Monday, April 20, 2009

Dedicated, Even Through Difficult Times

Last Friday, I sent a message to our officers to encourage them to hold their heads high. These past few months have been very difficult for our Department. We have 1,341 officers and another 37 recruits in the Police Academy right now. Yet, the actions of ½ of 1% of our officers, can have a powerful impact on your perception of the entire Department. I want to be clear about one thing. The overwhelming majority of our officers are hardworking and dedicated.

They stay awake at night haunted by some of the things they see and the situations they have to deal with. They put in long hours for not enough pay. They do good things not in an effort for attention, but because those good things are the right things. Since becoming Chief, I’ve seen letters praising everything from the compassion of an officer who comforted a victim after a domestic abuse situation, to the determination of an officer who located a stolen a vehicle, to the kindness of two officers who helped a van full of elderly St. Louisans after their van stalled in traffic. Of course we have work to do and we’ll do it. What goes unreported, is that many allegations of misconduct started with our own internal investigations. The Department remains committed to protecting the community in an honest way. The officers who live by our core values of Service, Leadership, Integrity and Fair Treatment to All, refuse to have their good names tarnished by those who don’t. We hope that the headlines you see send a message—that anything less than the highest of standards won’t be tolerated by us just as it won’t be tolerated by you.