“We now return you to the regularly scheduled Coulda Woulda Shoulda segment of our programming”

Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda time is here. As it arrives in the natural process of every crisis, this will be C-W-S week/month/however long members of the US House and other ghoulish pinheads can milk it.  On the one hand, I know readers of these words know that if there was anything more the feds or local and state authorities could have done to prevent this tragedy they would have because they agree they should, not only because their sacred oaths tell them they must but because they are programmed to risk everything to do so, to protect US, which subset also comprises the ghoulish pinheads.  This week, the family of the late PO Sean Collier knows this best.

On the other hand, it’s not that we should not examine everything leading up to the four murders and everything about the incidents since the murders. Far from it.  It’s just that the questions should not be blame-assignment games of ‘Who knew what and when did they know it?’  BUT what can we learn about and from our experience that will help us to improve practice, in prevention, emergency response and investigations. Special ops units will do this.  Let’s get every cop’s brain into the game.  Let’s also break new learning ground by helping people manage the physiological experience of hypervigilance and their effects on their feelings and states of mind.

So if you are a bone-weary professional please mute the TV during the C-W-S Show. Once you have given your children 1,000 hugs and perhaps even gotten 8 uninterrupted hours of healing sleep (remember those nights? 8 hours?), think about what you’ve learned these past tours of duty. Initiate all kinds of conversations, about techniques, tactics and strategy.  Ask questions.  What do we know today we did not know at 2 pm on April 15, 2013?  And talk about your feelings.  They matter.

For those of us who are not policing and investigative professionals, let’s help. Let’s reflect on what we learned about ourselves and about that precious thing that the late Mrs. Thatcher said does not exist: our society. Our society starts on our own sidewalk and reaches around the earth.  Within the circles where we have control — ourselves– and influence — a circle very wide for some — what can we do to reinforce and renew our core values of liberty, compassion and justice?

Let’s not surrender this incredible learning opportunity to our anger at the C-W-S blowhards and the people who see black UN helicopters behind every traffic collision and bad hair day.


About stephenomeara

My name is Jim Jordan. I have had the privilege of working with the Boston Police Department and hundreds more departments over my nearly 30-year career in police administration and city government. I am now teaching and consulting independently at www.sergeantsleadership.org. I have learned the best of what I know from the thousands of smart, dedicated and ethical police personnel and scholars who have guided me along the way. My address is named for the great Reform commissioner of the Boston Police at the turn of the 20th century. Commissioner O'Meara died just a short while before the Strike in 1919. He was replaced by a vicious puppet (of Gov. Coolidge) named Edwin U. Curtis. Had O'Meara lived events may have turned out quite differently.
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