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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Hamiltonian- On Chief Glenn DeCaire - Opinion

Reducing Chief Glenn DeCaire’s decision to leave the Police Services in favour of another opportunity, as a ruthless act of “looking out for number 1” not only does a disservice to the Chief and Hamilton, but it also fails to recognize the history and the context surrounding the decision.

While the Chief himself may be prepared to characterize his decision to leave as a pragmatic one based on the prospect of greater longevity in the new job, it would be difficult to completely cast aside the Chief’s experience with politicians and some factions of the press, as contextual.

As an example, the Chief found himself in a bitter battle over the police services budget with Clr., Terry Whitehead leading the charge for restraint, while the Chief stood steadfast to ensure the service’s ability to provide reasonable protection against crime and to promote deterrence. The Hamiltonian continues to believe that both perspectives were valid, but wonders about the underlying undertones; the message being, the need to toe the line. The Chief's willingness to engage the public and connect with them, also must have ruffeled some feathers.

The conversion to encrypted communications, while offering up an alternative way to keep in the loop, also caused controversy in some factions. Again, The Chief’s concern about putting information in the hands of only those who need it in order to protect the public, seemed to have been poorly received by some.

Many portrayals in the press were less than flattering, often parading around a picture of the Chief taking a question from an audience member, the particular picture chosen, having the unfortunate effect of making the Chief look as though he was doing a dictator-like salute. Additionally, tagging him with the childish reference of “Chief don’t care” only further underscored the levels to which some stooped.



Rumours and speculation around whether his contract would be extended time and time again, were other factors that swirled in the mix.

Hamilton politics, which appear to require obedience and almost carte blanche deference to the directing minds of this city, in the form of its local councillors, also proved to be an irritant. The Chief found himself trying to satisfy politicians while remaining on the hook to ensure the public was reasonably served. In matters that can very well be life and death, this is no trivial consideration.

So while the Chief may have made a sensible decision, albeit at a considerable reduction in pay, it would be naïve to reason that the factors above, and others, would have not  influenced him. And to the extent it did, it is a sad commentary on the way Hamilton treats its leaders.

Some may argue that his exits from the police services could have been handled differently, but on balance, it may be that we have driven out an exceptional leader, or perhaps, allowed conditions which lead to his departure.


The Chief’s innovations and his refined approach to policing smart, whereby capacity remains nimble so as to be matched against need in a fluid way, and his ability to track and report on its impact, and continue to refine, proved exceptional and is one of the many attributes of this Chief that will be dearly missed.

Job longevity as a factor, must be acknowledged to be a valid consideration. But when one couples that with a substantive pay cut and voluntarily stepping down from such a prestigious position, it may be reasonable to assume that there is more to the story.

The Hamiltonian salutes Chief DeCaire for his service and believes that it will be difficult to come by another of his caliber. Sometimes you don't know what you have, until you lose it.


The Hamiltonian

29 comments:

  1. I think this should be sent as a letter to the editor at the spec. excellent

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    1. That's really funny Anonymous. If the Spec were the least bit interested in printing the real news then Hamilton might start to be a different place altogether.

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  2. Thank-you for telling the truth. I agree 100%.

    Salvatore

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  3. Chief DeCaire only presented information to the public that suited his position. From Tasers to lapel cameras he did not make information accessible to the public.
    We need a chief who more transparent and more respectful and open to differing public opinion

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  4. I have always said that Hamilton politicians do not understand the far reaching impacts of their behaviour. The Pan Am games were a big yawn as the city could not drum up the excitement needed to be a success. The Chief, who is a textbook example of exceptional leadership, has now chosen to leave. The mayor seems pretty much oblivious to what is really happeningf in Hamilton and what has been happening for quiote along time. And the mainstream paper- well, I stopped reading after the chief dont care schoolyard talk. Yes, this Chief will be missed and I am sure he will replaced with someone who is willing to blend and go with the flow. Very sad indeed. Amazing write up by the way.
    Sorce

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  5. I cannot belive that Eisenberg and Ferguson were surprised. Really? You really think you could treat people that way and they will stay?

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  6. I always appreciate others opinions on such matters. One thing though that needs to be cleared up is that Mr. DeCaire won't be taking a pay cut when you factor in his new salary plus his public pension. I don't blame him for putting his family first given the issues, blame and derogatory comments he receives daily as the Chief.

    I think he is a true leader. He made decisions that advanced policing in Hamilton. I really hope that they (Police Board and Council) don't select a new Chief that doesn't have the guts to do the right things and simply hire someone from within the ranks to appease police officers and pick a yes person.

    Some of the things that Chief DeCaire has been criticized for is the police budget. The great majority of which is uncontrollable.

    Why blame the Chief when the cost of policing and fire services rests solely with the Province and their broken arbitration system? Freeze wages for 10 years and redirect the savings to other budgetary items. Why blame the Chief for continuing to pay suspended officers when he has no control? It is the Province once again.

    I was looking at my pay stub and thinking, my property taxes are a fraction of the income taxes I pay, in my case 10%. Look at what we get from the City, fire, police, roads, parks, recreation facilities, ambulance, street lights, sidewalks, etc. Part goes to educate our children. All for a fraction of the cost of what we get from the Feds and Province that affects our daily life.

    The Province underfunds the court system while at the same time squandering our money on Hydro by paying a premium for wind turbines, solar fields etc for energy we don't need and pay other provinces and the states to take excess capacity off the grid, ORANGE ambulance, cancelled gas plants, two senior staffers now criminally charged. I work in municipal government and have met with Provincial staffers who offer nothing but make 80K plus benefits and roll up and an overpriced hybrid Toyota. What a waste.

    Whether you agree or not, we have a Provincial and Federal government that will spend billions to accommodate Syrian Refugees while at the same time can't take care of those who need help whom are already here.

    All the while the Feds and Province download responsibilities and costs to municipalities whom have to provide so many services simply dependent on property taxes.

    It is time people start to hold the Province and Federal Government accountable as the extreme majority of our tax dollars go to these levels of government while municipalities take the all the negativity of the relative little amount they tax people.

    I wish the Chief the best and really hope we get a new Chief of the same caliber.

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  7. A great Police Chief leaves
    A "councilor" calls a citizen a "moron" and gets away with it
    A""councillor" pushes a reporter and gets way with it
    A new Integrity commissioner who is avoiding all of this
    And the Mayor tweest that we should all get flu shots

    Only in Hamilton

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  8. my first real insight into Mr.DeCaire was during the now infamous budget discussions which I recall seeing televised on Cable 14. Given the known difficulties facing most large municipalities respecting budget deficit's I was hoping for a leader with a fresh and innovative approach to fiscal responsibility. I was discouraged by the Chief's request-which actually appeared presented as a demand-which turned threatening when challenged. This thinly veiled anger which I witnessed seemed to be foreshadowing. He appears to be on a low boil as often as not. This is not a quality which fosters goodwill or positive working relations. I do hold him responsible for the combative stance he undertook. Budgeting for armored vehicles while failing to account for even basic patrols on some of our busiest roadways-the Linc and RHVP specifically-are further indication one of us has our policing priorities confused.

    His subsequent resignation and reinstatement left a stain from which he has never fully recovered. I believe the majority of Hamiltonian's continue to resent these sort of backroom shenanigans and affiliations.

    The whole issue of language, or his inability to be upfront- need to be considered. Despite strong indication, and some actual evidence, we were told we do not have ticket quota's in Hamilton, just high expectations. These same expectations proved too much for some members of the Service, who were forced to commit fraud in order to pass muster. Carding? Not here. We have street investigative techniques, with the officers filling out the "cards' provided for said technique. Wrapped up by negotiating a 2 year extension while keeping very relevant information very close to his vest. Enough of the double speak for me, the issue of honesty after self service has been put to rest.

    There is no disputing his intellect, or his ability to communicate effectively. Ambition and hard work have allowed him to provide well for his family. I believe he may have been better suited for a career in the military than policing, the sort of guy I would probably want leading me into battle. But we are not at war.

    Polls in the CBC, the Spec. and the one conducted by the HPS- all indicating very similar 2 to 1 ratios against extending his contract must have stung a little. A healthy number of people in this town admire this guy, and I respect that fact.

    Lastly, I find the insinuation that there is no one currently on staff at HPS to be capable of leading the Service to be insulting. How does one rise to the level of Deputy without some underlying capability (as opposed to apparent incompetence) Who is responsible for succession planning? Something our next Chief (or leader) may want to consider

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    1. Respectfully Jim, the sooner we stop blaming the victims and start fixing the toxic culture that we fester in, the sooner Hamilton will recover.
      Sorce

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    2. I think it is a real stretch to consider DeCaire an innocent bystander in all of this, he has made his bed, but now refuses to lie in it. Irresponsible to the very end

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    3. Jim I cannot agree with you here. When facing a very difficult problem, it is often easy to look at the manifestations and not get at the cause.

      Does it not cause you concern when an intelligent person such as The Chief, who is admired by many, chooses to take a significant cut in pay to leave? The only ones who have clued into the real story, are the folks here at The Hamiltonian. I think unless we are ready to look the toxic culture in the eye and take it on, we're toast.

      If we do not have that insight and will to correct it, then we may as well change the slogan from The Best Place to Raise a Child (which stretches the imagination far greater than the DeCaire matter), to Hamilton- A Culture of Low Expectations.

      If we keep pointing to the victims of the culture, the culture will happily continue to devour good people and reward mediocrity.
      Sorce

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    4. If we keep pointing to the victims of the culture, the culture will happily continue to devour good people and reward mediocrity.


      best line yet

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    5. Sorce it elates me that DeCaire finally sees the light and leaves where he isnt wanted even as I think of him not in terms of being self absorbed an vindictive to the end with his dishonest acceptance of another term being a plan not an opportunity

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    6. Not worry . I am sure they will appoint someone who is a yes person and the culture will continue to thrive. In the meantime, people who turn a bind eye to it will continue to feel frustrated.
      Sorce

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  9. decaire was a man of great fortitude who was a tough as nails battler..... that got run out of town by terry whitehead and the blogosphere. real tough guy.

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  10. So Theresa and Sorce would prefer a Chief who draws the line (I dare you to step across!) than one who "toes the line"
    A "no man" who gives orders and takes direction from close "advisers" A Chief without the support of his officers, or the general public.
    Thanks for your help

    I doubt we have heard the last from Glenn. He is sure to be lot's of fun come frosh week with all those keg parties. Maybe they will let him borrow the tank

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  11. I can't speak for anyone but myself. Since the Chief's arrival, policing has changed in Hamilton, from horses to there action team to new ways of approaching crime, it has changed. I'm not saying all of the changes were 100% successful, but they made a difference. This is because the Chief excersized leadership and actually lead the police force. In the role of Chief, there is a part that cannot be contaminated by politics. A part that can't be allowed to be influenced or manipulated by politicians who know little about what it takes to provide reasonable protective services to the public. So, in that sense, you're damned right that the Chief has to draw a line. No offence against previous Chiefs but this one actually took charge and led. I am sure our illustrius won't make that mistake again. This time around, i am sure they will hire a chief with some strings attached to his/her back.
    Keep enabling this culture and it will keep feasting on the scraps that are left.
    Sorce

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  12. Horses are bad carding by action team is bad and lying to council is bad. What exactly is good about DeVsire

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  13. "to there action team" the team that has had CRIMINAL charges laid against them for lying, and writing phony tickets to people that werent present for crimes that werent committed. great example sorce.

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  14. dont care for councillor terry whiteheads politics or him as a person but credit where its due. councillor whitehead accused the action team of inaction, said they were a waste of money, standing around. decaire took offense said i will show stats that prove the worth of he the action team. great roi, great work and great stats coming to prove it. decaire said. then the action team was exposed when many members were charged criminally. falsifying the stats by making phony arrests and issuing phony tickets to people and other illegal actions. who can ignore or defend that?

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  15. all police forces and police officials are subject to civilian oversight. that is the law. since our countries inception. countries that have no civilian oversight of their police forces and police officials are called totalitarian police states. this is the type of society that people like socre aspire too.

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  16. decaire got EVERYTHING he asked for during his tenure. higher poice budgets twice, the first contract extension, the swat tank for riot control. name one thing he wanted that he didnt get. till he didnt get the second contract extension he wanted. then he quit first time he was denied. go figure that.

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  17. lets follow socres reasoning to its full extent. politicians know nothing about road repair, therefore, whatever budget increases the roads dept asks for should be approved. they know best. since politicians know nothing about social assistance, whenever the social services dept asks for a budget increase they should be approved. they know better. we should let the funding requests for public art projects be approved by the head of that dept. that person knows better than the politicians how much funding they need.

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  18. I'd like to say I'm sorry to theChief DeCaire on behalf of Hamilton.

    We do not have a clue what we are doing in Hamilton and thats why we never get anything right.

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  19. I think the Chief of Police Decayer is a very good man. He always answered my questions and treated me with respect. I won't be voting for anyone in this group of politicians and I am very disappointed with this mayor.

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  20. I am really pleased to see Eric Girt assume the leadership of the Service in DeCaire's absence. We are roughly the same age, and both of our fathers worked for the City as well, I can remember skating with him and his family at the annual "Christmas Party" at the Mountain Arena.
    An officer with a long history of municipal service, who has served this community for his entire professional career. Intelligent and ambitious, he has risen through the ranks without fanfare or public scorn. A good Hamilton boy, and an excellent consideration for our next Chief of Police. I wish him luck.
    Hopefully Eric will be on the lookout for any opportunity to assist wealthy seniors unable to find suitable parking in a downpour. Precedent has been set

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  21. "Hopefully Eric will be on the lookout for any opportunity to assist wealthy seniors unable to find suitable parking in a downpour. Precedent has been set" hahahahah. good one. politics DOES make strange bedfellows. i agree with both alan taylor and jim graham.

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  22. Rob Simmonds resigned as Chief of the Hamilton Fire Department this week, providing 3 months notice, leaving no one confused or upset, with a solid legacy of service. Compare his tenure with Mr. DeCaire's.
    The difference between a leader and an opportunist

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