When I first heard Major Travis Yates, Director of the Courageous Leadership Institute, discuss the importance of leaders doing the small things right, I admittedly laughed under my breath.
“If we as leaders will do the small things, it makes the larger things possible,” Yates exclaimed.
Calling the examples “intentional” Yates told story after story about police chiefs and others that cared about their needs alone and made sure that their lavish work conditions placed them in a higher category of coolness than the cops that work for them.
“Why would you as a chief or commander drive the nicest car or park closest to the building. We have chiefs out there with wheels and rims more expensive than some patrol cars that street cops are driving and that must stop,” said Yates.
I thought it was kind of silly and likely impossible that anyone would follow the advice and while I have no idea how Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith got the idea, his actions fall right in line with what Yates proposed.
Smith became the Green Bay Police Chief in February 2016 and while his contract gave him the pick of a brand new Ford Explorer with all the bells and whistles, Smith took a different approach.
Two weeks before his appointment as chief, the department had seized a 2007 Jeep Commander from a drug dealer. Dubbed the “crappiest” car in the police fleet, Smith decided to take the car as his own.
The doors squeak, the body rattles, the back window randomly pops open, the CD player is broken, and the screen doesn’t display radio stations and that is just the beginning of the car’s problems but Smith has no issues with his gently used car.
“I think it’s more important for me to have our officers who are in the field and handling radio calls, who are driving from place to place and want to get there in a hurry and safely, be driving the new cars, the best cars,” he told the Green Bay Press Gazette.
After reading Smith’s story, I was wrong. I’m about as far away from Green Bay as you can imagine in nice Southern California but I’,m ready to buy a coat and move north…..all because Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith places the needs of others above his own.
Photo Courtesy: Green Bay Police Department
Robert Johnson is a 20 year veteran law enforcement officer currently working at a large metropolitan agency. His assignments have included narcotics, gangs and training. He joined Law Officer in 2017 as an Associate Editor.