Thursday, September 10, 2015

Good Job?

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?


  1. Teresa et el. I was going to email you this week to ask about The Hamitonian. I am glad to see you back though.

    The question here is:

    Is it more likely that the Chief of Police (no less), is hiding this sinister view of how black people behave in society, and decided to take the opportunity to put in a veiled comment.


    Was he simply trying to boost morale, as stated here in The Hamiltonian.

    Of course, it was the latter. But in true Hamilton style, the "other press" and Clr. Green are making it into something it is not.

    I am very dissapointed in Clr Green. He may be stoking the flames himself, with his comment.

  2. Thanks for using common sense on TH. Not so common elsewhere ;-)

  3. Marvin RyderSeptember 10, 2015

    It is to be remembered that the Chief had only two options - share the feedback in its entirety or not share the feedback. If he had edited the comment to eliminate any possibly inflammatory material, the editing would have raised even more questions. One could even go backward and wonder if past bits of feedback had been edited to make them seem better (or worse) than they actually were.

    I can understand both points of view - sharing compliments with a work force which feels very scrutinized especially given developments in the United States this year versus not sharing any information if it could be seen as potentially inflammatory. In some ways, it feels like a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" scenario.

    It would be interesting to speculate whether The Spectator would have published the commentary if it had been sent as a Letter to the Editor.

    1. I fail to see how he would be damned if he hadn't, he could have easily congratulated the troops without the editorial commentary. I believe this was calculated and carefully considered and for the record, I concur with the sentiment expressed

  4. Green's hyper sensitivity to the issue is a rookie mistake and hurts rather than helps things.

    The Chief has done nothing wrong. Sometimes a duck is just a duck.

    Each time I read the mainstream media refusing to challenge councillors, I am reminded as to why I tune it out.

  5. Whats missing from the Spec article and from Geen and Whitehead;s take ion this, is that this is not who the Chief is. Anyone who has met the Chief knows that he is not the type who would encourage and us vs them culture. Shame on the way this has been handled by these councilors and by the press.

  6. It is time to explore systemic racism within Hamilton Police Service. This is a solid opportunity to do so. Much thanks to Councillor Green for bringing this issue to the forefront.

    1. I doubt you know what systemic racism is

    2. Suzanne, with respect, you obviously do not have a grasp of the concept of systemic racism. You also seem easily impressed.

  7. if you change the words black kids to something like abused women would that change your view of how the Chief IGNORANTLY AND INSENSITIVELY dealt with this?
    Glad we have someone like Green who picked on this issue. For too long the power brokers in Hamilton have been insensitive to the feelings and rights of those who are powerless.
    If the Chief wanted to compliment his staff all he needed to do was to say he has received numerous emails of commendation and wanted to thank his staff and to keep up the good work.

  8. I am embarrassed by the way the local paper and Green have gone on about this. Do not play with concepts such as racism lightly. They are very serious matters and to try to drag the Chief o Police into this, is so improper and an insult to those who experience racism.

  9. I beleive that C. Green and the press should publicly apologize for taking somethign and twisting it so badly. It may sell papers but it is doing nothing for C. Green imho.

  10. Welcome back to The Hamiltonian.

    This proves that Hamilton can make a circus out of anything. I take the Chief's comments at face value, the way he intended them. If you want to fight racism, do it more effectively. This is an embarassment.


  11. Green should apologize to the Chief, the HPS and all citizens of Hamilton. He is making something out of nothing for his own press time. Dreschel fell for it hook, line and sinker.


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