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Jumping the Chain of Command

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Posted about 3 years ago

 

This thread is more for Informational purposes than anything. We had an Incident recently at work that made me think it was somewhat important to visit this subject. It is imperative that you use your Chain of Command. It may seem petty to some folks, and I don't know about other Agencies, but where I come from skipping your Chain of Command is dealt with Swiftly, and Harshly. Without going into too much detail, the Officer in question (a 10 year veteran at that) has been placed on Unpaid suspension, awaiting an Investigation. There are of course, always circumstances where it's not so cut and dry. For example, if your Immedaite supervisor is the problem, or if it is a time sensitive matter, and you're unable to get a hold of your supervisor, or anyone within your immediate food chain. In cases such as that, procedures should be outlined in your Dept Policy Manual. If not, you may want to bring that to someones attention (like your Sgt). I'm really looking forward to hearing some input from TheSarge, and other superviors on this matter.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

I am assuming that the Chain of Command was skipped with something rather serious, to result in an unpaid suspension.  Since I am in a small department with only 1 link in the Chain of Command it would be impossible to skip over someone.  In your situation I would suspect that the policy and exceptions are  clearly laid out and all officers have signed off on this in some manner, so there is no real reason to  skip over a part of the chain.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Just to Clarify, It IS NOT me. It's a day shift guy, that has been in the same Dept since day one. He just has no Rank because he has no type of advanced education, and that is required by our Agency for promotion.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Knew it wasn't you, BSL, I assume you agency has a clear policy on the Chain of Command, what exceptions allow for not following the normal Chain of Command, and every officer has had to sign off on this ( and all other as well) policy.  In larger agencies I have worked for do this and thus avoiding the problem of the officer claiming he did not know the proper policy/procedure.  In the largest agency I worked for I had a 3 ring binder approx. 4" thick of policies and procedures, had signed off on every one and signed off on updates/changes as they were issued, I could not claim ignorance of policy/procedure because of this system.

1asteriskshield_ezr_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Unwritten rule of LE. You skip the chain of command at your peril. For me it's not hard, Sarge is a phone call away and Lt. is very hands on.


You can't cure stupid.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

AJ, it's not hard for us either. We all have the Sgts Phone number, and he's always very helpful. This guy just overstepped his bounds.

Steve_mcqueen_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

  Not really enough information to give a real world opinion . Sometimes you find yourself in a situation that either requires "Your Immediate Action that you are sworn to do" or a communication breakdown between the next higher person in charge . There are many reasons to go outside the Chain of Command however you must be "LOCK SURE" of your reason and be able to substantiate it at an article 15 hearing or any other action brought against you for the action.


Glory earned on the field of battle , can never be taken away , you take it with you to the grave. Quote by General George Armstrong Custer

Surf_2014_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted about 3 years ago

 

It really doesn't have to do with egos and personal agendas ... although some management-types cling to the Chain as if their ubber-sensitive personas would smear like cheap mascara if they weren't 'consulted'. Whatever.


Notwithstanding agency size, every level in the management flow chart serves a purpose. To get something 'up the flag pole', you have to go through the steps. The Chain of Command. There is information, resources and accountability that require The Chain to be utilized.


Regarding sergeanting and The Chain: I can tell ya that a good sergeant makes himself available to his/her peeps. Cell numbers, texting, home numbers, blah, blah. If a sergeant is going to be unavailable or otherwise 'out of the office', he should make sure his subordinates know how to process Chain issues in his absence. For a sergeant to NOT advise his crew about 'what to do if" is a serious deficiency in leadership. Yeah, sergeanting is the best job in the world but it has it's uniquenesses. And part of that is engaging in some adult communication with the people that count on you.


Casual talk and chatting with people in your agency should be a comfortable occurrence. No one should get their panties in a knot because a patrolman is chewing the fat with an Lt. or Capt or the Chief. Asking about the fishing trip or the how the fam is should be totally fine. If the conversation takes on an official tone, or it's a ruse for a hidden agenda, or if it's the 'gotta quick question' while walking through the parking lot should be avoided. It will bite you in the beeehind.


It isn't so much adhering to The Chain, it's respecting The Chain.


Now, here is one concept that a lot of people don't get. The Chain isn't so much the next person in line. It has to deal with layers within the organization. The bigger the agency, the more sergeants, lieutenants and captains you have. With some Chain of Command matters, your sergeant will ask other sergeants about answers or responses. Sometimes it may turn into a consortium of sorts. The sergeants get together and hash out a particular matter. Or, that matter is submitted to an Lt. who in turn may get together with the other Lt's for a consensus.


And, of course, a sergeant may just tell you to go talk to the Lt. about the issue without much ado. "Yeah, go ask the Lt. That's his baby. Just tell him that I sent you his way."


Again, due to how some information is compartmentalized with most agencies, you have to walk the Yellow Brick Road to get some answers.


And, if things go to poo, then the whole accountability thing rages like a brush fire.


BSL, as far as the situation you cited, it sounds like a large safety, fiscal or personal-personnel issue that someone got twisted over. Unpaid suspension? I might suggest the officer involved consult his union rep.


I'll stop here. Think I rambled a bit over the time limit.


Anything here that needs clarification?


 


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1asteriskshield_ezr_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

No union rep here in NC........right to work state. The favorite answer to my question from my uppers is "handle it" meaning to take care of it because they trust me enough to do so. That being said my Sarge and Lt. will check and double check to ensure it is done right.


You can't cure stupid.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

AJ, I'm not in NC anymore. I moved to FL. If you'd quit going AWOL for months at a time you'd know that. LOL. As far as this guy fighting it, he doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell. What he did was clearly outlined in the Dept SOP. He does have a side gig, like most of us, so I suggested he just concetrate on making some money doing that for the time being. I highly doubt he'll be on suspension for more than a week, and I personally think this kinda his "slap on the hand" so to speak.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Our former chief had an open door policy. I felt it harmed the dept. and that was the same general consensus i got from those around me. He was a good guy, I even think his heart was in the right place. Before he was our chief he was in the academy as the chief instructor. The guys he trained, i felt, took advantage of his open door policy. If they wanted to they would just call him up on his cell. It took away some of the authority of the shift command. Those that had his cell always acted like they were a step above others. I will never understand how in a para-military organization, some of those employed by it, will balk at even the hint of actual military type rule. The chain of command is there for a reason. I follow it to the letter. I call those of rank by their rank at work,, even if we have been neighbors and / or friends for years.


That's just my experience and 2 cents

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

lajustice says ...



Our former chief had an open door policy. I felt it harmed the dept. and that was the same general consensus i got from those around me. He was a good guy, I even think his heart was in the right place. Before he was our chief he was in the academy as the chief instructor. The guys he trained, i felt, took advantage of his open door policy. If they wanted to they would just call him up on his cell. It took away some of the authority of the shift command. Those that had his cell always acted like they were a step above others. I will never understand how in a para-military organization, some of those employed by it, will balk at even the hint of actual military type rule. The chain of command is there for a reason. I follow it to the letter. I call those of rank by their rank at work,, even if we have been neighbors and / or friends for years.


++++++++++++++++++++

That kind of open door policy speaks volumes to "I just want people to like me" mentality. I have seen it work all kinds of ways. The open door with no holds barred environment to open door 'but watch what you say cuz "I am am gonna call you on it".


An open door with the Chief or Sheriff is a good deal if it is meant to keep the department head personal and real. But using it to push through a 'back door' is rude, destructive and undermining. The problem occurs when you have a department head without a spine. A good Chief will say, "Hey, did you run that through the Chain?", or "Uh, lemme check with the staff to see what they think.". With that one, you should be poopin' your pants thinking, "Whoops, I've just been called out and there is no where to go."


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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

As expected, TheSarge nutshelled the whole enchilada for us. Every agency is different and some agencies are not consistent. My dept. requires we follow the chain of command. It's been written since before I joined. The thing is, I've worked for 4 different Chiefs and a Director. Every one of them had a different stance on C.O.C.


The best thing for everyone to remember and to do is to follow the chain of command as outlined to avoid getting jammed up.


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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

LIKE EVERTHING IN OUR LE WORLD, FLEXABILITY IS THE KEY, THE CHAIN OF COMMAND IS A GREAT TOOL, BUT SOMETIMES THAT IS THE PROBLEM..TOO MANY FOLKS HAVE A LCK OT INTEGRITY WITHIN THE CHAIN...AS A SUOPERVISOR I ENPOWER MY PEOPLE BUT DON'T ENABLE THEM, HAVE AN OPEN CHANNEL/ DOOR POLICY, IN MY AGANCY THAT IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE..SOME SUPERVISOR REFUSE TO RESPOND TO CALL AND TELL THIER PEOPLE NOT TO INCLUDE THEM IN ANY PAPERWORK..SO THE CHAIN IS BROKEN PEOPLE ARE WALKING ON EGG SHELLS AFRAIN TO BREAK THE CHAIN, SO THEY ARE LEFT IN LIMBO!!


 

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

spoc says ...



LIKE EVERTHING IN OUR LE WORLD, FLEXABILITY IS THE KEY, THE CHAIN OF COMMAND IS A GREAT TOOL, BUT SOMETIMES THAT IS THE PROBLEM..TOO MANY FOLKS HAVE A LCK OT INTEGRITY WITHIN THE CHAIN...AS A SUOPERVISOR I ENPOWER MY PEOPLE BUT DON'T ENABLE THEM, HAVE AN OPEN CHANNEL/ DOOR POLICY, IN MY AGANCY THAT IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE..SOME SUPERVISOR REFUSE TO RESPOND TO CALL AND TELL THIER PEOPLE NOT TO INCLUDE THEM IN ANY PAPERWORK..SO THE CHAIN IS BROKEN PEOPLE ARE WALKING ON EGG SHELLS AFRAIN TO BREAK THE CHAIN, SO THEY ARE LEFT IN LIMBO!!


+++++++++++

Dude, spellcheck. My eyes were turning all red reading your post.


And you're correct. The Chain is such a 'thing' with a lot of agencies that regular working folk do indeed feel like they're walking on 'eggshells' as you say. Bugs the heck out of me. But this goes back to the nemesis of police work: personality based management.


 


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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

BSL1123 says ...



AJ, I'm not in NC anymore. I moved to FL. If you'd quit going AWOL for months at a time you'd know that. LOL. As far as this guy fighting it, he doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell. What he did was clearly outlined in the Dept SOP. He does have a side gig, like most of us, so I suggested he just concetrate on making some money doing that for the time being. I highly doubt he'll be on suspension for more than a week, and I personally think this kinda his "slap on the hand" so to speak.



Aha! That is why we are feeling a void up here in NC. No more BSL to catch 'em coming up from the south.........dangit!


You can't cure stupid.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

There's no gray area here for us. If it's a complaint, gripe or whatever issue that requires decisions be made by a supervisor, you better start with YOUR immediate supervisor.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Lulusgt says ...



There's no gray area here for us. If it's a complaint, gripe or whatever issue that requires decisions be made by a supervisor, you better start with YOUR immediate supervisor.



What if someone has an issue with their immediate supervisor?


I don't believe in an eye for an eye...I believe in two eyes for an eye.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

rarebit says ...



Lulusgt says ...



There's no gray area here for us. If it's a complaint, gripe or whatever issue that requires decisions be made by a supervisor, you better start with YOUR immediate supervisor.



What if someone has an issue with their immediate supervisor?



Typically that is addressed in the policies and procedure manual, if you have a problem with your immediate supervisor, you go to his immediate supervisor,  You still need to follow the chain of command, just bypass the problem link.  Ie if you have a problem with your Sgt. you go to his Lt., you still don't jump to a Captain the Chief.


Some dept's may have you go laterally, Ie if a problem with your Sgt., got to another Sgt. to start the process, this all should be spelled out in the policies and procedures.

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

rarebit says ...



Lulusgt says ...



There's no gray area here for us. If it's a complaint, gripe or whatever issue that requires decisions be made by a supervisor, you better start with YOUR immediate supervisor.



What if someone has an issue with their immediate supervisor?



Unless he/she is telling you to do something illegal you deal with him/her first. In fact, if he/she told me to do something illegal, I would say to them, you realize that's illegal. If they still tell me to do it, then I'll go to their immediate supervisor.