Inspiration

I draw inspiration from other police leaders.  I look for leaders I think are progressive and ethical.  Recently, I found a blog from one of my policing heroes that talks about another!  William Bratton, NYPD Commissioner (formerly of LAPD, Boston PD, NY Transit) wrote about Sir Robert Peel in April 2014.  Before Peel, policing had an ugly history.  Eventually US policing modeled itself after the Metropolitan Police and we adopted and incorporated Peel’s Principles. I’ve copied it here for you:

In my long police career I have often drawn inspiration from a great hero of mine, Sir Robert Peel.  Peel founded the London Metropolitan Police in 1829.  He went on to serve as British Prime Minister for two separate terms and earned a reputation as a powerful and effective reformer.

In addition to establishing London’s first modern, disciplined police force, Peel articulated “nine principles of policing which remain as relevant and meaningful today as they were in the 1830s.   The man had an innate grasp of the challenges police officers face and of the complex interplay between the police and the public that is at the very heart of policing in a free society.  Defining the basic mission of police as prevention, recognizing that police must win public approval, favoring persuasion and warning over force, and defining success as the absence of crime and disorder rather than in terms of police action — these were all cutting edge ideas in the 1980s let alone the 1830s.

Peel’s nine principles inform the vision of collaborative policing that I believe is essential to healing the divisions that exist between the police and the communities we serve.  They will guide us in our efforts to foster shared responsibility for public safety as we move forward:

Principle 1 – “The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.”

Principle 2 – “The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.”

Principle 3 – “Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.”

Principle 4 – “The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.”

Principle 5 – “Police seek and preserve public favor not by catering to the public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.”

Principle 6 – “Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.”

Principle 7 – “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public  who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

Principle 8 – “Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.”

Principle 9 – “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.”

Guided by such values and with the help of all New Yorkers and the best efforts of the men and women of the New York City Police Department, I am confident of our success.

We are also guided by these values and ask for the help of all residents of Auburn Hills and the best efforts of the men and women of the AHPD, I am also confident of our success.

Interesting trivia:  British Police are called “Bobbies” as a nod to ROBERT Peel.  

Two New Sergeants

41M+1+JBA2LAt the end of last month, two of our long time sergeants retired:  Michael O’Hala and Steve Groehn.  Those retirements created 2 vacancies in our sergeant ranks that we have now filled.  On Nov 1st Bryan Eftink was promoted to sergeant and on November 29th, Brandon Hollenbeck was promoted to sergeant.

Becoming a sergeant is a challenge here–by design.  Candidates must pass a written test to demonstrate their technical knowledge of the law, police practices, department general orders, a whole variety of need-to-know things for a first line police supervisor.  If they are successful in passing, they must then participate in a series of “exercises” in which the candidates must complete a replication of the actual job.  Their efforts are rated by a panel of experienced police of higher rank.  Assessment centers were developed in the military to assess people for promotion. The exercises are things like counseling or evaluating a police officer who is not performing up to expected standards (no ticket quotas–but we do expect police officers to work all day, every day).   We also ask them to show us how they would handle a complaint from a citizen.  We even hire actors to portray an upset citizen wanting to make a complaint against an officer.  A sergeant must be skillful in addressing the citizen’s concern in a fair and respectful manner; investigating the situation while also respecting the officer’s rights then recommend a solution that protects the integrity of our department and maintains the trust of the community.  It is a critical skill.  Those are two examples of what they must demonstrate.  We are not civil service so there is no requirement to take people in some sort of queue.  We evaluate their work history and their abilities as we’ve seen them on the job.  Ultimately we make a recommendation to the City Manager.

It is intended to be difficult and shouldn’t it be?  Police are often confronted with difficult decisions.  Sergeants have an even higher set of expectations.  They walk a fine line between officers, the community, lieutenants and the Chief’s Office.  It is a great job but one that requires people skills and technical skills.

The challenges of a sergeant are many so we make a thorough and careful decision before before we put them in charge.

I’d like to introduce you to each of them:

Bryan's wife Laura pins on his badge.

Bryan’s wife Laura pins on his badge.

Sgt. Bryan Eftink – Bryan is a graduate of Montabella High School, which is in the small central Michigan town of Edmore. While still in high school, and at the age of 17, Bryan joined the Michigan Army National Guard and graduated Army basic training and advanced infantry training at Fort Benning, GA.  Bryan served 6 years in the Michigan Army National Guard where he achieved the rank of Sergeant.   After high school, he attended Grand Valley State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice and had a minor in Sociology.  Bryan also attended the Grand Valley State University Police Academy where he served as the Recruit Commander and earned the MCOLES award at graduation.

Bryan began his employment with the Auburn Hills Police Department on September 10, 2012. During his time in the agency he has been a member of patrol and served three years in the Directed Patrol Unit.  Bryan has several extra duties with the department that include being an Evidence Technician, Forensic Video Analyst, Small Squad Tactics Instructor, and he is also the department’s only Accident Reconstructionist. Bryan is also a proud member of the Police Department’s Honor Guard.   Bryan represents the police department outside the agency as well, as he is an instructor at Oakland Community College’s Police Academy.

Outside of work, Bryan enjoys all sports especially MICHIGAN Football and Basketball. Go Blue! He also enjoys spending time with his friends and family, especially with his wife, Laura, and their 4 ½ month old son.

Sgt. Brandon Hollenbeck – Brandon is from Frankfort, a small northern Michigan town, where he graduated from Frankfort High

Sgt Hollenbeck takes his oath of office

Sgt Hollenbeck takes his oath of office

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Sgt Hollenbeck’s wife Kristen pins on his badge.

School.  Brandon began his career in public safety while he was in high school as a member of the Frankfort Fire Department. He proudly served as a volunteer firefighter for his father who was the long time fire chief in Frankfort.  During the time he was a firefighter, he was recognized by the City of Frankfort for saving the life of a 13 year old boy who was drowning in rough waters of Lake Michigan.  Brandon also served for the Benzie County Sheriff’s Department as a seasonal marine deputy for four summers.

He graduated from Northwestern Michigan Community College earning an associate’s degree in applied science/law enforcement.  Brandon also completed the Northwestern Michigan College Police Academy and was recognized with the marksmanship award in his academy class.  Brandon is currently completing his bachelor’s degree at Central Michigan University and will graduate in 2015 with a public administration degree.

Brandon began his employment with the City of Auburn Hills on May 30th 2002.  Brandon is assigned as a patrol officer has served in special assignments:  retail district and Directed Patrol Unit.  He was also in Investigations Division as the court liaison officer.  Brandon is a senior member of the use of force instructor cadre where he holds instructor certifications in firearms, patrol rifle, Taser, controlled force, pepper spray, handcuffing, force on force Simunitions, and rapid deployment to active shooter situations in progress.  Brandon is also a rescue task force instructor for our agency in which he has trained members of the police department and the fire department in rescue tactics for force protected active shooter rescues.  Brandon is Field Training Officer for new officers as well as the a bike patrol officer.  Brandon completed the Michigan State Police basic fire investigation program as a cause and origin fire investigator.  He represents our police department outside of the agency as an Oakland County Tactical Response (OakTac) Instructor training members of law enforcement agencies throughout Oakland County.  Brandon is the recipient of a department citation, an individual commendation, 2 safe driving commendations, and 14 unit commendations, as well as several letters of recognition.  This year Brandon was nominated as by the Department for the City’s Employee of the Year award.

Outside of work Brandon is a dedicated husband and father and enjoys nothing more than spending time with his wife Kristen and their three children.  Brandon also enjoys doing anything on the water (especially fishing with his brother), hunting (with his pop), and spending time up north with his family and friends.  Brandon is also one of those “crazy” die hard Detroit Lions fans.

If you see them out and about be sure to stop them and say HI.

Three Policing Professionals Sign Off On Their Last Working Day

Today was an emotional day – in a good way- here at the PD as we celebrated the retirement of 3 of our long-term staff:  Sergeant Steve Groehn, Sergeant Mike O’Hala and Detective Ron Tuski.

Detective Ron Tuski, Sergeant Steve Groehn, Sergeant Mike O'Hala

Detective Ron Tuski, Sergeant Steve Groehn, Sergeant Mike O’Hala

I think we figured out that among them they have served the city for 71 years.  A great legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today was the day their families, friends, co workers and retired co workers came together to wish them well on their last day.

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As I watch them go, I think about how we met, 20 years ago when I came here as the deputy chief of police.  They were young and none were yet supervisors and Ron wasn’t a detective.  Although I’d been a command officer before in another department, they taught me a lot about how to do the job.  Each of them did it in their own style but always with care, compassion and the highest of ethics.  They were thoughtful when it was important to be thoughtful–when they were contemplating people’s lives in the field. They were full of action when it was time to take action to keep a situation from going from bad to worse. It was interesting that the 2 sergeants commented that one of the things they were grateful for was that they were able to send the members of their shifts home safety every day–no one was ever seriously injured or worse.

I know they have all been thinking about their legacies in the last few months because they each talked to me about it.  They were thinking about what they wanted to leave for the people who take their places (well, no one exactly takes their places–they are each so unique).   I’ve been hearing Mike on the radio working with his day shift crew in the field more than usual lately.  He has been making traffic stops and going on runs. His son, Reid, was here today dressed in his Marine Corps blues out of respect for his dad.

We could all see how proud Mike is of his son.  Mike made a special request of me–he asked me if he could pass along his badge to his replacement himself.  He said that he would feel better knowing that he had not left his post unmanned–that he had passed his responsibility on.  So Officer Bryan Eftink, who will be promoted to sergeant on November 1st, received his sergeant’s badge directly from Sgt. O’Hala, who had also given him his gun and equipment on his very first day as an officer.

Ofc Eftink receives his sergeant badge from Sgt. O'Hala

Ofc Eftink receives his sergeant badge from Sgt. O’Hala

Reid and Mike O'Hala

Reid and Mike O’Hala

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt Groehn has been passing along his knowledge of recruit officer training to Sgt. Stoinski who is taking over the field training program.  On the day he gave me his letter telling me that he was retiring he said that he’d had the letter for 2 weeks and just hadn’t been able to bring himself to turn it in.  His family told me how he had dreamed of being a police officer since he was a small boy.  It was very clear how proud they are of him.  He told me that he’d been bringing his young kids into the station as much as he could lately, so they would remember when he was a cop.  He won the Chief’s Award a few years ago for his work on our Highway Incident Management program.  I’m convinced his work improved the lives of commuters who pass through Auburn Hills and made us safer when officers work on the roadways–a top danger to police officers across the country.

groehn

Sgt. Steve Groehn

 

 

 

 

 

And Detective Tuski gave his last talk to high school kids today in Oxford with Judge Nicholson.  Ron’s parents, his brother and his grandmother were all killed when they were in a car struck by a drunk driver on Christmas Eve, the year he became a police officer.  The chief (my predecessor) was the person who had to deliver the message to him because he was on duty.  For all these years he has gone to schools with our local judges about the story of his family’s tragedy.  I’m sure they would be proud today to see what a success he has made of his career and his life.Tuski and Gov

 

 

I could go on and on about these three as I could about our entire staff.  This community is fortunate to have a staff of such excellent quality who is so devoted to this community and this profession.  But I’ll close this post with the words of PSO Quentessa Tuff.  She gave the last radio sign off for these three professionals.

 

City units hold the air –

 

Tears for a few good cops fill our station today

Luckily these are tears of joy!

It has been an interesting run and great life experience.

Each of you have a special spot that we will hold dear to all of us.

As you leave today just remember you’ll be truly missed and the halls here at Auburn Hills Police Department will never be the same.

Congratulations and Happy Retirement to Det. Tuski, Sgt. Groehn and Sgt Ohala.

You are now out of Service – Radio clear@1546

 

 

More About Policing – the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards

I have the honor and privilege of serving the policing profession as a Commissioner for the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (an unpaid position).  I represent the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and was appointed by both Governor Granholm and Governor Snyder.  The Commission has a mission defined in state statute–develop and administer statewide standards for police officers’ employment and training.

It has been a great experience although a challenging one.  It seems like it would be simple to determine who should be a police officer –good moral character, good physical condition, psychologically sound and have good reading and writing skills.  Sounds about right–but like most things the devil is always in the details.  For example, we had a case before us of an officer that was involved in a highly publicized case in which he committed perjury along with judge and the prosecutor.  He pled to a lesser charge (we can only take a police officer’s license to practice for conviction of a felony–then it is automatic), and wanted to return to work as a police officer.  And to my great surprise, his department wanted to take him back!  The 17 member Commission had to make a decision whether his conduct showed that he did not have the good moral character to be a police officer.  In a very close vote, the Commission let him return to policing.  I was opposed and was disappointed that he was allowed to return.  I strongly believe that officers must tell the truth above all–lying cannot be permitted.  He argued that he did it to protect an informant which I found not credible–the informant was paid a percentage of the drug seizure and was named in all the court paperwork from the beginning.  It is an example of what MCOLES does.

MCOLES also is charged with distributing money from a surcharge on traffic tickets that is designated for police training.  Sadly, in times when training is needed the most, the money has disappeared–it has to be diverted to maintain the 19 member administrative staff or we would have no standard setting agency at all.  The Michigan Legislature should take a hard look at what is best for such a critical service to Michigan communities and appropriate funds to maintain a basic service residents need.

MCOLES publishes a newsletter and I thought you might find it interesting.

MCOLES Newsletter

The FBI National Academy Through the Eyes of Lt. Jill McDonnell

Every few years we have the opportunity to send one of our executive command staff members to the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA.  Command level personnel attend classes for 10 weeks to study policing best practices.  They attend with other police executives from around the country and the world.  It is a prized policing credential and brings value to our agency and community.  Lt. Jill McDonnell, our Investigations Division Commander, is there right now and sent back this account.  

I am at the 257th FBI National Academy, in Quantico, Virginia. This journey started almost 2 years ago, shortly after I was promoted.  I applied to the Academy through and was sponsored by our local FBI resident agent.  After a background and a physical I received my letter of acceptance.

The 10 week long academy usually host 250 law enforcement representatives from around the world.  But because of academy building construction and several new agent and Intel analyst schools going on the number was reduced.  In my class or session as they call it there are 212 attendees, from 49 states, 26 Countries and 3 branches of the military, of those there are 18 women. There are 3 other Michigan representatives here with me. (Canton Police Chief, Lieutenants from Ann Arbor and Wayne County Sheriffs Department.

The academy is on the Marine Base at Quantico VA.  It is on a campus, which is part of a large federal training facility for FBI, DEA and ATF.  The FBI lab and infamous Hogan’s Alley are located on the FBI National Academy Campus.

It is like being in college as an adult, and the police academy at the same time with a few more restrictions.  We are housed in a dorm and eat in a cafeteria. Tunnels connect dorms with the classroom buildings.  I have a roommate and suite mates.  My roommate Denea is a Lieutenant with the Capitol Police, she is responsible for protection of the 10 important Congressional delegates.  My suite mates Liz is a Major in the US Army Military Police she has done 3 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. My other suite mate Karyn is an international student from New Zealand. She is a Commander with the New Zealand National Police.

Our days are kept busy with college classes (via Virginia Univ.) that we selected before coming to the academy. In addition to our classes, on Wednesdays we have physical challenges to prepare us for the infamous “Yellow Brick Road”  that will take place in week 9.  They also have quest speakers in the afternoons or evenings. Like college if there is free time on these days people do laundry, homework or sneak in a nap.

As one of our enrichment activities we toured the Holocaust Museum. One of our tour guys was a survivor.  On a Wednesday evening we had a memorial service/wreath laying ceremony at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington DC. We traveled in a motorcade escorted by the DC Park Police.  People were waiving and taking photos and videos as we passed.

There are extra curricular trips that are sponsored and organized by session attendees from New York and Philadelphia.  I took advantage of the opportunity to go to New York.  97/212 of us traveled on two buses from Quantico to New York, New York.  We arrived early enough, thanks to police escorts, to hit the town Friday evening. Five of us bought tickets to a Broadway show.  Saturday and Sunday were packed with planned activities.   On Saturday, we left the hotel in the morning to head to NYPD special operations division at the aviation hanger.  There we received a search and rescue demonstration and were provided lunch.  From there we were taken to 1 Police Plaza  (NYPD headquarters) for a tour. We got to see their “real time crime center” and the room where they hold their infamous COMPstat meetings.  After that we had few hours on our own, so we toured Chinatown and Little Italy before heading to dinner.  We dined as a group at Carmines, a famous Italian restaurant.  The NYPD Bigpipers provided the entertainment.  After a wonderful dinner some of us walked over to the Empire State Building.  We went up to the observation deck to check out the city at night.

Sunday morning the NYPD benevolent association provided us with a continental breakfast as we boarded our buses to head to NY Fireboat. We got to a ride aboard their large fireboat in the East River up to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and under the Brooklyn Bridge.  The same boat that help rescue people from the plane that landed in the Hudson River.  Certainly this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience.   Following our   boat ride we re-boarded our buses to head to the 9/11 Memorial and Freedom Tower (1 World Trade Center).   The New York PD honor guard did a wreath laying ceremony at the 9/11 memorial. Then we toured the 9/11 memorial museum.  A very moving place that invokes numerous emotions it is a place everyone should visit.

One of our session members is with the Port Authority Police Department arranged for us to go up in the Freedom Tower which is still under construction.  We were allowed to the 63 floor to take in the view. When completed the Freedom tower will be the tallest building in New York.

Then we boarded our buses for a long ride back the Quantico, VA.

We just finished week number 4.  I am lucky to be heading home to see my family. Some others from the west coast or international students are not as fortunate.  When I get back from my weekend I will be finishing up two research papers, 2 group presentations, 1 lone presentation and two short papers. These classes will earn me college masters credits.

The amazing thing I have learned while here is that whether the department is large or small rural or urban US or abroad we all have similar issues.  The big topic with many agencies is recruitment and retention of employees.  Even the Major City Chiefs that were at the academy for a summit were discussing the issue.

I am looking forward to the next six weeks and returning to work sometime around September  29th.

For more information on the academy go to:

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/training/national-academy

Saving the Taxpayer’s Dollars

wpid-20140708_122509.jpgwpid-20140708_102826.jpgOne thing we pride ourselves on here in Emergency Services is how careful we are with the taxpayer’s dollars.  We are conscious all the time how we are using the dollars given to us by the taxpayers to provide the best possible services to the community.

We are constantly looking for ways to save a few bucks while still providing our employees with the best equipment and training to do the best possible job.  When the Police and Fire Departments were combined at the administration level in 2012, one of our most important missions was to find cost savings and efficiency wherever possible. We take that seriously.  The Department of Emergency Services in our 2014 budget should be running at 50% of our budget allocation for the year but we are running at 41% for the first half of the year.

The City Finance Director, Gary Barnes, started an annual award among the departments to bring a little friendly competition to the departments in how budgets are managed.

This year, for the 2nd year in a row, Deputy Director Jim Manning of Emergency Services/Fire was the winner of one of the 2013 Budget Cups for departments over $1M with a 12.3% savings.  This is calculated as savings over the budget allocation for the department.  He also won in 2012 with a whopping 22.7% savings in the Fire Department.

We have other winners in the past:

For cost savings over budget allocation:  Lt. Cas Miarka for Police Patrol budget at 6% in 2011 and in 2010 for Police Technical Services at 27.6%

For budgeting accuracy, which is calculated as ending the budget year expending as closely as possible (but not going over) to the budget allocation:

Lt Hardesty in Police Communications hit the budget at 101% in 2011

Lt Miarka in Police Patrol hit it at 96% in 2012.

Our command personnel move around among the divisions of the department to learn each function and as part of that, they are responsible to operate the budget in their current area of responsibility.  We see ourselves as a team brought together to produce an outcome of value for the citizens.  No one division of our department operates alone–there are lots of interlinked and moving parts.  What makes this challenging is that budgets are forecast 6 months in advance and throughout the fiscal year we must deal with constantly changing conditions while still achieving the goals set for us by the City Council and the goals we set for ourselves.

Congratulations to all of the other city departments who were budget cup winners as well.

Police Use of Force

There is a well known sociologist, Egon Bittner, who posited that in a democratic society the capacity to use coercive force is the defining feature of the police.  It isn’t unlimited authority – it is limited by legislative action, court decisions, can only be used in the performance of duty, not to settle personal disputes and we can’t use it maliciously or frivolously.  Force use is an awesome  responsiblity.  We know that and respect it.

Because force use is a serious matter to be carefully considered, we expend considerable resources in training our personnel according to the most current best practices of our profession.  Force use training isn’t about target practice although we do train with firearms to achieve accuracy, we train the thought processes of officers to make effective, ethical and safe decisions for themselves and the community.  We train on pistols according to the state standard, we train on hands-on contacts, conducted electricity weapons (also known as Tasers), rifles, shotguns, Kinetic Energy Impact Weapons (bean bag)  and aerosol restraint spray.  They are all tools we use.  Each force use, defined as anything more than simple handcuffing,  is reported in detail and analyzed for performance improvement, compliance with the orders governing the type of force use and where we can improve our training.  One interesting fact that you may not have known is that injuries to officers correlate very closely to injuries to arrested persons.  Poor tactics are bad for everyone.

Internally we have an instructor group that teaches and trains our officers.  We train them to make sure that they are up to speed and use them as a resource to make decisions on equipment and policy.  They meet periodically to discuss what we are doing, how it can be improved and plan ahead.  These are serious decisions that we need to carefully consider.  An example of what can go wrong is the current situation in Albuquerque, New Mexico where there was a large and violent protest on Sunday over a police incident in which a mentally ill, homeless man was killed by the police.  But we live in challenging times, consider the actions of the military police officer who found and engaged the shooter at Fort Hood yesterday.  The officer happens to be a woman.  Given what has been revealed about her actions, I can say with some certainty that she acted as she was trained to save her community.

Force use by the police is an important issue in any community.  Our group reminded themselves yesterday that what they do and how they do it impacts how our community views us and the trust they have in us.

use of force

 

How to Keep Bad Cops on the Beat

If you are a reader of this blog you’ll recognize how frequently I talk about keeping the confidence of the public which is critical to our ability to do our job.  You’ll also recall that I serve on the untitledMichigan Commission on Law enforcement Standards–in fact, I’m currently in my 2nd year as its chair.  I was appointed by Governor Snyder and previously appointed by Governor Granholm after being nominated by the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police who I represent on the Commission.The mission of MCOLES is lost on many people including currently licensed law enforcement officers.  Simply put — our mission, as set in 2 Michigan statutes, is to

“…serve the people of the State of Michigan by ensuring public safety and supporting the criminal justice community…. leadership through setting professional standards in education, selection employment, licensing, license revocation and funding….”

Other state have similar bodies that are often called POST organizations–Police Officer Standards and Training.   I realize that some might find this to be an arcane government bureaucracy kind of thing.  But it is much more than that.  We can’t keep your confidence and be effective in our communities if you don’t trust us.

How to Keep Bad Cops on the Beat.

I came across this interesting article which looks at POST organizations like MCOLES and shows what an effective organization can do and what happens when it doesn’t do its job.  If there isn’t an effective “police of the police,” serious problems are visited upon the communities and the residents of those communities with little or no avenue of redress.  MCOLES is a state agency with about 18 employees and an executive director who is selected by the 15 member Commission.  There are about 19,000 police in Michigan.

In Michigan, MCOLES is charged by state statute to be the “police of the police.”  MCOLES can take an officers license to practice under certain conditions and we are one of the states mentioned in the article that can only de-license an officer upon conviction or plea of guilty to a felony.  So there has to be a conviction for a felony (serious) crime, not a charge, but a conviction and then the officer is offered due process again through the state’s administrative court system asking them to show cause why they should not lose their license.  Ultimately these cases come before the Commission where an official action has to be taken.  There are approximately 20 de-licensing actions that occur annually.  Most are uncontested, since there has already been a conviction in a court of law.  Many are incarcerated.

While I wouldn’t advocate creating a whole new bureaucracy to deal with every potential offense by a police officer in some sort of parallel universe to internal department discipline, I do think there is more that the public expects from us.   I think there are some crimes, when convicted (undergone all due process offered under the law) that should require that an officer lose his/her license although it is a misdemeanor crime.  For example, a larceny (theft) plea that lowers a felony charge to a misdemeanor would mean that an officer convicted of a misdemeanor larceny could keep his/her job.  There are are offenses for which a guilty plea could put an officer on the sex offender list but would not cause them to lose their license.  I think the public expects more from us.

Currently there is some legislation that was introduced by Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, R, from southwest Michigan, at our request.  It would give the Commission more ability to deal with cops who have been convicted of crimes in a court of law.

The vast, vast majority of Michigan police are highly ethical people who provide selfless service to their communities, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. But there are a few who have made poor choices and do not deserve to wear the same badge.  MCOLES helps us keep credibility and serves this state to the best of its ability under its limited budget and authority.

Fire Lieutenant Promotions Announced

The City of Auburn Hills is pleased to announce the promotions of three firefighters to the rank of Fire Lieutenant. These promotions will improve efficiencies within the department and the quality of fire services and emergency medical services provided to the community.

  • Michael Strunk has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant effective July 13, 2013.  Strunk started his career with the Auburn Hills Fire Department in 1996 as a paid-on-call firefighter.  He was promoted to the rank of full-time firefighter in 2000.  Strunk is a Paramedic/Firefighter and is certified to handle Hazardous Materials.  He is a graduate of the Oakland Community College Fire Academy and is currently working towards completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.  Strunk lives in Auburn Hills with his wife and two children.
  • Owen Milks has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant effective July 14, 2013.  Milks started his career with the Auburn Hills Fire Department in 2000 as a paid-on-call firefighter.  He was promoted to the rank of full-time firefighter in 2002.  Milks is an Instructor Coordinator Paramedic, Fire Fighter Instructor, and Hazardous Materials Technician.  He is a graduate of the North Oakland County Fire Academy.  Milks lives in Orion Township with his wife and three children.
  • John Hering has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant effective July 15, 2013.  Hering started his career with the Auburn Hills Fire Department in 1994 as a paid-on-call firefighter.  He then worked as a firefighter for the City of Detroit from 1999 to 2002.  He returned to Auburn Hills in 2002 when he was hired as a full-time firefighter.  Hering is an Emergency Medical Technician.  He graduated from Oakland Community College fire academy and has a Fire Science certificate from Macomb Community College.  Hering lives in Auburn Hills with his wife and three children.

A ceremony has been planned at the City Council meeting of August 19, 2013 at 7 pm at which the lieutenants will receive their oath of office.

The Lieutenants will be responsible for the day-to-day operations on their respective shifts.  They will work closely with the Fire Division Administration to ensure that operations are run effectively.

Our Fire Department never before had the rank of lieutenant among our career full-time personnel so this is an important step.  Being promoted in our department is not an easy task.  Several of our personnel completed the assessment center testing.  First they must take a difficult written test drawn from textbooks and manuals used in the fire profession to demonstrate their mastery of the technical aspects of fire fighting, incident command and personnel management.  If they were successful, they moved on to the assessment center where they were rated by fire professionals from other departments on how well they demonstrated skills that we expect an Auburn Hills fire lieutenant to have.  I can assure you it was a difficult process.  We respect those who did not succeed because of their tremendous investment in studying and preparation.  To them we will give additional training and preparation for promotion in the future.

We are confident in the abilities of our new lieutenants and look forward to the new capabilities they will bring to the service level in this community.  Personally, this is one of the very best aspects of my job and always a thrill to promote deserving personnel.  I am just getting to know these individuals and I look forward to working with them and including them as part of our entire command staff of both police and fire.  Both police and fire division work together for continuous improvement in the services we provide.

Congratulations!

Congratulations Sgt. Stoinski

Sgt Jim Stoinski

Sgt Jim Stoinski

If you are a regular reader of this blog you’ll note that we are very proud of our personnel.  We like to highlight them and their accomplishments. Pictured is Sergeant James Stoinski.  He graduated last Friday from the MSU School of Police Staff and Command.  I attended his graduation which was held at the Michigan State Police Academy in Lansing.

Staff and Command is an intensive course for police command officers.  Sgt. Stoinski committed a tremendous amount of his own time to complete the required coursework as well as being away from his family for several weeks to attend.  We believe this type of coursework helps us prepare our future leadership.

Interestingly this course is of the “problem based learning” genre.  The idea behind it is that essentially policing is a problem solving activity (which I concur that it is).  Those problems are ill-defined and therefore must be defined and resources developed toward a solution that works fo the community and the department.  The course work builds on this idea by directing students toward finding and analyzing resources.   This teaching style has produced some excellent outcomes for us.  The students work in groups and partially using technology to “meet” in a distance learning environment meant to develop their use of technology, an important tool in our modern policing world.

Sergeant Stoinski joins other department alumni Lt. Ryan Gagnon, Lt. Jill McDonnell, Sgt. Steve Groehn, Sgt. Rick Leonard.  Others on our command staff attended the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command like I did:  Sergeant David Amon, Sergeant Mike O’Hala, Lt. Cas Miarka.  Our newer sergeants are waiting in line for their opportunity to attend this level of training.  We believe in this type of advanced training and I think its outcomes can be seen in the quality of work done by our officers.

Congratulations, Sgt. Stoinki and GO GREEN!

Challenge Coin for MSU Staff and Command

Challenge Coin for MSU Staff and Command