FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).
December 2018 (2)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (3)
August 2018 (6)
July 2018 (4)
June 2018 (3)
April 2018 (1)
March 2018 (2)
January 2018 (1)
September 2017 (1)
August 2017 (1)
May 2017 (1)
April 2017 (1)
January 2017 (1)
November 2016 (1)
September 2016 (1)
June 2016 (2)
May 2016 (3)
April 2016 (2)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (3)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (5)
October 2015 (1)
September 2015 (3)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (9)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (2)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
May 2014 (2)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
January 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (3)
September 2013 (5)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (3)
December 2012 (5)
November 2012 (2)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (6)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (5)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (3)
August 2011 (2)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (3)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (3)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
March 2010 (3)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
December 2009 (4)
November 2009 (4)
October 2009 (2)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (5)
June 2009 (3)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (2)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (3)
October 2008 (3)
September 2008 (3)
August 2008 (2)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (3)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (5)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (4)
August 2007 (5)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (5)

Hope and Change? How About Live and Learn?

If you read no other blog from me, read this one.

September 11, 2013  |  by - Also by this author

Photo by Kelly Bracken.
Photo by Kelly Bracken.
There's a part of me that is surprised every time I see my byline in Police Magazine, here on, or elsewhere. It isn't because I've forgotten what I've written (although I have). Nor is it due to selling myself short when it comes to writing.

It's because I don't play well with others.

Insufferably kind and respectful to those who exhibit even a modicum of same, I can be nasty as hell when provoked.

Part of me is unrepentant as the roadside carnage left in my wake serves as a deterrent to others otherwise inclined to piss me off. But like the baby rattler that has not yet learned to apportion his toxins, I can go a tad overboard.
The wife says that there is usually justification to my umbrage—it's my bail schedule that sucks. And so mine has been a history of strained associations, parted companies, and dissolved friendships. I can't say that I regret a majority of these losses, although by any objective measure I should be embarrassed by the circumstances precipitating many of them.

Live and learn. Or, so they say.

The fact is, I'm not so sure that I do learn. At least, not to any demonstrable profit. And at the age of 52, I have little "hope" of embracing "change." Indeed, since Obama's been around I have gotten to the point where I take umbrage with the very utterance of the words. My ways are largely set, and while a battery of shrinks can proffer all manner of perfectly valid reasons for my eccentricities, it is perhaps the most irritating idiosyncrasy that is both most easily explained and the least malicious in intent: My desire to be as honest as I can be without getting my tit in a wringer.

Don't get me wrong. I am not graduate of that mythological "Can't Tell a Lie" School of George Washington. Like any curbside detainee with a wristband tan, I can and will lie my ass off to save it. But when it comes to day-to-day intercourse, I tend to err on the side of candor. Why? Because I hate bullshit.

This brand of coprophobia was acquired through years of hearing my father's USDA-choice BS. Designed to woo co-workers into loving him and customers into adulating him, my father's bullshitting had been cultivated after he'd gotten his ass kicked once too often in his youth. But like the son of some travelling theater troop thespian who's grown accustomed to the various personages assumed of his parents, I could see through his act. Of course, his misanthropic rants may have played a part, too.

"Look, they don't mean a f**king thing to me," he'd say of the people he encountered at his job. "But of course they all think I'm just the greatest guy in the world. And you know why? Because they don't love me, they love the phony son of a bitch that they think is me. And you know what? I do everything I can to encourage this belief. I want them eating outta my hands."

There was no refuting his ability to make himself loved by those he thought so little of. After his passing, I found all manner of eulogizing gifts and documents that'd been collected through the years, including a lavishly illustrated card made by co-workers welcoming him upon his return to work. He'd been gone for three weeks.

Meanwhile, my bosses had their hands full just rounding up some bewildered explorers and couple of station volunteers to boost the attendance numbers at my retirement party.

How much easier might my life had been had I indulged in some more conventional form of adolescent rebellion. Had I simply skulked off to light up a bowl with my stoner acquaintances or run off and joined a commune. But my most mutinous act was a refusal to perpetuate my father's BS. If I couldn't pass Diogenes' bar for honesty, I would at least minimize the amount of bovine byproducts coming out of my upper orifice and give people an accurate read on what I really felt about things, be they co-workers, supervisors, or people I stopped on the street.  

That this posture has largely been to my detriment is underscored by those of lessor means who ascended higher and accomplished more on the department, ironically through their own BS skills. In their case I would hesitate to call it a talent as I'd rate the transparency of their nature at somewhere between and diaphanous and translucent. Nonetheless, their success in entrenching themselves in the upper LASD echelon is manifest and I can only speculate that others' susceptibility to their BS is related to the same DNA strand of cognitive dissonance we all rely upon at election time.

That kind of Sophie's choice is currently being played out as candidacies have been announced for the 2014 election for sheriff here in Los Angeles County. As much as I delight in the drama—indeed, this year's badged circus promises a return to the kind of no-hold's-barred "you're-with-me-or-against-me" saber-rattling not seen since current Sheriff Lee Baca went after his boss Sherman Block - I can't help but wonder how much better the candidates, the department, and the communities they ostensibly serve might have been had these men simply adhered to promises made at the time of their hiring instead of employing the kind of BS for which they have to answer now. And regardless of who wins, there is little reason to believe the next regime will not adhere to the established template of nepotistic promotions, pipeline paybacks, mutual backslapping, and the opportune grab of a coattail here and a rising star there. 

It does not speak to my better angels that I will, in the meantime, take delight in schadenfreude at seeing the backs of such individuals pressed defensively against walls. Sometimes, the BS changes; occasionally, truer natures make cameo appearances. And so it is that we see once "good friends" leveling accusations of professional malfeasance at one another and dishing blame and squaring off against one another in the election jockeying.

Live and learn, indeed.

Lest I come across as too pious, I find myself doing some inner jockeying at the moment. Part of this is because I increasingly see myself succumbing to temptations similar to those I'm slamming. With Police Magazine having grown to become the number one law enforcement publication in the country on so many fronts I have openly advocated pimping the magazine up more even as I have to wonder how much longer I will be a part of the enterprise.

The question is a legitimate one because as good as things are going on some fronts, they aren't so good on some others. While blame can be assigned according to the paradigm of the observer, it will suffice, for my purposes, to say the past few weeks have seen multiple episodes of aggravation for myself and for others. Requests for assistance went unanswered. Promises to follow-up with me were not kept. Suggestions tendered were seemingly dismissed out of hand ("I don't want to do that."), thereby killing any incentive for me to parade out others I had waiting in the wings. 

Such are the ways that prospects of conflated creativity give way to enervated enthusiasm. 

What accounted for such dissatisfactory results? Collective ennui? An orchestrated conspiracy? Pernicious paranoia on my part? Sometimes it's easier to describe symptoms than ascribe causes; certainly, it is more politically prudent to do so (See? Maybe I am learning).

Whatever the case is, it begs certain questions: Do I want to change? Can I? Should I?

So far, my answer for each is, "I dunno" (still channeling the detainee here).

I do know this: That you the reader could otherwise be entertaining yourself by watching Miley Cyrus fingering her private parts, Britney Spears flashing hers, or some other act of exposure courtesy of the Disney Girls Gone Wild World Tour. That you have seen fit to subsidize my psychic exhibitionism instead is something that I am grateful for.

This blog has been an experiment and if I cannot recoil with the horror of a Dr. Frankenstein at its results, it is because of you readers who have validated it with your patronage and comments. You have corrected me where I was wrong, complimented me when you saw fit, and commiserated on our shared traumas (I, too, drove a Vega, Dave Lain). Hell, twice the parent company has deemed this blog the best under its masthead.

And as sorely tempted as I am to just indulge myself with a maledictory diatribe on perceived slights, it would run counter to one promise that I made to myself. That while I reserved the right to take the scenic route, I would ultimately prove respectful of my intentions and the reader's time.

With said agenda in mind, a few caveats and questions...

First, remember that there's a reason that people routinely remind others to be careful what they ask for. Sometime ago, I asked permission to telecommute. On the one hand, I am appreciative as the wear and tear saved on my car has nothing on that of my nerves. But by physically dislocating myself I often feel out of the loop, and I sure as hell don't have the benefit of having built alliances with others.

Second, ask yourself: What are my assets and liabilities? How do they align themselves with my employer's priorities? If cutbacks should loom, opportunities arise, where would I stand on my department's pecking order?

Third, and assuming that your job is important to you, contemplate what—if anything—you have done to make yourself even more than useful and perhaps, even necessary?

Finally, do you want - or feel a need - to change?

Can you?

Should you?

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

John M. Wills @ 9/11/2013 11:38 AM

Don't know what, if anything, is festering beneath the surface. Perhaps the PC police have tased you once too often? Knowing your writing style, however, convinces me that you can't write without some do-gooder taking umbrage with some or all of your commentary. Nevertheless, my hope is that you would continue in your present iteration of cop/conscience/truth-teller for the good of Scoville devotees like myself who secretly say, "Yeah, Brother, that's what I need to hear."

TedB @ 9/18/2013 9:15 AM

Keep telling it like it is Dean. I've got close to 20 years on you, but we are of the same generation of cops who have a low tolerence for BS and political correctness and politics in general.

mtarte @ 9/18/2013 4:06 PM

You have a well developed BS detector Dean and I appreciate that it is used to call out those whose vocabulary doesn't contain the words "truth" or "candor", especially those who are higher ups in police administrations and political office.

[email protected] @ 10/1/2013 7:46 PM

John M.,TedB & mtarte: Took the words right out of my mouth!! Dean, please keep callin' them like you seeim'!!!

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Foot and Hoof Patrol: Meaningfully Connecting Cops and Citizens
Foot patrol is the essence of community policing—officers on foot create opportunities for...
Arrive Alive: Police Must Reduce Single-Vehicle Crashes on Patrol
Too many officers are driving themselves into their graves—turning their cars into their...

Police Magazine