Monday, November 30, 2009


OPEN FOOT, INSERT MOUTH: The obvious late-night-comedian-fodder way the two headlines appeared one above the other, at least on-line-

Police chief welcomes ‘constructive criticism’
Doughnuts help sustain leadership program.

-notwithstanding, the soft-peddled content of reporter Paul Curtis’ articles only serves to underscore the tin ear Chief Darryl Perry has for the way his communications with the public sound to the average citizen’s ear.

Apparently Perry was so shocked and apparently angry over receiving a career-first “needs improvement” grade on an evaluation- this time from a member of the police commission- when it comes to whether he “(u)nderstands ramifications of actions to others, the organization and the county,” that he felt the need to share the full evaluation with Curtis who could be counted on to play up the good parts and pooh-pooh the bad.

But what was even more dismaying than Curtis’ apparent need to suck up to the chief and department he covers- as opposed to putting their feet to the fire as “crime-beat” reporters are supposed to do- was what Perry did upon hearing from someone other than the public that perhaps his PR skills are often along the lines of “open mouth-insert foot”.

Curtis writes that upon receiving the evaluation- which other than Curtis’ characterizations has not been shared in full with the public although PNN has requested a copy either be posted on-line or be emailed to us- instead of taking the apparently “blind” or unattributed assessment to heart Perry’s first reaction was to try to track down who would dare to give god’s gift to KPD a less than “exceptional” grade.

Curtis reports that:

“So far nobody has ‘fessed up” to being the one or two commissioners responsible for the “Needs Improvement” scores, (Perry) said. This (needs improvement) ranking scores a two on a scale of one to five, with five being exceptional and one being unsatisfactory.

Fessed up? Seems the chief thinks this is tantamount to a crime. Perhaps a lineup and the third degree are in order.

Was there something unclear about the obvious fear of ostracization and ridicule from his or her peers that the one commissioner with the guts to declare the emperor naked felt in putting it in an anonymous evaluation rather than saying it aloud?

According to some in the criminal justice system the widely touted “vast improvement in morale” on the force has come at the expense of many, including some officers, feeling free enough to questions the polices that result from the politics of the chief and certain commissioners in areas such as medical marijuana, the innocent-until-guilty civil rights of those approached and/or detained and the chief’s acknowledge arming-to-the-teeth” in reaction- many say overreacting- to the non-violent civil disobedience at the Nawiliwili Superferry protests.

Apparently when no one “’fessed up” to the bad grade on his or her own Perry still wasn’t satisfied.

After the evaluation was finished in late October, two years into his current three-year contract, Perry met individually with each of the seven commissioners, not just to identify who was responsible for the low marks in two of the 28 categories, but to seek specifics on why he got the low marks so that he could improve in the areas of “Tracks and adheres to budgetary allocations” and “Understands ramifications of actions to others, the organization and the county,” he said.

And if the message that this kind of mark on his record is unacceptable was still unclear he used a well-trod bureaucratic bromide to make it perfectly clear by, according to Curtis, saying

“Constructive criticism is always welcome,”

implying that this was anything but constructive.

The tag team of Perry and ex-marine, now “pastor” Commissioner Tom Iannucci have been almost comical in the way they manage to bungle public relations whenever given the opportunity despite widespread ridicule in the community for their foible-filled fanaticism.

Many, even among Perry’s strongest supporters, have been almost relieved that his semi-regular column in the local newspaper has become more semi than regular in recent months.

Most people can take a hint. Obviously some cannot.

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