Photo Courtesy: YouTube, National Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil
Many of us wear different colored uniforms, but we are all part of an extended family.
A family that bleeds blue.
A family that has lost too many in the line of duty.
Families have issues, but usually tend to work them out. In our law enforcement family, we shouldn’t be too quick to seek a ‘Divorce’ from another agency. Unfortunately, rivalries exist between agencies and a ‘divorce’ is fast tracked to divide us from one another.
Just like any family, we:
- Have disagreements
- Stress each other out at times
- Compete against each other
- Communicate poorly with each other
- Hide information
- Point fingers and blame each other
There are many more negative issues that could be added to the above list, but I think you get the picture. Just because we tend to have these issues, does not mean we should distance ourselves from each other.
I have more questions than answers.
My question is WHY? Why can’t we get along? Why do we hide critical information from other agencies? Why do we neglect to talk to other agencies? Why do we blame another agency when something goes wrong? Why can’t we work together to keep our communities safe?
It doesn’t matter if the agency is municipal, county, state or federal, there is a hostile rivalry among some of these agencies that needs to stop. We all have a common goal and mission. Let’s work together not against each other!
Occasionally, I hear someone say, “If I see a cop from ‘that agency’ on the road in a fight for his/her life, I won’t stop to help”. What a terrible thing to say about one of our brothers or sisters of the shield. Why is this? Is it the agency the officer has a problem with, or just one officer from that particular agency? If there is a personality conflict between a couple of cops, why take it out on the entire agency?
We all take a great deal of pride in our careers as law enforcement officers. Sometimes we need to swallow a bit of pride to reach out to others and come together. It takes action. Someone has to pick up the phone and call a Chief, Sheriff, Captain, Agent, etc. to invite them for a cup of coffee and have a courageous conversation. Dialogue needs to happen frequently between agencies so they can move forward and resolve past conflicts. Line officers need to see the command staff from both agencies meeting on a frequent basis in a positive manner. Line officers from both agencies should also meet frequently. This is not just for the agencies, but also for the public to see both agencies coming together.
If you are an administrator with an agency that has issues with another agency, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I dislike the neighboring agency so much that I will not share the description of a wanted violent sexual predator with that agency?
- Will there be any liability issues for withholding pertinent information from neighboring agencies that I have an issue with?
- Do I owe it to my community to work well with neighboring agencies?
Again, I have more questions than answers. Dialogue must start or failure is certain.
There are many agencies involved in conflict. Many agencies have a great relationship and kudos to those of you that do!
Please comment below and share how you maintain positive relationships with other agencies. Your success stories and suggestions will help other agencies mend their relationships. It takes courage to step forward. If you are a leader of an agency that has conflict with another agency, do you have the courage to step forward and do what it takes to bury the hatchet and mend the fences?
Brian Hill is a Staff Sergeant for an agency in the Denver metro area. He is also the owner of MentalAmmo.com, a law Enforcement training provider. Brian is a subject matter expert in Arrest Control for Colorado P.O.S.T.