. Investigation continuing.
11) SOUTH: Domestic Disturbance – 8:22 p.m. Officers responded to Cypress Way for a domestic disturbance between two subjects (22-year-old AF victim and 22-year-old AM suspect). The victim had visible injuries. The suspect was arrested for domestic disorderly conduct and battery.
12) MIDTOWN: Check Person – 10:08 p.m. Officers were notified that a caller/subject (65-year-old WF) called to advise dispatch/officers that she planned to "take up lodge" at the Midtown Police Station for the evening. The subject was contacted. Journey Mental Health consulted. No charges substantiated at this time. Investigation continuing.
13) MIDTOWN: Disturbance – 1:46 a.m. Officers responded to a local hospital regarding a patient/suspect (28-year-old WM) who threatened staff and left the hospital. The suspect was located and detained. The suspect was resistive towards officers and spit/kicked at them. The suspect was conveyed to jail on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting and threats towards law enforcement.