But Chief, What Can I Do?

This is a question I have frequently been asked since my book is not out.

How can people help? But also, how do new and necessary ideas like the ones I am proposing percolate into our society and become a reality?

Well, the best way would be for someone like Rachel Maddow to ask me to come on  her show and talk about these ideas. Or, perhaps, an interview with John Stewart. Or for the New York Times to review it.

Otherwise, marketing a book, an idea, is a slow process. And getting ideas out to, and accepted by, our nation’s police is still another thing.

But there are some things you can do. Be part of OPERATION-PASS-ALONG.

1. Buy a copy of Arrested Development at  your local bookstore or Amazon.com and read it.  

2. Pass it along to a police officer in your community.

3. Request your mayor, city council person,  and chief of police hold a public meeting to discuss the ideas in the book and how they might be implemented in your police department.

4. Show up at the meeting, participate in the discussion, expect local officials to act and follow up when you don’t think they are. 



I’d sure like to hear from you.


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About improvingpolice

I served over 20 years as the chief of police in Madison (WI), four years as chief of the Burnsville (MN) Police Department, and before that as a police officer in Edina (MN) and the City of Minneapolis. I hold graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and Edgewood College in Madison. I have written many articles over my years as a police leader calling for police improvement (for example, How To Rate Your Local Police, and with my wife, Sabine, Quality Policing: The Madison Experience). After retiring from the police department, I answered a call to ministry, attended seminary, and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. At the present time, I serve a small church in North Lake (WI), east of Madison. Sabine and I have nine adult children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She is also a retired police officer and we both continue active lives.

One Response to “But Chief, What Can I Do?”

  1. Sir:

    Your leadership is desperately needed now and much appreciated, at least by some of us. My service and experience doesn’t compare to yours, but I do what I can as a public safety activist.

    I am aware of a group of civilians who wish to work with police to create the sort of relationship you seem to envision. However, they are desperately lacking for leadership. In particular, they need the guidance of an actual police officer. They do, however, have access to mainstream media – go figure.

    There are other ideas as well, i.e., mirroring your blog on Daily Kos. They have a working group to improve police/community relations, however, again, it’s a purely civilian effort and is (IMHO) somewhat misguided by the lack of understanding of the culture they wish to change.

    If you have time to contact me at xavieronassis at earthlink dot net, your thoughts would be much appreciated.

    Thank you for your leadership.

    FF Xavier Onassis, EMT-P

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