Legacy

Last week I had the honor to attend and present the Outstanding Performance Award at the Detroit Police Academy Graduation. Chief Craig and his staff did an outstanding job of conducting another academy and preparing 13 new officers for the streets of Detroit.

There are 20 academies in our state and I attend many graduations. I never get tired of these events and feel privileged to share that moment with the graduates and the academy staff. After 6 years and many graduations I still get emotional at each and every one.

There was a specific moment in the Detroit Graduation where at the end the graduates were marching out in cadence at the conclusion of the ceremony. For me the symbolism of them marching in step, singing, very proud and happy , marching into the unknown was very strong and moving. It was a notable moment for me as I wondered had I personally done enough in my capacity to prepare these new officers for this profession? Did the Detroit training staff do all they can do, has my staff adequately prepared a curriculum that gives these graduates the tools they need to be successful? The answer I realized is yes but can we do enough?

It is a delicate balance of providing adequate training in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable amount of costs. Training is a joint venture between MCOLES and the agencies for which the graduates work. Each of us has to take responsibility for providing the skills and tools for these officers to survive and provide excellent service to our citizens. When I say each of us that includes not only myself, MCOLES staff but FTO’s , supervisors, and fellow officers.

It is the primary responsibility of us veterans of law enforcement to take a part in the training and mentoring of these new officers. Training and mentoring are a daily process. I consider these graduates my legacy and so should every current law enforcement professional. I challenge each of us to take a strong role in the development of our next generation of officers. Their success becomes our greatest legacy.

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Remembrance

I was very humbled to be the keynote speaker at the Livonia Police Memorial ceremony last night. Chief Caid organized a very moving and wonderful tribute to not only Livonia’s fallen but to all of the State’s law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. The Chief also recognized the Livonia officers who retired and have passed in the last year.

As the roll call of all of the officers was read I was reminded of the brotherhood and sisterhood of this great profession. I did not know the officers who died in the line of duty at Livonia but I did know many of the retirees who have passed. Having retired from Garden City and just down the road from Livonia I worked and socialized with many of them. There were many retirees in the audience as well whom I know and have been friends with for many years.

While I did not know the officers who died in the line of duty I felt I knew of them. In fact my speech was about that fact. While I did not work with —  or have the honor to have met them — I have been them, working patrol. I experienced many of the things they did, working nights, holidays, adrenaline highs, emotional lows and all the other experiences that police officers go through. So while I never spoke to them, I feel that kinship and likewise that sense of loss.

It reminds me to not take for granted these relationships we develop in our profession. Especially it is relevant to remember all who have passed and to cherish those relationships we still have during the coming Police Memorial week,