I understand that, but these are public employee's being paid for by taxpayer dollars. I also have the highest regard for both agencies and just want to remind everyone that reads this blog that for the handful of problem officers and firefighters, there are hundreds more on the job that are outstanding public servants.
Those outstanding servants are out there today in subfreezing temperatures patrolling our streets and if called upon going into burning structures under the worst of conditions.
The one thing that will help build public trust and confidence in both agencies is how they handle their problems. To ignore the problem and pretend it isn't happening will only lead to more problems and closer scrutiny from residents and others.
Since taking over HPD, Chief Rovella has confronted problems head on from the start. I am sure he probably wasn't happy when I called him for comment yesterday on Detective Johnson and Officer Smith, but he was upfront and honest and there was no indication of any cover up or misinformation. That is why the community seems to be more involved in their relationship with HPD. They trust the guy.
The comments at Community meetings seem to be less and less about bad interactions with HPD Officers , but more often about positive stories and successful interactions with the men and women of HPD.
That is what happens when you are transparent. The community partners notice and relationships are strengthened. It is not always easy to sit back and take the punch in the gut that you know is coming, but it sure looks a lot better than being involved in a cover up or losing the public trust when the information finally comes out.
Police Officer's I have spoke with aren't happy about negative information coming out, but almost all of them end that statement by saying Chief Rovella is fair and evenhanded with discipline and they are happy that he is addressing problems and cleaning house. In the past many of these problems were well known but it was just easier to move the problems around. Vice and Narcotics to Major Crimes and then to the pistol permit area. The behavior doesn't change if the problem isn't removed, kind of like a cancer
HFD might consider following the leadership style of Chief Rovella, taking action might hurt for a bit, but it is a lot better than addressing the problem when something tragic or much larger happens because the bad behavior was allowed. It also sets the tone for the rest of the organization.
So keep in mind that we have great men and women serving us in both the Police and Fire Departments, as well as the rest of the City Departments, try not to paint them all with the same broad brush