Does the SFPD have a morale issue?

As we know the police department has been shafted on the past two union negotiations. Also take into account they have an enormous lack of leadership and the rising drug problem in Sioux Falls and you are setting the department up for a perfect storm of low morale.

It’s difficult to blame it entirely on Chief Burns or the mayor, they are just continuing the trend. Disrespect for the SFPD goes back decades and mostly because of the city administrator.

Mayor Bowlcut & Bucktooth & Chief Barthel totally ignored our rising drug crime problem blaming it on ‘population growth’. While population growth does contribute, why is the crime rate rising faster then the population?

I believe a new concentration on public safety needs to be a high priority for the TenHaken administration (he is ultimately responsible for managing the department, not the city council, they only authorize funding).

The first thing that needs to happen is getting rid of some of the top officials that keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Secondly, extensive training in civil rights, diversity, sensitivity and criminal justice needs to occur with the officers, and like the SFFD they need to get on a fitness program.

Look at any successful police department around the world, and you will see the same thing, competent leadership. It’s time our SFPD is compensated fairly for their work and have new leadership.


#1 D@ily Spin on 07.17.19 at 5:44 pm

I think body and car cameras would help. Video will improve police professionalism and promote citizen respect. There’s then an accurate record of events limiting litigation. I’ve witnessed police behavior. Some, not all, have a bad attitude. Probably because there’s no pay raises or advancement. Citizens will give respect when they get respect.
Drugs are a problem. The jail is full. Sentences get paroled. There seems to be no plan addressing crime.

#2 Child of the system on 07.17.19 at 8:00 pm

Maybe we should have a real police chief who is qualified and trained. Maybe the chief should have actual certification in modern law enforcement. Maybe burnsy needs to resign and let us have a real search to hiring in someone who has experience.

#3 Five11 on 07.17.19 at 8:44 pm

Detroit, not a good look for you to advise anyone on a fitness program. #credibility

#4 Novesky on 07.17.19 at 9:16 pm

The SFPD is pursuing a new training center to serve all the officers and citizens and seized a record amount of narcotics last year. What channel are you watching?

#5 l3wis on 07.17.19 at 9:38 pm

Five11, I expected this comment. I also am NOT on the SFPD or collecting health benefits from the taxpayers of SF.

#6 l3wis on 07.17.19 at 9:40 pm

‘and seized a record amount of narcotics last year.’

Did you read my post? When you are seizing more drugs, that means there are more on the streets. I am NOT blaming our officers for that, I’m just saying past administrations should have seen this coming and did very little prevention.

#7 SF citizen on 07.17.19 at 11:14 pm

Your extensive experience and work in criminal justice and public administration/leadership gives you a great deal of credibility on this subject. You should apply for the police department immediately or run for office.

#8 l3wis on 07.18.19 at 8:36 am

I have been following city politics and writing about them for over 13 years. I may not have expertise on actually being qualified to be a PO, but I do have some historical knowledge of HOW this city administrates it’s police force. I also have many friends who are attorneys and one that used to practice municipal law in the State of MN, IA, NE and SD. Trust me, police officers make mistakes, and more then you would want to know. I also had a former roommate who was working on his BA in criminal justice and was a former Marine MP. I also want to make it clear, these are just observations I have seen. I also think that the SFPD needs an independent internal affairs that are not the DCI or MC Sheriff’s department, and as DS mentioned, body cams. There are many improvements the SFPD could make that would be painless and would make it better. I get so tired of people ‘Don’t criticize the police.’ I believe in life, criticism makes things better for everyone.

#9 Conservative Here on 07.18.19 at 8:57 am

I really get tired of a couple things

1 – That you are required to be an “expert” to comment, critique, or speak on a subject. Those that criticize Scott because he is “not in shape” or because has no expertise in Criminal Justice are just deflecting from his point of view.

2 – The police in this country are constantly under attack on every fart that expels from their ass. I get so sick and tired of it. They have one of the most difficult job and very few of us could do it. Their pay stinks in comparison to the stuff they have to deal with. Think about this, if you went to work each day and all you dealt with were drug dealers, domestic abusers, drug addicts, rapists, murders, thieves. and general scum of the earth for 90% of the time, you may make a mistake here or there or lose your cool at times. I am not excusing poor police behavior but, damn cut them some slack. I would love to take away police protection from the morons in this country who constantly complain about them and let THEM deal with the thugs in their neighborhoods on their own. Same for the dipshits who want open borders and let any fool wander into our country, we should let THEM move into their houses and they can be responsible for them and pay for their shit. The attacks on our laws and law enforcement in this country has gotten out of control and the folks that do this job need to be thanked and not attacked all the time.

#10 l3wis on 07.18.19 at 9:23 am

First off, this is about pay, training and leadership, not about individual officers, I want to make that clear. People are quick to make a judgment about bashing the officers, I am not, as CH points out, they have difficult jobs, I get it.

#11 l3wis on 07.18.19 at 9:27 am

“not in shape”

It’s okay to call me fat 🙂

#12 Estimate For The Taxpayers: 20 to 30m on 07.18.19 at 9:45 am

What public official gives the City Council a formal presentation regarding a new police/fire training center and offers an estimate of the cost with a 10 million dollar spread.

Police Chief Matt Burns.

#13 Thomas on 07.18.19 at 9:59 am

A few issues to address:

1. Back when the city went to a home rule charter, it took away the specific commissioner appointed to oversee the police and fire department. we lost that intermediary between the mayors office and the chief of police. That intermediary position vacuum was then filled by the chief of police. That is a bad system. The chief can no longer be the advocate for his people and also The liaison to the mayor/CEO. Especially when the chief of police is an appointed position who serves at the discretion of the mayor. That is a portion of the morale problem.

2. With respect to being out of shape and condition of the police officers. If you make a requirement of police officers to be in shape, Are you going to pay them to exercise? The fire department personnel work 24 hour shifts and in that 24 hours they are given time to exercise with pay. How will you come up with a system for police officers to be paid to exercise? What will be too much to pay them to exercise? Should the city then employ an athletic trainer and fitness coach to oversee this?

3. In any occupation or any business, there is always a question of equality or of an even playing field. Does an employee get better duty because he is friends of a supervisor or higher ranking manager? Is an employee being treated unfairly because they refused an offer from a supervisor to become a member of a local fraternal organization that the supervisor is recruiting for? Has a sergeant been promoted on their merit or has that sergeant been rewarded for an ongoing affair he has been having with a higher rank female supervisor? Are people being hired, promoted, or even protected because they are family of higher ranking supervisors and managers? Or, does an employee attend the “wrong” church or denomination or not attend church?

These are all morale issues. My belief is that they are a larger contributor to a morale problem than wages and benefits.

#14 Conservative Here on 07.18.19 at 11:06 am

Thomas – No way to do you pay officers to exercise, thats just ludicrous. The military is not “paid” to exercise, its a requirement of the job. There are tons of requirements for jobs that you don’t get paid for, its common sense if you have a job that requires you to be in shape, you stay in shape.

FYI – I was in the military and I was paid the same whether I exercised or not and if you got too fat and could not pass your PT test you got kicked out, plain and simple. I saw many a husky guy get booted out after he failed his PT test, Tape test, and being provided X amount of time to get back in shape, no extra pay, it was a requirement of the job. People are such pussies these days its ridiculous, its in your best interest to stay in shape if you have a job like FF or PO. I don’t want to get winded in an altercation with a suspect, that could be deadly. I can’t even image going to my Platoon Sergeant and saying some dumb shit like, “hey we need to get paid extra to work out”. I can tell that would have NOT gone over well at all.

Your final points about things not being fair in some regards, thats life and sometimes it stinks to watch some scrub get promoted over you. It happens but, I have always believed what goes around comes around, you do you and work hard you will get your just do. Not too much you can do about that as everyone has a bias for or against all kinds of things. Many are just what person A values in an individual versus what person B values in that same individual.

Scott – Your not fat, your husky haha 🙂

#15 Question for Thomas on 07.18.19 at 12:16 pm

Since when do we have to pay extra for a police officer to save his or her own life much less their partners or public. Shouldn’t they be smarter? If they gave up the free food bars and belly buster deals they get from Avera they might get more sympathy and empathy.

#16 l3wis on 07.18.19 at 2:05 pm

CH, I prefer the word my mom used to use, “Stocky”

#17 anominous on 07.18.19 at 5:39 pm

Not being overwieght is a good thing if you have to think without being affected by heat exhaustion, but it is hard to lose weight in this area due to the winters. And also the uniforms are all black which does not help and adds like 20 lbs. +, COps who take steroids to cut wieght are probably the worst as far as their cocky motorcycle driving attitudes go.

#18 Jon on 07.19.19 at 9:39 am

From the comment above, “it is hard to lose weight in this area due to the winters”.

Really. So treadmills, ellipticals, weights, indoor walking tracks, mall walking, walking outside in winter (highly possible 10 months of the year at least) are not possible for PD members because of the winters here? lol

I was in the military and was targeted at the end of my enlistment to lose at least 30 pounds or be discharged. If you want to be a first responder, LE, military member, etc., it is your duty to remain in shape. It is not the employers responsibility to pay you to do so.

#19 anominous on 07.20.19 at 9:14 am

well u can yo-yo diet here , i mean. its not Baywatch

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