Sit around any police department or fire house and I am sure eventually you will hear someone talk about how rookies today are not as good as years ago. Funny thing is I bet when the old timers were rookies, they also were looked down on by the senior worker at that time. Yet I am seeing some trends with our newer employees and this last week I found where it is coming from.
Don’t get me wrong we have loads of good young cops here. Yet all too often I can’t tell an officer to go do some task and have them actually go do it. They have to ask 1000 questions about why they have to do it before doing it. Or my personal favorite they tell me they can’t do the task because they have too much other work to do. Yet a look at their patrol log shows they have not done jack shit all night.
Which brings us to a recent event…
For the past few years I have been teaching some criminal justice classes at a local community college. I am fully aware that as an adjunct I have a reputation with the kids. Classes are fun because I tell some war stories and use colorful language, but don’t expect an easy A because I am a stickler for rules.
So there was little essay I had the class write. Simple paper about ethics. I gave them a list of names and ask them to research two of the people on the list and write a paper. The paper was to explain who the person was and why a future cop should learn about them. Every name on the list was someone who got caught being unethical on duty time and made the news.
On the day the essay was due one student was not in class. The next day he emails me the paper. I reply back that as per the rules in the syllabus no late work is graded. His reply was “But it is only one day, what does a day matter”. By the way he missed class because of his bar tending job at a popular sports bar and was “forced to drink shots with regular customers the night before and slept through his alarm”.
Then this morning I got contacted by the CJ department chair. He wants to know why I am not willing to grade this paper. “If the young man worked hard to write it for you, you owe him the courtesy to read it and give him a grade.” When I reminded him about the paper being late he said. “Well just take a few points off, it was only one day.”
Think about this for a second. What lesson are we teaching the future workforce if we don’t hold them accountable? When I was a college student the instructors talked about weeding kids out of the program, and seemed proud of the numbers of people who failed their classes. Today everything is about retention and increasing the numbers of graduates.
So now I see it. Before coming to work at our agency no one has held these kids accountable. As such us older guys view them as lazy.
Many guys I know say we have been lowering standards lately. I don’t see it that way. We just need to mentor our new members so they know the standards and bring themselves up over that bar.