Kameel Stanley has an interesting story in today's Tampa Bay Times: "St. Petersburg Police paid unapproved RNC Consultant $9500." You could get all caught up in the whole RNC part of this debacle, but the point is more subtle.
Since I was the manager of the Police IT Department for five years prior to my retirement in 2011, I am very familiar with the systems and the levels of required support. I reported to Assistant Director McDonald; our relationship was often strained, but he always had the Department's best interest at the root of his decisions. The technology is really not the issue.
The PD IT operation has no formal technical leadership. Staff has been fired or left. and the division is very thin. A recommendation was made to combine the small PD IT operation with the City's central IT shop of over 80 people where cross training could occur. But the PD in its typical parochial way did not want to "give up" control.
If these systems fail, the PD is almost brought to a standstill. So outside support should be brought in, in any critical situation. In other words, McDonald made the right call.
Which brings us to the real point here: Once again the Police Chief looks to deflect responsibility on a member of the staff and move the spotlight on the PD RNC party cost to the miniscule.
Instead of acting like a leader, backing up his staff's decision, which assured the department's systems would be supported, he throws McDonald under the bus and tries to make himself look good.
Classic Chuck Harmon duck, weave and rope-a-dope.
By the way, where was McDonald's boss, Assistant Chief Cedrick Gordon? Probably working on his radio show.
This level of support required a contract with Intergraph that had to be approved. Rarely was any significant IT expenditure or contract made without the Assistant Chief's knowledge. Why not "verbally counsel" the assistant chief? What happened to the chain of command?
Oh wait, let's just dump on the civilian, so all of us real cops can look good.
The entire PD top chain of command spends most of its time trying to avoid responsibility, making sure there are underlings to blame for anything that goes wrong. When was the last time you heard or read that Chuck Harmon said, "I am responsible for this"? Think real hard.
It is way past time for Mayor Foster to realize his Police Department needs some new leadership. It's time for the Mayor to do a little more than talk to the Police Chief. It's time for some action.
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