It would appear that Lawrence has those at City Hall hoodwinked. His colorful terms like "Blue Crush" and "zero tolerance" have those on main street seeing a city painted in a net of security. Are the citizens secure? That's a question that can be answered by anyone who spends an hour in the land of barbecue and bullshit.
Godwin's dog and pony show may have city hall fooled, but every citizen should not succumb to the daily press briefings (or should we say bullshittings). Lawrence must sit around all day and say to himself "self, how can I get on television today"? The sad thing is, his "self" actually answers back. His ego is bigger than a plate of ribs at Corky's. Old "shifty" eyes will do anything to publicize himself. Is that the job of a leader? To self indulge in all the publicity he can muster? To make himself appear better than the officers that are actually doing all the work? The answer is NO!
Everyone working the front line in the field knows about the "Blue Crush" initiative. Larry throws it around as if it was his idea and master plan. We all know that the Crush doesn't work. It's another fancy term like zero tolerance. In fact, all it does is clear up the crime for a week in the area and displaces it to other areas with less crime. Once the Crush clears out, things go back to normal. Like with Zero Tolerance, the Crush makes officers do what they should have been doing all along. Arrest violators when they are observed committing a crime. This is an old school attempt to show a decrease in crime stats in high crime areas. It doesn't work. Just ask any Co-Act (or should I say No-Act) officer.
So what's the answer to the rising violent crime in Memphis? We don't claim to have all the answers, but here's a starting place. How about give the line officers in Uniformed patrol the ability to police without the fear of retribution. MPD has the worst record for being fair and impartial when it comes to discipline. Every officer (minus the rookies) knows that if you do aggressive (good) police work, you will end up being charged over petty bullshit. In my 10 years, I saw and did plenty(11 nonsustaining complaints, 2 upheld). I would beat the streets and actively seek out the drug dealers, carjackers and any other violent offender. You may ask, "what was you desire to do this?" My answer would always be that my family might be the next victim. What happened next was all too familiar. I would end up having to go to IAB (Office of Integrity or whatever it's called now) on a BS complaint. Every Lt. knows that if you have an officer working hard, they are going to get charged. We'll talk about this again in future posts.
Back in my day, your were not considered a veteran officer until you got charged. In fact, we use to have "Charge" parties and you couldn't attend unless you had a statement of charges in your file. Also, if we had brothers or sisters cutting more than 10 days, we would have a party to raise money to make up for the loss of pay. That's a damn shame. There was a time when the 12th floor was handing out charges like welfare checks.
Larry may catch wind of this post and we really don't care if it upsets him. Our message to him would be to show some respect to Uniformed Patrol and acknowledge the hard work we do. Loosen up with the BS charging of officers when it is not warranted. Forget about your personal agenda and get on the department's agenda. We are in the business of fighting criminals. We are too busy watching our backs from the 12th floor and the criminals. We should not be afraid to go on the offensive in this war on crime. You can talk the talk, but we can't walk the walk without support. The next time a gang member lodges a bogus complaint, send his ass packing. Tell him that if he doesn't want the officers "harassing" him, he needs to get out of the gang and be a productive member of society.
Now, I know not all charged officers are innocent and the history of recent arrests show that we are not all angels. Some bad apples have definitely ruined the bunch in the eyes of the average Memphian. There was a time when I was embarrassed to say that I was an officer and told people I was something else. Nothing hurts more when another officer makes a poor decision and the rest have to pay for it.