Dealing with Problem Officers

Okay, so the firing squad option is overboard.

If we are not doing this, then we are doing a disservice to our officers and our communities. In a recent blog by our editor, there was a really spirited debate about cops driving drunk. I read through it, and the responses were about what I expected. Either you arrest them, or you don't. Whatever your feelings, you are entitled to them, and do whatcha gotta do. However, I will tell you a personal story here about drunks and drunk driving.

My father was a 34-year veteran of a large east coast police department with about 2,000 officers. He was a masterful stealth fighter pilot. He managed for years to keep an alcohol problem under wraps. Finally, towards the end of his career, he lost control of it and became a full blown alcoholic, complete with drunk driving accidents, missing work, and the usual litany of complaints. During the last four years of his career, his supervisors covered accidents and lost time and other incidents, but transferred him through different assignments rather than deal with the issue at hand. I am sure they did it to protect him, to be his friend or whatever.

My father died of alcoholism at age 56. He never got to see his three grandchildren, he never got to see his youngest granddaughter get married, and he really missed a lot of good things in his life. My father didn't need a friend or a silent brotherhood; he needed an effective set of supervisors and managers who would hold him accountable for his actions and get him some help. If they had done so, they might have saved his life, and that's what we all got into this field for, right? In life we learn many lessons, and one I learned through all this is that sometimes you have to do hard things to make things right. Keep that in mind when you face these issues!

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