Leadership: Union Style

Ron Smith, President of Seattle's Police Officer Guild.
Ron Smith, President of the Seattle Police Officer Guild.

In my recent blogs, I have been asking police leaders to stand up and speak out about the crisis we are in regarding the lack of trust between police and people of color. Now another one has — a police union leader!

Seattle police union head, Ron Smith, has has stood up and spoken out about bad cops. In short, telling them to go work someplace else saying, ‘You applied here. And you have to treat people all the same. You have to serve the community. If you don’t like the politics here, then leave and go to a place that serves your worldview’ — adding that those place will not last forever and soon have to change.

Here’s a recent interview with Smith from The Stranger.com.

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“Last week the Seattle Police Officers Guild, which has often been resistant to necessary changes to the SPD’s culture, wrote on its Facebook page: ‘Times have changed and we must also change to adapt to societal expectations.’

“Today (Feb. 18), in an interview at SPOG’s South Seattle headquarters, I asked union president Ron Smith to expand on what that meant—particularly in light of incidents over the past year in which officers have taken to social media to use racially inflammatory rhetoric,defend the militarization of police, and rant about gay people.

“Smith said he’s repeatedly told some of his members—particularly ‘the ones who complain about it’—the following: ‘You applied here. And you have to treat people all the same. You have to serve the community. If you don’t like the politics here, then leave and go to a place that serves your worldview.’

“The tough talk, Smith said, usually continues with him saying something like this:

“‘They hired you because they thought you were going to be able to work in a diverse community. And if you can’t, well then, I guess there are still places across the country that aren’t diverse, so go work there. But those won’t last forever.’

“Speaking of Seattle’s intolerant cops, Smith told me: ‘There are more than enough places across this country that are hiring law enforcement that have a different political landscape than here. And I don’t know why they don’t just go there’…

“Smith said all Seattle police officers need to ‘check their bias at the door’ when they walk into work. Bias-free policing training, which officers underwent in four-hour sessions between October and December of last year, was the best training he’d experienced throughout all of last year, he added.

“‘Hopefully we have some more of that [training] this year,’ Smith said, ‘to really strike home the concept of getting rid of those biases.'”

Read the entire post HERE.  http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/02/18/21739167/seattle-police-union-president-to-cops-get-with-the-times-or-get-out-of-this-city

Interested in starting a conversation with your police department? Take a look at “How to Rate Your Local Police.” It will give you both direction, questions to ask, and a handy checklist. Check it out at: http://createspace.com/5229934

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