Española Mayor Javier Sanchez and the entire city council agree on two things:
• The city’s police department has big problems, which some believe the Department of Justice should come in and monitor.
• They all deserve a raise.
Those two thoughts go against anything a rational thinking business person would do. On the one hand city leaders say the police department needs training and must work to correct some terrible behavior on the part of some officers.
That discussion brought about different solutions from city councilors. The mayor suggested a civilian oversight committee, much like the one Albuquerque is trying to utilize. Of course city police pushed back on this. We mere mortals can’t begin to understand the complexity of being a cop, treating people with dignity and respect and upholding the law without violating citizens’ civil rights.
While the oversight committee seemed draconian to police, other city leaders thought the city should seek help from the Department of Justice. While we appreciate the attention to the Police Department’s issues, this is clearly over the top.
Again looking at the city of Albuquerque’s issues, its police department shot and killed over 20 people before the Department of Justice stepped in. We highly doubt they’ll look at Española’s police brutality, or excessive force, issues as needing their attention.
This is a training issue coupled with a lack of leadership to ensure training is completed and implemented. We don’t need an oversight committee or the Department of Justice to tell us that. We just need a police chief that can carry out those two things and hold line officers to proper behavior standards.
City leaders also must understand what giving blanket raises does to morale. When someone who does not perform adequately and is not disciplined for bad behavior receives a raise, it lowers the standard for all people in that person’s rank and pay range. Why should you work hard and follow protocol when someone who doesn’t, suffers no consequences and gets the same pay and raise?
This sends a bad message, much like bad teachers getting the same raise good, hard-working teachers deserve. We get it, it’s bureaurcracy and government standards. Private businesses cannot operate this way. We’d go out of business.
However, government leaders can hold government employees accountable without sending unions into an indignant frenzy: training, leadership.