Whitewater’s looking for a new police chief, and our small city has two candidates from which to choose. There’s a time to consider all this in greater detail; for today, two simple observations are enough.
1. Competency, Not Ideology, Has Always Been Key. Whitewater’s policing challenges have not been between left and right, or between those who back the badge and supposed others. It’s a false choice – residents of all kinds have wanted and hoped for competency.
Indeed, a reflexive support from a few for any chief has only delivered mediocre chiefs. Other nearby towns have moved to police chiefs of stronger credentials years ago, while Whitewater has persisted with a lesser standard. Those other nearby towns aren’t radical places, honest to goodness – they just expected more for themselves than a few insider Facebook friends and buddies delivered for thousands in Whitewater.
2. Whitewater’s a College Town – She Needs a Chief Who Can Function Well Here. Fish swim in water, and camels walk in the desert heat. They’re suited to their environments. No one asks a fish if it likes the water, or a camel if it likes the desert – they’re naturally adapted to those environments.
A community survey only works well if one correctly understands the demographics of one’s community. (Yesterday’s post on this topic, The Limits of Community Surveys, was a planned prelude to this post.)
Strong credentials (overdue in Whitewater) are a necessary but only partial condition for success. The holders of those credentials – like fish in water or camels in the desert – need to be suited to the real conditions in which they will live.
Whitewater has always deserved a chief who is competent and truly suited to our environment.
One hopes truly that we find one.