Saturday, December 20, 2008

An Open Blog to St. Louis

This is not an easy blog to write. Not because I’m afraid of being honest, but because these last few months have not been the St. Louis Police Department’s finest.

When I was named Chief I immediately began talking about my administration being open, honest and doing what’s right. Lately, we’ve been finding too many things that are wrong. There are practices, procedures and policies that have been in place for decades that make no sense. Why have they been allowed for so long? Force of habit for some, tradition for others. Still others? Even I’m not sure I can explain them. What I am sure of is that I’ve promised the people of St. Louis that I will improve the management of the police department. I will work hard to make sure that we are fiscally responsible. I will listen to what the people tell me they need and then do all that I can to make sure the police department delivers. I will do the right thing. As I’m looking at all aspects of the St. Louis Police Department, I am finding broken practices and fixing them. But with change, comes conflict. To make something right, you’ve got to be open about saying it was wrong. I’ve been saying that all too often lately, and as I continue to examine some of the Department’s long-standing practices, there surely will come a time when I have to say it again. To the men and women who I work alongside each day—you are some of the most dedicated, hardworking people I know. The few who tarnish our image and reputation do not represent the many who put their lives on the line everyday for too little pay and too little recognition. Together, we will get this Department on the right path and we, and the City of St. Louis, will be better for it.