The RBTA was teaching a 5 Day Reality Based Training Instructor class in a large metropolitan area that shall remain un-named during the early summer of 2015. One of the points made in the class is that Reality Based Training, in its various forms, can not only be used as a highly effective means of installing high grade programming into the minds of training participants, but could also be used as a filter at various stages throughout the academy (when such training is appropriately structured and implemented) to remove certain individuals who do not have the talent or the temperament to be law enforcement officers.
Heraclites from around 500 BC said:
Out of every one hundred in combat, ten should not be there, eighty are just targets, and nine are good fighters and we are lucky to have them, for they the battle make. Ah, but the ONE .. one is a warrior, and we must find him, for he shall bring all of the others home.
The ratios still hold true today, both in military and law enforcement circles. Roughly ten percent of those in uniform should not even be there. During this particular class, several of the participants were from their local academy. And they lamented that they were not allowed to fire anybody. They had identified nine or ten that never should have been hired. Yet as bad as some of the recruits were, it had been handed down from on high inside their organization that “all will pass – we hired 100, and 100 will leave here for the streets of ********.” A recent article lends credence to this assertion. Click the link below to read that story.
If this is actually occurring, this is horrifying. And it should be horrifying to all right minded individuals on either side of the badge because those who “shouldn’t be there” are being forced onto the streets by bad hiring and retention practices. Standards are lowered to accommodate them.
There was a story in the newspaper today describing how New York State is looking to reduce or eliminate the literacy tests for potential teachers. The LITERACY TESTS. Because many candidates cannot pass them. New York is saying that many teaching candidates are ILLITERATE. So the response is to eliminate the test that would otherwise exclude them. It is difficult to know which is worse … illiterate teachers educating the youth of America, or unqualified police officers being released to patrol the streets of an ever more violent America.
And there are many, for various inappropriate reasons, who are untouchable by any rational filtering system. They are given a badge or a beret, and they are sent out ill prepared to deal with the forces of evil. They are ticking time bombs that can go off at any moment. Such hiring and retention practices can, and have, led to situations that can ignite a city and literally burn it to the ground. That is, if those incompetent officers even show up for the fight.
Today’s track back article links to a story out today that talks of a Chicago officer who had been fired from the academy in 2007, yet mounted a legal challenge over the past ten years to fight the Chicago Police Department demanding reinstatement.
It must be said that absent the facts of this particular situation being known as to whether or not the firing was an act of malice on the part of the academy staff or whether the officer in question should have been rightfully terminated, nobody should jump to the conclusion on one side of the issue or the other. This article simply highlights the reality that in the current climate of anti-police rhetoric, the legal system has the wherewithal to potentially put someone onto the streets who never should be there – one of the ten. So the agencies are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. And society picks up the tab either way.
It is hoped for the sake and safety of the citizens of Chicago that a mistake was made on the part of the academy in firing the person who is the focus of the attached article. If it bears out that the officer was fired maliciously then there is a chance that this individual will hit the streets and prove out. Obviously perseverance is not an issue. They fought for ten long years for the chance to do it all over again within an organization that told them to get lost.
But If it was a malicious dismissal, this brings up a whole different set of issues for the embattled Chicago Police Department. Dismissal due to malice or personal enmity on the part of the training staff has indeed played a factor within a number of police or military organizations. Such dismissals are unacceptable and can at times remove solid candidates from policing or specialized military units for no good reason. And in such instances it is good that the courts step in. Although it is difficult imagining going back into an academy setting within an organization where an individual has effectively forced their way back in … eggshells anyone?
If, however, in the case of this officer the system was correct, and now Chicago Police are being forced into the position (yet again) that none shall fail, then it may only be a matter of time before the costs are known. The actions on the street of this particular person will certainly be monitored by an organization looking to say “I told you so” in the event problems occur. One thing for certain, the costs of putting a person in uniform who shouldn’t be there will vastly, vastly outweigh the cost of fighting to keep them out.
So, in this instance, time will tell.
When it comes to the question of the question of negligent retention, too many organizations either are missing a Department of Common Sense or they are painted into a terrible corner by pressures from above. Right minded people can be forced to allow substandard individuals into a police organization. When that happens, it puts society in danger in unimaginable ways, and if the general public were truly aware of those dangers they would lose their collective minds even more than they have been lately.
There is no right way to do the wrong thing. And when it comes to policing, it should never be quantity over quality. Standards should never be lowered and administrators who lack the courage to stand up to those who demand either lowering the standard or the retention of substandard recruits should be removed from their positions of trust.
On the other side of the equation, those who staffing any academy, and who are in charge of the training of recruits, should equally be held accountable for any malicious actions that are found to have damaged or removed an otherwise viable candidate. We must hold our trainers and training methodologies to a high standard. We must strive ensure that the training methodologies and training staff are of the highest caliber and that they are using up to date tools and techniques that utilize advances in brain science in how to optimize learning strategies to deal with the difficulties facing society. We must eliminate unseemly and outdated training practices, especially those that may disqualify promising prospects. Malice should never enter into the decision to fire a recruit.
Negligent hiring, negligent retention and negligent dismissal should have no place in todays policing. Society deserves better. And its patience has worn thin. Hopefully this particular instance will have a happy ending. But either way, it raises some interesting questions.
To read the article on the Police Magazine website, please visit the link below.