FAIRBANKS — Mayor John Eberhart says people are leaving their jobs at the city of Fairbanks because employee health care costs are too high and salaries are too low, but
Rob Duke's insight:
ok, so I was a City Manager for 11 years, so take my comments with that in mind: The strong mayor form of government has two faults: 1. you tend to get micro-managing of some form; and 2. you tend to get a complete change of direction every time the mayor changes.
Now #2 can also be a benefit if broad change is needed; however, generally that's not needed in all but the biggest cities: L.A., Chicago--maybe even an Anchorage sized city are probably better served by a strong mayor because a city manager would be blown by too many winds to set a stable course. However, Fairbanks (not to mention the FNSB, which is similar) is too small for a strong mayor and would be better served by a Council-Manager form of government.
What is this and why does it matter to policing? I'm glad you asked. Under this form of government, the Mayor is just first among equals in terms of the rest of the Council. Together they set policy, vision/direction, and budget, but all implementation is handled by the City Manager. The Council goes through the manager to make all inquiries and NEVER directs staff in any way. This is good for police because it limits political interference; and this means that the agency's business is apolitical (as much as it ever can be) and the staff is protected from having 5-7 different council member opinions of what they should be doing (and how they should be doing it). In addition, Mayors may come and go, but staff has a leader who usually stays for several mayoral administrations (and Chiefs of Police will hopefully stay their entire careers--in most cases that continuity is a good thing). City Managers have contracts that usually stipulate a term of service, severance pay if the council becomes unhappy, and protections against knee-jerk actions, such as firing during or just after elections. I had a contract (and the city code also had this language) which said they couldn't fire me 6 months before or after an election, that they had to have a super-majority (4 out 5 Council members had to vote me out); and, a hefty severance package (usually base of 6 months with additional months as your experience in the city built up). All bets were off if I committed malfeasance in which case they could have rightly fired me.
Despite my protective contract, I always knew that my term of service could expire at the next Council meeting and I was attentive to the needs of the Council, but I also took seriously that I worked for everyone in the City and that meant that I owed each Council member equal attention. That's not easy to balance, but professional managers bring with them excellent technical skills in administration, management, finance, accounting, public policy, human resources, and also the nitty gritty of helping Council forge a vision, a master plan, and then complete the work so that plans become reality (some Mayors might have these skills, but most do not, and that's one of the biggest advantages of having the Council-Manager form of government).
Let's assume you're buying what I'm selling. If so, what to do?
The International City/County Managers Association has about 100 years experience with helping cities set up a City Manager position. This includes amending city charters or enacting model ordinances. The ordinances could be adopted in the next 6 months and, at the same time, the city could do a nationwide search for a manager who has experience setting up the Council-Manager form of government.
I think in 10 years, you'd see a whole new City of Fairbanks with a City Manager bringing consensus and sustained attention on the values and projects that are truly a product of consensus.
KSHB reports social media threat against police and firefighters is making the rounds in the metro area.
The post calls on the Crips and Bloods gangs to shed some blood.
Word of the non-specific threat came after KCK Police Captain Dave Melton’s murder Tuesday and at a time when fatal shootings of police officers are a national concern.
On Thursday, both the KCMO and KCK Fire Departments received notice of this threat along with other area fire departments in the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council. That organization’s headquarters are in Olathe.
The threat reads in part, “As you fight, remember that the fireman and the police are on the same side. Don’t be fooled!”
“We are calling on the gangs across the nation! Attack everything in blue except the mailman, unless he is carrying more than mail!”
“It’s time for the Crips and Blood to shed some blood.”
POLICE credit cards have been inappropriately used to pay for breakfasts, morning teas, dinners, office furniture — and even parking fines.
Rob Duke's insight:
Yeah, there's a fine line to walk here. One the one hand, your men and women have to eat and like Napoleon observed: "An army marches on its stomach"....So, I strongly believe that it's the agencies responsibility to feed officers who are tied to a duty assignment (e.g. homicide, parade, etc.). Having said that, if you use that card on things like food or restaurants, be prepared to defend the use because it's too easy to paint that use as "personal use". I much prefer to pay out of pocket and submit receipts for anything you think might be "borderline".
Five Dallas police officers killed, three Baton Rouge police officers killed, two bailiffs killed in a courthouse, a Milwaukee officer shot several times while sitting in a patrol car, numerous other officers wounded in these shootings; and countless other officers attacked and injured on a nightly basis in incidents not deemed “newsworthy.” And these are just the events of the past week.
Some recent shootings of black men indeed seemed avoidable, according to some members of a panel of experts assembled by The Washington Post to analyze the shootings captured on video. One common mistake, the panel said: Police failed to employ standard tactics intended to de-escalate the encounters and take suspects safely into custody.
However, the experts also identified instances in which the officers were potentially seconds away from injury, although they may have appeared safe to the untrained eye. Understanding these nuances, the experts said, could help guide society to appropriate reforms and improve relations between police and the communities they serve.
"Sometimes everything you need to know is in the video, like the incident in South Carolina last year, where the officer shot [Walter Scott] in the back," said David Klinger, a criminologist with the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
"That was heinous. But a lot of times, there is a backstory we don't know about. And the public doesn't have the training that an officer has. There are cues and aspects to the encounter [the public] may have missed, even if there is a video."
For years, police investigators, the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service desperately worked to find the stolen money and the evidence needed to charge Archie Cabello and his family. But it wasn’t until Vincent Cabello came forward to police that authorities finally got their break.
"We are currently in the process of reviewing the Commission’s findings and will respond accordingly," the statement reads. "The corrective action ordered by the Commission is an alleged attempt to remedy a lack of due process afforded to candidates. The Commission's issuance of this Order without affording the Department an opportunity to respond and address the entirety of the information obtained and relied upon by the Commission deprived the Department of its due process in this matter. It is unfortunate that the organization charged with guarding against political considerations, favoritism and bias in governmental employment decisions showed obvious bias towards the Boston Police department at today’s hearing."
Rob Duke's insight:
Departments often attract the same type of recruits that the department employs already. Thus, it can difficult to change the dynamics and demographics. I think that is the issue brought out by the CSC. Some recruits should be cops (see the Raphael Perez case in LAPD's history where they looked the other way with a candidate's gang history and that later resulted in a major scandal for the department), but departments make a mistake when they are over-broad in the standards they enforce.
The White House will revisit a 2015 ban on police forces getting riot gear, armored vehicles and other military-grade equipment from the U.S. armed forces, two police organization directors told Reuters on Thursday.
Build: Courage and Patience These days, many companies are able to get through the launch phase with an exponential mindset. They manage their uncertainty, take the leap, and start the journey despite being unable to see around the bend. Fear of disruption and envy of unicorns can be a powerful motivator. But then something happens. Or more precisely, something doesn’t happen.
Take a look at the chart above. In the first part of the build phase, you don’t see a lot of change. It’s not until the second part when the line starts to bend. It’s simply the nature of exponential change. Things happen very slowly before they happen very quickly. If this was the only world we knew, it wouldn’t be a problem. But we were raised with an incremental mindset. So we can’t help but compare the exponential path to the incremental path. And this creates a problem.
We are accustomed to measuring progress linearly and incrementally. If 30% of the time has gone by, we assume that we should be 30% of the way there. That’s how things work in the physical world when we are traveling to a destination. But exponential models don’t work that way.
What happens is that businesses run into something I call the “expectation gap,” where the exponential strategy is at greatest risk from the incremental mindset. It’s where many companies abandon the exponential model for the incremental.
I see this consistently on a micro scale in my own work. My workshops are designed with an exponential mindset to generate new ways of thinking about marketing, culture and strategy. Somewhere around a third of the way into a workshop, the leader invariably says something like “so when are we going to get something done?” The reason is that they are still operating with an incremental mindset. A third of the time has passed, but it seems like they are only 10% of the way to our destination. In fact, most of the progress happens once the curve starts to bend. Invariably by the end of the day the same people are remarking that they can’t believe how much we got done in such a short period of time.
In your exponential journey, pay attention to when people get the most impatient for results. It’s the point in the chart where there is the largest gap between incremental and exponential paths. This expectation gap is a risk to the business strategy because the impatience can be used by opponents or skeptics to convince stakeholders to jump from the exponential to the incremental. You will have the immediate relief of having “line of sight” once again and see steady progress. But you will also have given up the possibility of accelerating returns and the opportunity to keep up with customers and competitors. The exponential mindset helps you have the courage to persevere and the patience to see it through.
Grow: Agility and Control In the third phase, you have managed the uncertainty of the early days, the impatience of the middle phase, and now you are firmly “in the curve.” Growth is happening faster than you can handle. At this point, the incremental mindset is to try to rein things in and get things under control. But that would be a mistake. To sustain the accelerating returns, you need to shift your mindset about how to mobilize and manage resources.
The incremental mindset assumes that it takes more inputs to produce more outputs. So as growth starts to accelerate, teams start to look for more resources in proportion to the growth. But the addition of too many people or too many resources can “flood the engine” of growth. You need an exponential mindset to figure out how 1X additional input can create 10X additional output.
You also need to apply an exponential mindset to how you manage the resources you have. The incremental mindset about management is like creating a line of dominos. Everything needs to be highly coordinated with active oversight to make progress one step at a time. The exponential mindset is like this demonstration with ping pong balls in which things happen in parallel with a focus on the interactions among participants.
As I’ve written about separately, there is a way to let go without losing control. In the exponential mindset, managers replace control of people with control of principles. The use of doctrine to guide decision-making generates alignment, consistency and empowerment. But most leaders are accustomed to making decisions rather than empowering decisions. The anxiety from a loss of control can easily push companies off the exponential path back onto the incremental path. The exponential mindset helps to grow output faster than input, and empower teams to achieve both alignment and autonomy.
To summarize, digital business models require a shift from incremental to exponential. At the start, it takes vision and a leap of faith to commit to the unknown. In the early days, it takes courage and patience to build the foundation for growth even when results aren’t yet apparent. When growth kicks in, agility comes from empowering others and letting go without losing control. In all of the stages, the challenge is to “unlearn” familiar ways of thinking and embrace the unfamiliar. But with a shift from the incremental to exponential mindset comes the opportunity for real innovation.
Rob Duke's insight:
This idea of the Exponential Mindset is just in time for the type of change we need within law enforcement. Instead of thinking about the way the mission has been accomplished in the last 100 years, we need to take some risks. For one, we need to examine the underpinnings of professionalism. When Woodrow Wilson arrived at the Politics-Administration Dichotomy, we were trying to find a remedy for political influence of law enforcement (and government). Because of this, we set up barriers where the police outside influence. Even Community Policing, which is supposedly built on community input, reserves most major decisions for the police administrators, which nearly always produces incremental change. Egon Bittner has gone so far to suggest that the velvet glove of community policing merely hides the "iron fist" of policing. I think he's right. If we change our foundational beliefs (about professional policing being insulated from outside control), with an ethical model, I think we'd see these type of exponential returns on investment.
What does that mean? We now rely on professionalism and discretion to find what we find to be reasonable in most cases under the rule of law. I know you're thinking that that seems like a pretty good model, but the problem is that it creates a mindset where I can choose to enforce the law and I choose which laws to enforce. There's a certain pragmatism in that it is the cops who are enforcing the law at 2 A.M., so they are the practical "deciders". Which, frankly, is all the entire Justice system does is decide....I heard a judge last month tell a class this stark reality. She said: "we don't find the truth and we don't deliver justice. We're deciders. We have a set of rules for sorting through all kinds of information and then we decide based upon what's left." (my paraphrasing). At least the courts have rules so that they can defend their decisions, but the police are more "seat of the pants", which looks capricious and sometimes malicious. It also contributes, as I said, to real and imagined cases of abuse and corruption. Sometimes that corruption is for a noble-cause (in our minds) to correct the injustices that we think arise within the legal system, but the community doesn't always see these the same way as the police.
So, when I advocate Exponential Thinking what do I mean? First, we need to build on an ethical model that searches for reasonableness and human dignity (see my mentor, Chet Newland for more on that); but not willy-nilly without rules. That's why I put Nas, Price, and Weber in the readings. I think they've hit on a brilliant set of standards for determining when to set aside rules/law/policy. 1. when this case would result in clear injustice for this individual; 2. when, as a whole, a group has little understanding for, or a lack of access to the levers of powers and thus cannot defend their position or assert their interests in the legal/political arena (clearly this is only for the Mala Prohibita laws that we pass to uphold dominant norms not the Mala Per Se laws, which themselves are built on the universal laws, such as "thou shalt not kill").; and/or, 3. When community norms have moved more quickly than have laws.
This ethical stance now opens both the micro discretion to more flexibility; but also means that we have the ability to respond to more direct community control with our own set of foundational principles that limit the extent to which a corrupt element might attempt to hijack the justice system for its own purposes.
With this foundation in place, now we can adopt the soft power principles outlined in the readings by Joseph Nye.
Change ethics to allow discretion under conditions when we can make findings that individual, group, or systemic injustice has been improved in some fashion by not enforcing the law. This allows us to build community capacity so that the community truly controls its police. What this captures is that hidden social energy that now is largely used to resist (or at least question) police activities.....And, that's where the Exponential returns/improvements will be realized.
From the Volusia County Sheriffs Department: The two adults involved in today’s domestic violence-related shooting are as follows: Victim: Victoria Rosado, age 26 Defendant: Emmanuel Rosado, age 26 (DOB: 6/4/90) Based on statements from the victim as well as one of the children who witnessed the shooting, the investigation has concluded that the defendant shot his wife …
Rob Duke's insight:
Chances are that whichever direction the cops are running, it's good advice to run the opposite way....These officers run into the maw of the beast to rescue the mom and 3 kids.
A new FRONTLINE documentary casts a shadow of doubt on whether or not the Newark Police Department will be able to truly reform in accordance with a federal mandate to do so.
But, the city's top cop says the questions highlighted in the film got it all wrong.
"We already are," Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said of when the force will change to address issues brought up in the documentary.
In a one-on-one interview with NJ Advance Media, Ambrose said the questions highlighted by the documentary, "Policing the Police," which debuted on PBS last month, are already being addressed. And, although he acknowledged that changes -- which were initiated by a U.S. Department of Justice report condemning police behavior -- are still in the midst of happening, he echoed Mayor Ras Baraka's comments that PBS missed the mark.
"The show gave no justice to what we are doing," Ambrose said.
The department review found about half of the 80 cars in the Southeast division—which includes Watts and the Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens housing projects—were missing the antennas that help capture what officers say in the field. The review discovered at least 10 more cars in nearby divisions also had antennas removed. Members of the Police Commission, which oversees the department, said they were alarmed by both the actions of the officers and the failure of the department to reveal their actions when they were first detected. “On an issue like this, we need to be brought in right away,” commission President Steve Soboroff told the Los Angeles Times. “This equipment is for the protection of the public and of the officers. To have people who don’t like the rules to take it upon themselves to do something like this is very troubling.” But LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the department did not purposely try to hide the matter from the commission and pointed out that he has always been a strong advocate of the recording devices. LAPD officials decided it would be futile to try to figure out which officers were responsible for removing the antennas, since so many of them use the cars during their shifts. Instead the department warned officers about removing the antennas and put checks in place to account for the equipment at the start and end of each patrol shift.
Some departments are becoming better at dealing with explosive situations. Even smaller outfits, like Florida’s Palm Beach Gardens force, with just 100 officers, are spending money to improve the way police go about their jobs. A 10,000-square-foot tactical training centre, opening in the autumn, will teach officers to use words, not force, to defuse dangerous moments. In a classic example of the method, in November a man brandishing a knife in Camden, New Jersey was arrested without incident. Police followed him at a distance, encouraging him to drop the knife.
Camden was once one of America’s most dangerous cities. Crime there has reached record lows—homicides fell by 52% between 2012 and 2015—largely because of community policing. Handcuffs and firearms are now considered tools of last resort. As Camden’s police chief remarked not long ago, “Nothing builds trust like human contact.”
A George Washington University law professor has filed disbarment charges against Marilyn Mosby for her corrupt prosecution of six Baltimore cops in the death of career criminal, Freddie Gray. There have now been 3 trials and Mosby hasn’t come close to winning one yet and has even been excoriated for withholding exculpatory evidence. The list of charges against Mosby are as follows: that she did not have probable cause to believe that there was sufficient admissible evidence to support a conviction of the officers; that she made public statements regarding the case which were false; that she improperly withheld evidence from the defense that was exculpatory; that she continued to prosecute cases after the judge assigned to hear the cases found insufficient evidence to support a conviction; that she engaged in conduct that was dishonest, fraudulent, deceitful and which misrepresented the facts in the case. The complaint filed with the Maryland Bar Counsel calls Mosby “a runaway prosecutor” and alleges she violated ethics rules, claiming she never had probable cause to charge six officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
Rob Duke's insight:
The last time I remember a prosecutor being disbarred was in the Duke Lacrosse case (Mike Nifong).
Late in his career Selye came to distinguish between “eustress”, or the good stress caused by positive experiences, such as falling in love, and distress, the bad sort. Other scientists extended the original physics metaphor: just as many materials can withstand stress until a certain point, it was thought that humans could cope with stress if it did not become too severe. Indeed, the idea took hold that moderate stress might be a good thing. In 1979 Peter Nixon, a consultant at Charing Cross Hospital in London, described a “human function curve”: a moderate amount of stress, such as a deadline or race, was now understood as not just harmless, but beneficial. But above a certain threshold humans, like metal bars, would break.
Now a new body of research is challenging that notion. Some scientists posit that what matters is not just the level of stress, or even its type, but how it is thought about. The same stress, perceived differently, can trigger different physical responses, with differing consequences in turn for both performance and health.
Recognising that stress can be beneficial seems to help in two main ways. People who have a more positive view of stress are more likely to behave in a constructive way: a study by Alia Crum of Stanford University’s Mind and Body Lab and others found that students who believed stress enhances performance were more likely to ask for detailed feedback after an uncomfortable public-speaking exercise. And seeing stressors as challenges rather than threats invites physiological responses that improve thinking and cause less physical wear and tear.
Humans can respond to stress in several different ways. The best-known is the “fight or flight” response, which evolved as a response to sudden danger. The heart rate increases; the veins constrict to limit the bleeding that might follow a brawl and send more blood to the muscles; and the brain focuses on the big picture, with details blurred.
In less extreme situations, the body and brain should react somewhat differently. When people perceive they are being challenged rather than threatened, the heart still beats faster and adrenalin still surges, but the brain is sharper and the body releases a different mix of stress hormones, which aid in recovery and learning. The blood vessels remain more open and the immune system reacts differently, too. Sometimes, though, the wrong response is triggered, and people sitting exams, giving a speech or pitching a business plan react as if to a sudden threat, with negative consequences for both their performance and their long-term health.
Ms Crum believes that attitudes and beliefs shape the physical response to stress. In 2013 she subjected student volunteers to fake job interviews. Beforehand, they were shown one of two videos. The first extolled the way stress can improve performance and forge social connections; the second emphasised its dangers. In the fake interviews, the participants were subjected to biting criticism. When Ms Crum took saliva samples at the end of the study, she found that those who watched the upbeat video had released more DHEA, a hormone associated with brain growth.
In an earlier study Ms Crum and Shawn Achor, the author of “The Happiness Advantage”, visited UBS, an investment bank, at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. They split around 400 bankers into three groups. The first watched a video that reinforced notions of stress as toxic, the second watched one highlighting that stress could enhance performance and the third watched no clip at all. A week later the second group reported greater focus, higher engagement and fewer health problems than before; the other two groups reported no changes.
Other scientists have shown that recognising the benefits of stress can cause measurable improvements in performance. In one experiment Jeremy Jamieson, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester, gathered college students preparing for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), an entrance test for postgraduate courses. He collected saliva from each of the students to measure their baseline stress response and divided them into two groups. One group was told that stress during practice exams was natural and can boost performance; the other got no such pep talk. The students who received the mindset intervention went on to score higher on a GRE practice test than those who did not. When Mr Jamieson collected their saliva after the exam, it suggested his intervention had not soothed their nerves: they were at least as stressed as those in the control group. A few months later the students reported their scores on the real GRE exam: those who had been taught to see stress as positive still scored better.
“Google images of stress and you’ll see a guy with his head on fire. We’ve internalised that idea,” says Mr Achor. He instead compares stress to going to the gym. You only get stronger if you push yourself beyond what feels easy, but afterwards you need to recover. The analogy suggests that stress at work may be performance-enhancing, but should be followed by rest, whether that means not checking e-mails on weekends, taking more holiday or going for a stroll in the middle of the day.
The well-tempered mind Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist at Stanford University and the author of “The Upside of Stress”, helps people rethink stress by telling them that it is what we feel when something we care about is at stake. She asks them to make two lists: of things that stress them; and of things that matter to them. “People realise that if they eliminated all stress their lives would not have much meaning,” she says. “We need to give up the fantasy that you can have everything you want without stress.”
By changing how their bodies process stress and how they behave, such reframing may help people live healthier lives. In 2012 a group of scientists in America looked back at the 1998 National Health Interview Survey, which included questions about how much stress the 30,000 participants had experienced in the previous year, and whether they believed stress harmed their health. Next, they pored over mortality records to find out which respondents had died. They found that those who both reported high stress and believed it was harming their health had a 43% higher risk of premature death. Those who reported high stress but did not believe it was hurting them were less likely to die early than those who reported little stress.
The study shows correlation, not causation. But since much stress is unavoidable, working out how to harness it may be wiser than fruitless attempts to banish it.
Rob Duke's insight:
This article has a good message for those in the justice field. We stress about what we care about and life wouldn't have much meaning if we eliminated all stress. As Xenophon said back in the 4th century b.c. "It's better to live 1 day as a lion than 100 years as a lamb".
DOVER — Prosecutors and defense lawyers are evaluating how the use of police body cameras will impact the state’s criminal justice system. Delaware State Police are now in a pilot program to test the technology and seven police departments now wear cameras — Smyrna, Ocean View, Middletown, New Castle County, Bethany Beach, Delaware State University …
Black Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to be killed by police officers.1 Researchers agree that racism almost certainly plays a role in that disparity. But “racism” is too broad an explanation to reveal much about the more immediate causes or to point to a way to reduce police killings of black people like the recent ones in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Researchers who have studied the issue say that racism manifests itself in different ways, requiring a range of solutions. If the disparity arises because bias among police officers makes them more likely to fire guns at black people than at white people who pose equal threats, for example, then the answer could lie in hiring, training and firing: test recruits for bias, train officers to not exercise bias and fire officers who demonstrate bias.
Rob Duke's insight:
Nate Silver and the folks at 538 make a big deal about using Bayesian statistics because it introduces some of the intuitiveness of the human brain and the way humans can quite quickly estimate the likeliness that something will happen based upon their previous experience. It's ironic that they can't recognize that wisdom in policing. While it may be that cops are trained to be too pessimistic (even paranoid), it's also true (at least in my career) that a lot of people are willing to hurt you if you let your guard down. We train officers not to let their guard down; and, out of millions of citizen contacts, it ends up that only .0003% end in a shooting--most, incidentally, that are found to be within the law--in other words, most shootings are justified.
Having said that, the law can shift if we don't work very hard to make sure that our shootings are justified. Mark my words if the law shifts in favor of the "bad guys", as public opinion has done in the past year, then more cops will die and that will have it's own political impact (we're starting to see some of that now having lost 9 cops in two weeks).
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