Friday, October 10, 2008

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi

I’ve just completed my first week as Chief of Police and one thing I can say so far is that this is going to be an amazing journey.

I spent part of Tuesday, my first full day as Chief, talking with the Senior Command Staff—the Lieutenant Colonels and Majors of the Department. I wanted to talk about my vision for the Department but just as importantly, I wanted to hear their ideas. They were passionate about where their interests lie and what role they can play that will most effectively help move the Department forward. Those conversations resulted in the reorganization of some of the Senior Command Rank Officers. I’m confident that these changes are a move in the right direction and that the strong working relationship with the Senior Commanders will be both beneficial to the Department and the community we serve.

Several times this week, I attended roll calls where I had the opportunity to speak with some of the men and women who are the backbone of the Department—the Officers who patrol our streets. Normally roll call is where Officers get updates on incidents in their districts before heading out to your neighborhoods. This week, Lt. Col. Roy Joachimstaler and I stood together at roll calls and encouraged Officers to continue the good work they do on the streets everyday, and to reassure them that we will do our very best to increase morale and boost the public’s confidence in the Department. To make sure I have the opportunity to talk face to face with as many employees as possible, the Department will have an internal town-hall meeting in the next week or so. Making this organization strong is a team effort, and their visions and hopes for the Department are just as important to me as my own.

I met some St. Louisans at the monthly Public Affairs meetings that each District holds. In North St. Louis I heard from several women who remembered the days when they knew all of the Officers who patrol their neighborhood. Remember those days? Those community relationships are key to making our neighborhoods stronger and solving crimes. I’ve talked a lot about hearing everyone’s vision for the Department. One part of my vision is decentralization—pushing resources to the Districts, the neighborhoods. I hope that helps us get back to the days those women remember.

The one thing that resonated in almost every conversation was the call for CHANGE. Change will occur under my administration. In the days and weeks to come my staff and I will continue our thorough assessment of where we are and where we’d like to be.

It will be a long road getting there, but it’s one we’re all eager to travel.