The answer to that is a resounding YES.
And I am even more sure of this as Sabine and I attended the retirement ceremonies of a number of officers that I had hired in the 1980s. As the careers of these officers were summarized, I frequently heard words like these: “compassionate,” “respected others,” “protected the rights,” and “treated with dignity.” There was a letter from a man whom one of the officers had arrested for a sex crime. The man wrote that he had just completed a prison sentence of ten years and this officer always treated him respectfully through the process of arrest, incarceration, and court trial in spite of the terrible things he had done. What better summary of the career of a police officer?
And that’s why my book is important — it can help other police departments not only IMPROVE but SUSTAIN the improvement and attract officers just like these to make this happen.
This is the department’s mission statement today. And it hasn’t varied much since I first developed it when I was the chief. (You have to know that few departments, and I mean few, are able to sustain improvement.
Madison Police Department Mission Statement
We, the members of the Madison Police Department, are committed to providing high quality police services that are accessible to all members of the community. We believe in the dignity of all people and respect individual and constitutional rights in fulfilling this mission.
The other thing the MPD has been able to sustain is not only attracting high-quality personnel but also developing professional training for them. And that means in an “adult learning” environment, not a Marine Corps-style boot camp! That’s important if you want to get creative, thinking, and educated people into your ranks and keep them there. The training unit mission of the Madison department is to support the mission of the department by “recruiting, training and continually developing programs and initiatives that create a workforce that is committed to excellence, empowered to act, adaptive to change, innovative in its approach to solving problems and an example of best practices in the policing profession.”
Finally, and another point in my book, the department believes “trainers are leaders. Those who train come prepared to teach and lead adult learners.” Training officers must “constantly evaluate and improve training, seek feedback from [their] learners, and incorporate feedback into training to continuously improve.”
Put all that together and you get the kind of department I have proposed in my book. Look for it the second week in April. Or attend one of my book reading and “signings” at a bookstore near you.
April 13: Burnsville, MN (site to be determined)
April 14: The Book House in Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 3 p.m.
April 19: A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, State and Johnson, Madison, 6:30 p.m.
April 21: Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI, 3 p.m.
April 26: Prairie Books, Mount Horeb, WI, 7 p.m.
April 28: Village Booksmith, Baraboo, WI, 3 p.m.
May 3: Crossroads Coffee House, Cross Plains, WI, 7 p.m.
May 5: St John’s Episcopal Church, Portage, 3 p.m.