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  • new boss big changes

    I am not new to L.E., been around for 11 yrs. I have seen bosses come and go. recently my dept has been blessed with a boss who had OJT prior to actual being elected. Now a couple of us are faced with a "stripping" of our authority. The boss has decided to change things around and make new positions of authority for those more politically connected. I see this as being a problem for the agency and community. Some of us have attempted to approach him but we are dismissed.....We happen to be the go to guys and top performers of the dept (not patting ourselves on the back either). Anyone have ideas on what we should do next? Most of our issues are generated around the regional SWAT Team and Training Division. I am hoping for a Chief type officer to respond. Thanks

  • #2
    I take it a new sheriff was just elected and he is staffing the operation with "his folks." Believe it or not, you're NOT dealing with the good old boy system. Instead, you are seeing his survival instinct in action..

    As the head guy, it's his ***** on the line when things go wrong. If it's his ***** on the line, his first instinct is to staff positions with people he has worked with before.

    He's not doing this because they are his buddies or because of their political connections to him. Instead, it's because having worked with them, he knows what they are capable of, what their strengths & weaknesses are, what they are outstanding at and what to keep them away from. This allows him to know who to slot into just about any given task and not have to worry about them getting the job done right. He also knows they will do things in keeping with his administrative, personal and enforcemnt philosophies.

    OTOH, all of you guys are total strangers to him. You may be the greatest and most qualified people in the world, but to him you are an unknown quantity. If given a choice between going with known people who have a proven track record with him, versus taking a gamble on an unknown staff, the new guy who is feeling his way around will always go with the known quantity. It's not only survival but its just human nature.

    The same thing goes for policies and procedures. The first instinct of the new guy will be to change things so they conform to his personal and enforcement philosophies. It may be a pain for you but to him its simple - if things come under public scrutiny or criticism (as they always do in this profession) is hard to defend something that you personally disagree with. So as the head guy, you change things to conform to your philosophies and interpretations of the law.

    As far as getting on his good side and being able to gain back the degree of influence you once had, well, this is something you are going to have to earn all over again. I know that's a little bit insulting considering you have been there for years and he is the outsider. Nonetheless, he is now the guy who in charge and calling the shots. You earn your way back in by doing good work, engaging in major projects and making sure that they are brought to his attention. It may be through the handling of high profile events that get good press, handling incidents that result in the public, business persons or other officials sending him letters of thanks, or prosecutors sending him letters commending you on the handling of a case, etc. You can also achieve this through the submission of completed staff work proposing changes that will benefit the department by enhancing it's image with peer agencies, saving the department money, or creating new innovations, etc The whole point is to get you name and face in front of him so he knows who your are, that you do good work and that he can rely on you when he needs something important taken care of.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      L-1 stated this very well indeed. I recently took over a department and while I did not bring anyone in that is new as it is a small agency, I was able to meet with the current sgt. and set down the philosophies I believe in. He went to first line supervisor training and I have invested in him. A good supervisor or administrator will surround himself with good, trustworthy, dependable people that he knows will get the job done the way he wants it done.

      As with the Lt that posted...do your thing, try to get your job noticed by perfect execution. I have an officer now who has made a name for himself now by doing just that. His job, and very well, when asked to do something he puts 110% into it.

      L1 covered this very well.

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      • #4
        It's very difficult to add to the two excellent replies you've recieved.When all the smoke clears, and the dust settles, the new boss gets to call the shots. Management/leadership styles vary greatly with individuals. It seems that your new Top Gun is moving decisivly to structure the department in his particular mold. From my admitedly outside perspective, I see two basic choices for you and your fellow Officers. Fight the changes, which you do at your own risk, and really is not an option. OTH, you can, and probably should adapt to the mission and style of leadership your new boss desires. I would urge you not to use the old adage."This is the way we did it under Chief-----.Bad choice across the board. Instead, make every attempt to do things in the manner the new boss desires. To the extent that they're required, do staff work and make proposals which are in keeping with the goals the new administration has proposed. Make every attempt to find common ground. If all else fails, recall the old saying. "The Boss may not always be right, but he's always the Boss." Of course, that philosophy can go south in a hurry, but it does have some validity. Hopefully, your situation can work itself out to the advantage of all concerned.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cplbpd View Post
          I am not new to L.E., been around for 11 yrs. I have seen bosses come and go. recently my dept has been blessed with a boss who had OJT prior to actual being elected. Now a couple of us are faced with a "stripping" of our authority. The boss has decided to change things around and make new positions of authority for those more politically connected. I see this as being a problem for the agency and community. Some of us have attempted to approach him but we are dismissed.....We happen to be the go to guys and top performers of the dept (not patting ourselves on the back either). Anyone have ideas on what we should do next? Most of our issues are generated around the regional SWAT Team and Training Division. I am hoping for a Chief type officer to respond. Thanks
          I'll tell you in intelligence circles involving homeland security, the issue of what you are describing and the role of sheriffs has been debated. In other words, is "electing" sheriffs and having them come in with politics, etc REALLY in the citizens best interest? Dont' know personally, I see it both ways. However for me, I believe in the free market. When job conditions change in a way that I dont like, I simply vote with my feet. I'd give the guy time to get his feet on the ground and if you find yourself reporting to and cleaning up after a supervisor who is literally inept, move on. No matter what the job and economy, the best workers ALWAYS have options. The military is CONSTANTLY relearning this lesson.

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          • #6
            great responses, I appreciate all of them. I see one common trait, communication. Our boss has not communicated to us the direction of the dept. I would venture off to say this is the cause of the anxiety and questions about his movements. I will work on trying to get him to explain our direction then go from there, thanks again.

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            • #7
              Anyone have ideas on what we should do next?
              Sure, get over it. I'm not talking about you specifically here, but too often the "go to guys" seem to think that they're the only ones on the department who can do the job. If you work for a large department there are plenty of people who can do your job. Even if it's a smaller department, chances are there are others who can also do a good job if given the chance and the support. You just happen to be doing the job now for whatever reason. It actually makes sense in many ways for the new guy to put his guys in there and shake the place up. If you're a professional, you'll do whatever you can to assist your replacement with the transition. Hopefully this will be noticed.

              Also, get the book "Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement" and read the chapter on "getting screwed".

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              • #8
                Originally posted by cplbpd View Post
                great responses, I appreciate all of them. I see one common trait, communication. Our boss has not communicated to us the direction of the dept. I would venture off to say this is the cause of the anxiety and questions about his movements. I will work on trying to get him to explain our direction then go from there, thanks again.

                I forgot to mention that I took the time during the first week to meet individually with each officer and have a department meeting at teh end of the first week. Communication is a key. I was well aware that the officer a chief, and when finally hired they were still if not more anxious. Good luck.

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