Leaders will often times pass on complimentary comments to staff, when such comments are received by the public or others who take the time to do so. In a world where people are quick to complain when things go astray and yet hesitant to offer positive feedback when good service is rendered, it is tempting to seize such moments. Often times, a leader will see this as an opportunity to boost morale and remind subordinates that the job they are doing is important and is appreciated. In jobs where staff are prone to take the brunt of bad situations and frustrations, such morale boosters are often very well received and needed.
It appears that this was the intent of Chief of Police Glenn DeCaire's when he affixed a personal note to an email that was received. The email, appears to have been received through the Police Service's website and commends the police on the way they responded to the senseless and unfortunate murder of Shariek Douse, who was shot and killed in the parking lot of a housing complex on McNab north.
The Chief's handwritten note reads: "All of our Officers that responded to the (hard to make out word) homicide did a great job. Keep up the good work."
The email that was received however, also contained the following statement, that was made by the person who sent in the email " I also wanted to say that I believe that it is time for these black kids to stop blaming the Police for crimes that are committed by gangs and individuals causing this grief"
While the Chief's comments did not focus on that part of the email, the fact that he commented on such an email, albeit from another angle, caught the ire of Clr. Matthew Green who believes that the Chief's comments may be contributing to an "us vs. them" mentality when it comes to community relationships.Further, it appears that the Clr, interprets DeCaire's comments akin to his stamp of approval of the entire messaging in the email.
Police Services spokesperson Catherine Martin advised that the Chief's practice to communicate community feedback directly to members, does not mean that the Chief endorsed the opinion in the email. Clr. Green remained unconvinced, arguing there may be an issue of cultural competency.
Dreschel's write up in The Spec (see it here or buy the print copy), describes the statement in the email as it pertains to blaming police, "provocative". Further, he states" True, the offending sentence was in the context of a specific killing and, apparently, community comments made to the media in the aftermath. But by posting it in its entirety, De Caire appears to be remarkably tone deaf to the sensitivities and nuances of a diverse community."
What do you think? Do you think that by virtue of affixing his comments on the email, the Chief ought to have known better as to what the reaction to them would be? Or do you believe the Chief was simply acknowledging good work, and took a moment to offer a morale booster to the members?