Remember the movie "Animal House"? In one of Kevin Bacon's earliest roles he plays a butt kissing pledge of a fraternity (Chip Diller) who is also a member of Neidermeyer's ROTC regiment. In the climactic final scene he can be seen, in uniform, screaming at the top of his lungs "all is well" as he is getting trampled by the chaotic masses running hysterically through the downtown streets. I hate to say it, but that scene reminds me of someone.
I have been a supporter of Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott since his appointment after the disastrous tenure of Ken Miller. Chief Scott walked into a situation that was bad before Miller arrived and was made worse by Miller allowing City Council, the City manager and virtually every opportunistic antagonist in Greensboro to gain further access and influence over the police. Our City Council has a "few" folks that are supportive of our officers and department but have no one that has any clue what being a police officer entails. They also aren't trying to educate themselves either. When is the last time any one of them did a ride along? Citizen's academy? Even the Citizen's Academy, though a good way to learn some things about the job, doesn't fully describe the day to day turmoil that can occur in an officer's life. The job can be and is often a roller coaster of emotions that takes a very special type of individual to navigate. There is stress in that job. In 29 years of police work I never fully understood what the amount of that stress was or its' impact on my life. It wasn't until after retiring did I realize the amount of stress that was there from the job. What I did realize was the amount of stress that came from a very real part of that job that civilians usually do not consider; bureaucracy.
Over the past month I have heard from many of my former colleagues. They are not happy. They are counting the days, minutes, seconds to retirement. They are looking for new jobs. Some are stuck because they are too close to retirement to leave without negatively affecting their futures and families. Many who are not close to retirement or relatively new in the profession are leaving. The department is very short on personnel. The recent police academies are not being filled and cannot keep up with the attrition. What was once a shining star among national law enforcement agency recognition has now been reduced to one of the lowest paid agencies in the area, state and nation. North Carolina currently ranks as the 8th lowest paying state for law enforcement. 30 years ago, Greensboro trailed only the State Highway Patrol in this category. It is now the least favorable agency to work for in Guilford County.
Yet, Chief Scott is telling us "all is well"; the attrition seems to be trampling him going out the door.
Why? Does Chief Scott really believe this? His officers don't. A significant portion of his administrators don't. The retirees that communicate with their former colleagues don't. I would even wager a city councilman or two don't. When Chief Scott says it, does he really mean it?
Or, is Chief Scott in full survival mode? I have written about, observed and fully believe that Chief Scott was the target and victim of an attempted coup. Nelson Johnson and his cronies which include certain city council members as well as certain departmental members attempted mightily to have him removed so that he could be replaced with their guy but failed. They will try again. Nelson Johnson has been adamant about it since the moment he found out he wasn't getting his way the second Chief Scott was chosen. 28 years of hard work and dedication would be out the window short of achieving a deserved retirement costing him thousands if not millions of earned retirement benefits. Has this caused Chief Scott to reduce his role as a leader of the department in order to do what is best for his family?
I believe the answer is somewhere between the two points. Family comes first. He has no advocates of significance speaking on his behalf publicly. Maybe the ridiculously left wing media isn't reporting on those advocates? More likely, what advocates he has have not been speaking up because it is the easy way out. Elections will be held in November but I see absolutely zero help on the horizon for our Chief, our department or even our city in the way of candidates who will make a difference or citizens that are paying attention to what has been going on the past 15 years.
Going into survival mode requires a person in a position like Chief Scott's to agree to things he has to know won't work and can't work. Beards and green hair may be cute and well meaning but do not inspire confidence with police officers when he is not loudly supporting officers who are being bombarded with stupid and inane agendists that are constantly allowed to disrupt council business meetings for the purposes of blaming police officers for daring to arrest criminals. A good example is the recent discovery of a young man that apparently got himself arrested during Fun Fourth that Nelson Johnson has located as his most recent "victim" that he wants paid. He also wants to use this against Chief Scott and if you have any notion that his reasons for getting involved are honorable, you are an idiot! His history tells you that. Just so happens I am familiar with this particular "victim" and his mother. I guarantee you there are other SRO's, school personnel and administrators that are as well.
Survival mode for Chief Scott (and I am basing this on knowing and working with him for years) requires a bit of self-induced denial". In other words, he has to convince himself to a certain extent that these actions and words do not defy common sense policing or it can drive the honorable man and police officer that I know him to be crazy and destroy him from inside. Family comes first; no police officer that I know will dispute that. However when you take that course there is virtually no way to balance that with maintaining officer morale or confidence with those under your command. Under our current political and city administrative personnel and the climate they have created, no one else is capable of doing one bit better.
Greensboro Officers not only have been subjected to idiotic statements from politicians, insane and short sighted apologies to criminals and city officials who lack any semblance of intelligence or common sense, they have had to sit back and watch criminals get paid ridiculous amounts of taxpayer monies without even allowing a court of law to decide guilt or innocence. They have watched as our "supposed" leaders cower in the face of radical extremist views with nary a hint of verbal or written support. In the meantime, other municipalities are trumpeting and the media is reporting double digit raises for police officers. In a world where candidates are eschewing entering or remaining in the profession, better run cities are taking action. Greensboro is crumbling.
I like Wayne Scott. I admire and respect Wayne Scott. I understand the position he is in. It SUCKS! He is no different than anyone else that has been given the task of working for folks that care nothing about city employees and only their position in the Greensboro "elite". Wayne Scott cannot make chicken salad when all the ingredients above him are chicken shit. I'm sure he suffers. I know the police officers, support personnel and other employees of the Greensboro Police Department are suffering as well. I am not nor have I ever been in a position like his. In many ways, I see him standing off to the side of the rampaging crowd lest he be trampled flat; like Kevin Bacon. In one way, I cannot blame him; self and family preservation. He is chum in shark infested waters. In most ways, I feel bad for my officers for they are the ones being trampled beneath the feet of some very selfish and evil people.
Captain Al Stewart gave my rookie school (the fightin' 59th PBIC) an analogy I have never forgotten. He said that in our society, there are 25% pro police citizens, 50% no nothings and 25% assholes who hate the police. They are defined as 25% that love us for the job we do, 50% who have never encountered personally a police officer and 25% who are criminals and left wing extremists who do not like any authority. Until that 50% wakes up in Greensboro, we will continue to be castigated for the amusement of antagonistic opportunists.
Listen to the Mayor or read her Facebook posts. Pay attention to the other left wing council members. Do the research and see if you come to the conclusion that all is swell"!