The Headline for Problem-Solvers

Today’s Boston Globe, in what looks like 72-point type, unfurled this half-banner atop Page One:

“Lawmakers hear Davis, fault FBI on data sharing”

In my view a partisan US House Committee, whose hearing generated this headline, didn’t “hear” Ed Davis at all.  The Homeland Security Committee  seated the Commissioner and EOPSS Undersecretary Kurt Schwartz at a table across from their bench and proceeded with the committee’s foregone conclusion: ‘the Other Party’s Administration failed to protect us.’  The subtext (always the most important text in political messaging) shouts: ‘They’re soft on homeland security!’

This is no fault of the two witnesses.  Congress calls you to testify, you go and testify.  The Commissioner and Secy. Schwartz are among a group of thoughtful public safety and criminal justice leaders in Boston who want to continuously improve their professional practices and decision-making.  Count in that group a large number of local executives and be sure not to leave out Col. Tim Alben of the Mass. State Police, SAC Richard DesLauriers of the Boston FBI office and Watertown Police Chief Ed Deveau.  They know the value of getting every brain in the game and believe in shared thinking and action.

The headline for these problem-solvers is indeed the same one it was on April 15-19:

Leaders vow to learn from experience and improve their capacity to defend US.

Here’s hoping and assuming that the minor detour to knowledge created by the partisanship will not destroy or critically disrupt the path to shared knowledge and improved practice.

Commissioner Davis put it well:

“But there are questions that need to be answered, and I’m looking forward to the reviews that are occurring so we can get to the bottom of a lot of different questions.”


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 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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