Saving Law Enforcement From Themselves, Again and Again

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Is there something different in the air in Missouri when it comes to law enforcement and social media postings? I have written previously about the Columbia Police Officer’s Association president who made simply asinine remarks relative to unconstitutional body cavity searches, and today, I found this in the Riverfront Times from a different member of law enforcement in Missouri:kevin_glaser_facebook There are others outside of law enforcement who are shining a light on the seriousness of this personal Facebook post, including Show-Me Cannabis, but as a career criminal justice professional, I want to point out the clear nexus between the drug war, institutional group-think, and the lack of judgment on display. This lack of judgment is an example of conduct unbecoming an officer (CUBO) – the violation of a set of standards governing police officers on-duty as well as off. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has a model policy of conduct which includes this description of CUBO that states:

“Officers shall not engage in any conduct or activities on or off-duty that reflects discredit on the officers, tend to bring this agency into disrepute, or impairs its efficient and effective operation.”

Although Sergeant Glaser posted under his personal Facebook page, a case can be made for CUBO, as it appears that he publicly represented himself at a community meeting as a police officer and then again in his rant.

But it’s Glaser’s lack of judgment that demonstrates the systemic failure of critical thinking that surrounds the conversation around our drug policy on all levels. His statements are in fact reflective of a large number of law enforcement professionals who have stigmatized Americans who support ending marijuana prohibition, whether they are users or not, while largely ignoring their own personal behavior. There are many notable criminal justice professionals that have recognized that drug prohibition is a failure for many reasons; otherwise why would there be a need for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) to exist?

While Glaser slightly stepped back from some of his statements to the SE Missourian, he clearly does not recognize that stereotypes can lead to institutional bias, which can contribute to police misconduct. In fact, his statement in this article clearly shows that he does not grasp the role of leadership, which crosses both your personal and professional life in law enforcement.

“To me, Facebook’s there to put your opinion on, and I wouldn’t retract a word about it,” Glaser said.

So I would point out to Sergeant Glaser that in his leadership position he has failed himself, his organization, and the law enforcement profession. Glaser has both an obligation and a duty to act in a fashion that neither tarnishes his agency’s reputation nor hinders him, as a leader and supervisor, from holding his officers accountable for similar type of conduct in the future.

In his tirade Sergeant Glaser violates not just policy by placing his department’s reputation into disrepute; he clearly compromises the organization’s ability to discipline other officers who may treat citizens unprofessionally whether they are on or off-duty. No different from parenting, it’s all about “walking the walk.” Trust me when I say that police officers, just like children when challenging their parents, are quick to point out the hypocrisy of administrative actions when leaders are not held accountable themselves.

Clearly, Sergeant Glaser’s statements reflect a personal bias exhibited in a fashion that compromises his ability to lead others. As a supervisor and a law enforcement instructor, he has been entrusted with teaching law enforcement officers not just how to do their job, but the ethics and values that should be ingrained in us. He has forgotten the most basic tenet of leadership – and law enforcement in particular – which should be “service above self” including those that may not look, think, or act like you.

Show-Me Cannabis posted a petition titled “Demand Kevin Glaser Apologize or Step Down as VP of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association!” on their website.