City’s top cops are going
through the grinder. They are under heavy criticism; some are getting
their pink slips. We saw a similar phenomenon when urban school
district superintendents were linked to test scores and were given
the boot when public school students were underachieving. I dubbed it
the “superintendent shuffle.” Police chiefs are
scrambling to find jobs where there is less turmoil. The revolving
door is spinning.
then, school districts were losing superintendents at amazing rates.
The average stay was 2-3 years if their luck held out. My home state
of Missouri should be in the Guinness Book of Records for the number
of supes its two urban districts went through. In St. Louis, we ran
through eight superintendents in five years. I am proud to say I
helped run off a few of those losers. If we look at a longer arc in
Kansas City, 25 supes went through the revolving door in about 40
years. They shuffled to other districts with the same empty promises.
pressure on police departments for meaningful reforms has grown more
intense since the Ferguson Uprising. The demands have not been
significantly different over the last 50 years. Stop the occupation.
Stop the profiling. Stop the killing.
anger is now more intense and communities are more organized. Police
departments - led by police groups - have been resistant to any
change. Fueled by the police murder of George Floyd, the movement is
on fire and the “Defund the Police” campaign is in full
throttle. Police associations have doubled down on their refusal to
movement’s pressure for police accountability is having an
impact. Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCCA) represents chiefs
from 69 of the country’s largest cities. Almost 20 percent of
their police chiefs have resigned, retired, or been fired in a year.
Recruitment for rank-and-file cops is difficult enough but finding a
trusted change-agent to head a police department is damn near
has gone through five commissioners in as many years. Centerville, GA
is looking for its fourth chief in five years. Four cities in North
Texas, including Dallas, are on the hunt for a top cop. Madison, WI
is checking out four candidates to replace its top cop after he
abruptly resigned with a one-day notice; three of four candidates
were former chiefs or deputy chiefs from other cities. The beat goes
communities are rightfully demanding input into the hiring of its
next police chief. It’s a rocky process because cities aren’t
used to sharing the decision-making with the public. It’s
usually a hidden process with the mayor making the final decision
that citizens are stuck with.
officials are keeping their list of finalists a secret, allegedly to
protect the identity of the candidates. Are they Nazis or what? Mind
you, this is the place where Breonna Taylor was murdered by
Louisville cops and ignited a summer of protests. There should be
super transparency in the selection of the next chief if that city
expects to address legitimate issues of community mistrust of the