As many of you know I am recently retired from the Greensboro Police Department after 29 years of service. I have had the good fortune to work alongside and for Chief Scott. I would like to publicly congratulate Chief Scott "unconditionally". I applaud his stated vision for the immediate and long term path he wants the department to take and appreciate hearing about initiatives that involve "people things". Not mechanical things, not electronic things, not computer things and not cosmetic things. Everything Chief Scott talked about today were of a nature that will not have to be budgeted and not break the bank. They involve communication and cooperation and can be accomplished without documentation. In other words, everything he spoke of today is realistic and easy to initiate with leadership. I believe Chief Scott possesses this leadership as well as the ability to enhance the leadership abilities of those who work for him. This is very important to me because today I saw a milestone in Chief Scott's career and a badly needed positive turn in the history of the Greensboro Police Department become obscured by those who claim to have the community's best interest at heart but never share one single detail about why they are always in opposition.
For instance, the group protesting and holding a news conference in front of the PD before the ceremony introducing Chief Scott. They identified themselves as representatives of the Beloved Community Center and the organization Black Lives Matter. The broadcast interview stated that they were there to oppose the appointment of Chief Scott because the interview process needed to be more inclusive. Okay, how so? I know that Reverend Nelson Johnson was involved. That takes care of the BCC. I'm sure the City Council had input. They represent ALL of the citizens of Greensboro. Who wasn't represented from this city in the hiring and interview process? Obviously there is a limit to the number of people that can be involved so that the process can be effective and not ground to a halt with too many voices talking over each other.
While I defend your right to free speech and your opinions on community leadership, I do not recognize your right to interrupt ceremonies for no other reason than "we don't like it". Details would be nice. Reasons declaring your opposition or statistics or even personal opinion of the direction you want the department to go would be acceptable forms of complaint. Even a presentation and civil debate over the qualifications of your preferred candidate would lend positive conversation to the process. One City Councilman was apparently "angry" about the promotion of Chief Scott over her preferred candidate though the only reference to credentials was "her resume is impressive". What about her resume impresses you? What qualifications do you think she possesses that Chief Scott does not? Lastly Councilman, why do you believe an outside hire was a better way to go?
I am not a reporter. There must not be any reporters in Greensboro either because if I can think of asking these simple questions why can't someone working for the media with a Journalism degree think of them? Scared? Different agenda? You folks in the media are in love with the First Amendment part of Journalism 101, how about remembering the fair and objective reporting section of Journalism 102.
I am not a hypocrite so here's my position on why Wayne Scott was the more qualified of the two finalists.
Experience as a Law Enforcement Officer. Wayne Scott has 24 years of experience and by my recollection has worked in or supervised in every facet of the Police Department with the possible exception of Internal Affairs. He has much experience as a Commanding Officer in tactical and special event situations as well as supervising administrative and investigative units. He has been exposed to the issues regarding Greensboro city and GPD budget planning and has a familiarity with the department eliminating the need for him to initially evaluate everything within the department. He has already established community ties and has identified those in the community in which he wants to strengthen the relationship with the department. During the interview process he outlined a specific course of action both short and long term as well as his vision for where he wants to lead the Greensboro Police Department. That last sentence is very important because it has been quite some time since we knew exactly where we were going. He is an internal hire as opposed to the two recent external hires that were disastrous.
Deputy Chief Outlaw of the Oakland Police Department by comparison has only 17 years of law enforcement experience. As admitted by the City Manager when explaining his choice she has very little command experience. She has served in a department that has had an extreme amount of struggles the past 15 years. According to Cityrating.com, a website designed to assist citizens when researching a city to live in or relocate to, her department paid out $57 million dollars to alleged victims of police abuse occurring between 2001 and 2012. Another $800,000 was paid to two civilians who were illegally searched by Oakland Officers in 2012. The Oakland Department under Federal Court Order was placed under the supervision of an independent monitoring service in 2012 after being threatened by a Federal Court judge in 2011 of that action unless the department could produce a written plan to address over 1000 citizen complaints of the department's handling of the Occupy Oakland organization. The City of Oakland's Violent Crime Rate was 415.23% higher than the national average in 2012 and 371.15% higher than the State of California's average. Their Property Crime Rate was 132% higher than the national and state averages. According to Cityrating.com, those numbers are expected to increase in 2015. Chief Outlaw according to my sources presented a vague plan of the direction she would take the city in, which is understandable because she works over 3,000 miles away and other than vague innuendo apparently has no connections to this area at all.
In my opinion, the Oakland Police Department does not appear to be a good training ground for up and coming administrators and certainly not for first time Chief's of Police of a city this size. Dragging her 3000 miles across the country to a foreign environment would not even be fair to her. When you stack the qualifications side by side they're not close.
What bothers me is that it appears there were two categories of applicants, internal and external, that instead of being looked at equally together appears to have been whittled down to one of each. In my opinion, every Greensboro Officer at the rank of Major was more qualified to be Chief of Police in Greensboro than Deputy Chief Outlaw and so were a majority of the GPD Captains.
I am happy that the city manager got this right. I agree that there should have been at least one other group included in the process; the working men and women of the Greensboro Police Department and I am happy for the long needed stability this promotion brings them. I am happy for the citizens of Greensboro who's voices are often not heard due to the media's overexposure of groups who are not interested in what is best for the city but only in their agenda of "keeping score".
To be thorough, I must ask one last question. To the "angry" City Councilman who wanted an external candidate; if the two finalists roles were reversed, would you still want the external one?
Congratulations Chief Scott! You deserved a better moment today than dealing with agendas.