Great leaders support their officers

I recently read an interesting editorial titled, “Courage or Cowardice in Leadership,” which was written by retired Sheriff Officer Capt. Lori Mambelli from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department. In her editorial, she expounded on what makes a good leader and how those potential leaders should be promoted up the career ladder in both law enforcement and the public safety sector.

Over her accomplished career, she saw many individuals who were promoted but were incapable of fulfilling the responsibilities of their sworn position. She further mentioned how some individuals retaliated against others who did not agree with their actions, while carrying out “controversial or illegal orders.” She also discussed how some officers and supervisors failed to be forthcoming and often altered investigative findings to suit their own personal objectives, which have injured citizens and officers.

Leaders who are identified for committing ills against other officers tend to become vindictive. Often, they blame the misfortune on the officer themselves and not on the oppressive actions of department leaders.

My comments in support of the author are that her words were well stated, and many civil service workers across the nation echo the same sentiments. Unlike urban officers, many of the leaders whom she spoke about are leaders who only did about one year of comparable work to that of urban officers over the span of their careers. However, these leaders believe in their heart and soul that they are superior to urban officers. Often, leaders may say that urban officers should be happy that they are making more money working in a suburban jurisdiction as opposed to the lower wages and more dangerous work found in urban jurisdictions.

However, that is the fallacy that many active and retired urban officers have been told in a condescending manner by members of their agency in the state of New Jersey. Often, active and retired urban officers throughout the state have complained that their own department leaders have treated them as third-class citizens.

The negative subculture as discussed by Mambelli will never change if those in charge continue to turn a blind eye to the reality that is going on. Great leaders are not apathetic, vindictive and ill-mannered towards fellow officers and subordinates. Instead, great leaders are charismatic, conscientious and know how to engage subordinates and stakeholders in a way that brings about a harmonious solution, while motivating their subordinates to work a little harder.

Dr. Michael Campbell

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