With Rank Comes Privilege: With Privilege, Power. Part 2


In 1992 I became a single parent through divorce, of my two girls, Sarah, 5 and Rachael, 4.  I decided I needed more education and a better job to support us. I went back to school at Kalamazoo Valley Community College while working 3 part-time jobs and caring for my girls.  It was not easy.  Rachael has severe cognitive impairment, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.  But I did it with the help of family and friends. While attending KVCC, I saw an ad for police recruits and applied to GRPD.


In one of my interviews I was asked the normal types of interview questions.  They also asked me if I was planning on having more children.  This was an embarrassing conversation and completely illegal.  I answered it not knowing at the time you can’t ask things like that.  They were aware that I had two daughters and that Rachael had medical conditions.  They were also well aware that I had been doing a good job of handling all my responsibilities.

I went through application/interview process, and was hired at age 27, which was older than most of the new hires.

The Psychological exam was uneventful, the questions were weird and unusual (in my opinion).  I’ve never taken another test like that one, although I have taken many many police exams. I passed without any problem.

At the medical exam they found out I had diabetes and they were not happy about it.  I provided a note from my Doctor who stated I managed it well and had no complications.  Due to ADA they could not rescind the job offer and I had already accepted it.  They probably figured I wouldn’t make it through but I did.


Under Chief W.H., things were mostly good.  He was a no-nonsense Chief and kept a tight rein on his command staff.

There were a number of controversies during his tenure.  A group of women and minority officers sued for discrimination. They sued over the subjectivity of evaluations which negatively affected assignments and promotions.  Chief W.H. called a meeting of his command staff.  He told them that under no circumstances were they to go after these individuals.  They were also told to prevent any such behavior by any other officers. Subsequent Chiefs did not do this.

They settled, and got their promotions.

After Chief W.H. retired, things changed. 

I loved my job.  But the small cracks that had existed started to become big problems after Chief W.H. retired.  The commanders he had kept in check were given more latitude and power under the new administration, Chief H.D.

The Training unit commander got rid of the veteran trainers in favor of younger less experienced officer that would follow orders without question. This was a problem.

New female officers were subjected to higher standards than their male counterparts. When they did meet expectations the bar was moved higher until they failed.

Female officers were routinely passed over for promotions in favor of males who did not test as well, or were under investigation for domestic assaults or other crimes.

Female officers did not get additional specialized training, assignments to other departments, or “Attaboys”.  What are Attaboys?   Attaboy’s were commendations. Female Officers  who recovered multiple stolen cars, or solved cases often did not get commended the same as or as often as the guys did.  I remember getting them once in a while.  One particular commendation was given to me by my Captain, but he gave it to me in private instead of in front of my peers at lineup, which was the usual custom.

At the range, all the trainers would stand behind the female officers.  Often, mistakes by the men were not noticed nor were they failed.  Women and minority officers were subjected to increased scrutiny and were routinely ordered back for remedial training even if they had passed!!

Lt. Woody would tell address new recruit classes.  He would say,  look around because some of you won’t be here at the end.  In one recruit training class he ordered everyone to stand in a circle and slap each other upside the head.  It was as if he believed that if you don’t bounce people or if someone doesn’t get hurt then you’re not doing your job if everybody passes.  It didn’t matter that they had made it through college and police academy and the rigorous hiring process. The goal was not to mentor and empower but to break people.  His new Field Training Officers earned nicknames like “The Ax”, “The Hatchet” and “The Terminator.”  All the guys that would do what he told them to, were called “Woody’s boys”.

To be continued…

Private Investigations: A Force Multiplier for Attorney’s

So what is a Force Multiplier?

According to The Unites States Department of Defense, it means: “A Capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.” 1.

Josh Kaufman, Business Author, calls Force Multipliers: “…Tools that help you Amplify your efforts to produce more output.  A hammer is a force multiplier…” 2.

The Cambridge Dictionary says: “something that increases the effort of a force.” 3.

In layman’s terms, any tool that can increase the effectiveness of what you are doing is a force multiplier, be it a Bachelor’s degree, social media, news media, hiring someone skilled in an area you need help with, a hammer (pounding nails with your fist won’t work) and so on…

Professional Private Investigators can also be a force multiplier.  As it applies to Legal Support, most attorneys have high caseloads and not enough time.  Hiring a Licensed Investigator with specific skills can help support a legal defense or offense.  Investigators can determine if a spouse is cheating, locate hidden assets in divorce cases, and can locate criminals, victims, witnesses.  If a client is accused of a crime that they didn’t commit but Law Enforcement has blinders on and doesn’t pursue other possible suspects it could lead to a wrongful conviction.  Investigators can run down these other witnesses, interview them and possibly find information Law Enforcement missed.  Some are also skilled in digital (think mobile phones) and/or computer forensics.  If you were accused of a computer crime and the computer has been examined by Law Enforcement, wouldn’t you want a second opinion or expert on your side rather than taking the Prosecutor or Police Officer’s word for it? I’m not saying police officers or police departments are bad, but sometimes their training is limited and there are a few bad apples out there.  Prosecutors get reelected and their performance is based on their rate of convictions, not exonerations.

Professional Private Investigators usually are experienced retired Law Enforcement or have some sort of government investigative experience.  They can also include Accountants and other professionals.  This means they are familiar with the mistakes some Law Enforcement Officers and agencies can make.  They are valuable at looking at police reports and seeing what’s missing or done incorrectly.

If you need a Private Investigator as a Force Multiplier, you should make sure to meet with them, find out what they can do for you (their skills), make sure they are licensed (very important) or work for a licensed agency.  Licensed Investigators are held to laws and ethical standards, and it is illegal for unlicensed individuals to perform some investigative services.

For your force multiplier in Michigan, may I suggest: http://www.bgiassociates.com

  1. http://www.militaryfactory.com/dictionary/military-terms-defined.asp?term_id=2165
  2. https://personalmba.com/force-multiplier/
  3. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/force-multiplier