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Sunday, September 22, 2013

More on commentary from the uninformed; part one

A couple of chronic complainers are agitating about matters they don’t understand, as usual. Surprisingly, some of their unsupported arguments have been adopted by a Register columnist. We think the Fourth Estate can do better at checking their sources. See part 2, coming soon.

Note that the two “experts” have written and commented about many things; but not cabbages and kings, – yet. That may change if the Mayor takes a position on either. For example, if the Mayor proposes a resolution declaring cabbages good food on St. Patrick’s Day, they’ll likely lambaste him for lining his pockets with kickbacks from cabbage growers.

Double the rhetoric, ignore reality 

Just as believably, each proposes that: Public safety must be addressed immediately by increasing the PD staffing levels, although they also cry that it takes 18 months to put a trained officer on the streets. 

So, Costa Mesa should immediately authorize a lot of extra jobs for Law Enforcement Officers (LEO’s) which will somehow alleviate the difficulty finding qualified officers for the openings we now have.

The fallacies in “more cops = less crime”  are part of their rhetoric, but have been discussed and refuted ad nauseam in this blog, in Police Science articles and books and by other informed sources.

Cops or "frightened little old ladies" 

One concept, parroted in the Register op-ed piece, is that Council hostility, shown by the mayor’s lawsuit and comments makes police officers have "negative attitudes." They opine, suggest and demand that the Mayor’s suit against the police union be dropped to help the city. More about this issue in Part 2.

LEO’s are charged with enormous responsibility, have considerable flexibility in responding to sometimes life and death situations, and must be stable in situations of stress. For example, they’d be criticized in most departments for allowing rage to get out of control – or even develop -- when a protester spit at them. That is, they're expected to be professionals and to take charge of their environments.

Internal or external 

Here are two types of personality styles used in Personality Psychology, related to how one views the outcomes in their lives. Which do you think fits the LEO we want to see in Costa Mesa?

A person's "locus” is either internal (the person believes they can control their life) or external (meaning they believe that their decisions and life are controlled by environmental factors which they cannot influence). Internals believe that every action has its consequence, which makes them accept the fact that things happen and it depends on them if they want to have control over it or not. 

Those with external locus of control believe that their own actions are a result of external factors that are beyond their control. Perhaps they would cry, or resign if the Mayor called some of their union leaders "thugs?" We think it's unlikely that any such cops would survive orientation.

Wimps and whiners don't attract good cops to Costa Mesa 

So, if the mayor’s suing the union about alleged personal abuses, the cops are going to have a “negative” attitude?  Costa Mesa doesn’t need that kind of person in responsible positions. Good cops will “feel negative” when they don’t do as good a job as they'd like. They aren't likely to mope and whine because the Mayor sues their union.

When programmers were in short supply no one thought that they’d avoid jobs at Boeing because the company was in hostile negotiations with a union. Programmers, like professional LEO’s, seek jobs that meet their and their family’s needs.

The complainers are implying that those programmers were more mature, responsible, and results-oriented than Costa Mesa cops. That’s ridiculous. We have a great PD, skilled and honest officers, and generally excellent leadership. That helps make CMPD a great department, one we think many great LEO’s would consider joining.

What might keep them away is poor quality schools for their kids, trashy neighborhoods or inadequate availability of youth sports to keep their kids out of gangs. The effects of the Mayor’s comments – or of the whines of the self-appointed experts on everything, aren't likely to carry a lot of weight with good officers – who will generally hold to an internal locus of control.
Eliminate the niduses of crime, support the schools and youth sports, and clean up the neighborhoods and parks; professionals want to live in nice places that give their families the best opportunities.

Part 2: Why uninformed nonsense right now?

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