It isn't oft that the local rag has anything other than the puzzle to make it's worth nothing more than lining for a bird cage although it is
useful to clean the car windows. Yesterday they finally printed something worth the time spent reading it. The column raises interesting questions
regarding the campaign for Sheriff, a political office. The Sheriff before the current one serving, is a twice elected Senator for this area of
The writer of this column is the person that the television character "The Commish" is based on, Dr. Anthony Schembri.
I read the report of the candidates for sheriffs appearance before the Chamber of Commerce.
I have received some of the campaign literature that uses the military, its personnel, guns, the medals for bravery and its equipment as a campaign
I read the responses to the poor and inexperienced questions asked by the governmental affairs committee that would have easily been answered by any
probationary police officer or criminal justice student and the boiler plate answers that followed.
Since this is a management position, here is a management question I would have asked:
“The higher up you go in policing, the less you work nights and weekends.
Most crime occurs nights and weekends.
As a result, the least experienced people are working when crime occurs.
(To the cognoscenti this is a management problem endemic in police management.)
How would you correct this?
This is a time in policing that needs a re-purpose.
These candidates need to look at the recent headlines below and the problems facing policing and the community it polices.
U.S. cities see unexplained rise in violent crimes this year;
Police departments begin to reward restraint tactics;
No constitutional right to carry guns in public, court rules;
Recent incidents reignite debate on police shooting into moving vehicles (Florida);
One in 10 Dallas inmates locked up solely because they’re mentally ill. Can officials change that?;
A radical approach to gun crime: paying people not to kill each other (Richmond, California);
Modern Day Slavery: Sex trafficking poses a serious problem in Louisiana;
Fired Arlington officer not indicted for killing Christian Taylor;
In electronic era, stalkers, abusers can be hard to track;
Drug that killed Prince is making Mexican cartels richer, U.S. says;
Virginia is outpacing the nation in police shootings of the mentally ill;
Cleveland police monitor says reporting officer misconduct should be simplified;
Texas county bans patrol car crosses to settle atheist lawsuit;
Baltimore police to distribute manual of 26 ‘core operating;
Chicago police plan to revamp overtime program;
Costs of police body cameras raise concern (Michigan);
As mental health calls pile up, St. Paul police seek a defter response (Minnesota);
Criminal immigrants reoffend at higher rates than ICE has suggested;
How a heroin crisis sparked a police revolution;
Patchy reporting undercuts national hate crimes count;
St. Paul police chief candidates field questions about use of force, diversity (Minnesota);
What’s the real rate of sex-crime recidivism?;
Study reverses praise for police-worn body cameras;
Baltimore police rolling out transport vans with cameras, redesigned interior;
Feds to review Chester police operations.
This is what’s going on in the business of policing. Are these candidates prepared to handle the above?
Instead we got establishment answers:
1. Need to be fixable;
2. It’s working pretty good;
3. Accreditation does mean that much without a plan;
4. Verify that officers received the training;
5. More effective methods are needed;
6. We have a serious drug problem;
7. Drugs affect children and schools;
8. Put more resources (more police) and technology into fighting drugs.
So the common answer that can be found from these establishment candidates is “more.”
More cops, more guns, more jails and more computers and of course more taxes.
We can’t arrest ourselves out of crime.
I did not see the word crime prevention.
People would rather not get burglarized than have a good burglary squad.
People would rather not get murdered than have a good homicide squad.
Who does that same thing and think it will change things?
Not one of them talked about the victims of crime.
Not one of them talked about the elderly in a county with 60 percent of its population retired.
Not one of them talked about the crime problems experienced by veterans.
None of them talked about applying leadership techniques that get more out of what you have.
In a recent survey government employees say they are only working at 60 percent of capacity.
What would they do to improve productivity?
How does the black and minority community perceive the sheriffs office?
Does the relationship with the minority community need improvement and how?
How is our relationship with the gay community
Is there a fear of crime and how would you reduce fear?
Have we been in touch with the Muslim community and visited its churches?
Can we work with Probation to help returning inmates to the community?
Criminologists have estimated that 70 percent of criminal offenses are committed by just 7 percent of the total offenders. What would you do about
I have just returned from a three-month visiting professorship in England where I conducted a leadership seminar for senior police officials. They are
interested in sharing, putting a mirror in front of themselves and looking at what others are doing that “works” in preventing crime.
This is not a time for tough on crime or soft on crime. It’s a time for smart on crime.
I don’t see that coming from these candidates yet. I hope they see this as someone trying to push them in the right direction. I respect them and
all of their careers. Most likely some will criticize me instead of seeing this as a resource for going forward and making them successful.
I have been in policing for 50 years and led departments of 14,000 sworn with billion dollar budgets and represented the International Association of
Chiefs of Police at the United Nations.
Having lectured at Oxford and INTERPOL I was nominated for a$100,000 Award for Innovations in Government at Harvard. I think I have the credibility to
make these observations. I wrote this to frame the issues for future debates for the candidates and for the public that needs to challenge them on the
real issues facing policing.
This is not a time for a tough cop in a fancier uniform to sit in the chair of a CEO whose vision ends at the rank and file.
It’s my safety at risk here, too.
Dr. Anthony Schembri is a Sir Leon Radzinowicz Professor of Police Science at the University of Florida. He served as the county administrator of
Citrus County and the Secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Florida. He has held numerous law enforcement leadership positions around the
country and is the model for the popular television show “The Commish.” He lives with his wife Barbara in Citrus County