Credit Where Credit is Due

Imagine if you found an occupied stolen car and initiated a traffic stop. As the car stops, the driver bails and you chase him on foot, jumping walls and dodging trees. As the suspect rounds the next corner he is tackled by a perimeter unit who just happened to be at the right place and right time. You cuff the suspect and thank the other officer for his help. In the car you recover some dope and a stolen gun. To add to all of this, the suspect is a documented gang member. You transport the suspect to the interview room, and after a 90 minute interview, he confesses to taking the car and buying the dope. (For personal use of course)

As you emerge from the interview room, tired and hungry, that perimeter officer is entertaining a crowd of detectives and supervisors with an incredible story of how he delivered a text-book open field tackle on the suspect, who was at least six foot ten, 250 pounds. He relays the story in such glory you would think he had just captured the head of the American chapter of the Russian Criminal Syndicate. He accepts a series of high fives and “good job bro” compliments, and never once mentions that you started the whole series of events. It bothers you that he is behaving this way, but what do you do? Do you interrupt and say, “hey wait a minute, if it wasn’t for me, you would have never tackled that guy”, or do you chalk it up to arrogance and just continue with your duties?

This is predicament the MPA executive board has found itself in many times over the last year. We emerge from meetings with Chief Gascon and the FOP tired, but amp’ed about the future. We go back to work, or head home feeling like we have made progress in some areas, and understanding that other areas still need work. As we log on to the Internet that evening we find a series of statements issued by the FOP taking the fame and glory for every good idea that was brought up in the meeting. Now we are faced with a decision, do we scream and cry about it? Do we let it go? How do we tell our members that we are working hard for them, even in the face of such opposition?

Every officer has an ethical responsibility to give credit where credit is due, with the understanding that all true success uplifts the department as a whole. When a group chooses to boast about accomplishments it had little or nothing to do with, it de-legitimizes the entire labor movement and we all suffer for it. Our hope is that Chief Gascon’s latest decision to post the meeting minutes will help alleviate the problem. It seems petty to have this argument, but it also seems petty to advance your group’s status by taking credit for others’ work.