Friday, June 06, 2008

You must lead by example

Meet Heather Fong. She is the Chief of the San Francisco Police Department. Knowing what we know about that wonderful, yet deeply flawed city, Heather Fong is exactly
the kind of police officer you would imagine the city of San Francisco would choose as its chief of police. The city reached near perfection with this hire:

Minority? Check.

Woman? Check.

Apparent Lesbian? Check

Masters degree in Social Work from San Francisco State? Check.

All that's missing is her being confined to a wheelchair, and then we would achieve the quintfecta.
I can't stop chuckling over the words of Dirty Harry in The Dead Pool: "Well, personally I think teaming up with a Chinese American is gooood for the department's image."

I also always chuckle when Michael Savage (who broadcasts from San Francisco) mentions Heather Fong on his show. He always refers to her as the little cop whose hat keeps falling over her eyes.

In spite of all her qualifications on the political correctness checklist, the million-dollar question is whether Heather Fong is qualified to be in her lofty position; both in regards to technical and tactical proficiency, and to leadership ability?

Apparently not.

It seems that Heather Fong has just been too darned busy in her capacity as chief of police to qualify with her service weapon. And just how long has it been since she qualified? Try around five years. SFPD officers are required to qualify with their service weapon every six months, and Chief Fong has missed the last ten deadlines. She freely admits this, but her admissions seem to carry an air about them that says, "What're you gonna do about it?"

It is easy for for one to make the argument that Fong is, after all, the chief of the entire department; honestly, when is she going to have to use her service weapon? The simple retort to that is a matter of leadership. As a leader, you don't ask anything of your troops that you are not willing to do yourself. Nothing makes the troops lose respect for their commander faster than when the troops are required to perform a task that their commander considers him (or her) self above doing.

This was demonstrated to me personally when I was in the Army, and stationed in Germany in the mid-1990s. We were on the qualification range with our M-16s, and who should be in the foxhole next to mine, but a one-star general. I have to say, I was thrilled. Here was this Brigadier General performing the same task I was, and showing himself to be human at the same time as he cussed and giggled when he missed a shot, and bantering with me between phases of the qualification. One could have made the same lame argument here: when is that one-star general possibly going to find himself in a situation where he will have to use a weapon? We have now established that that isn't the point, now is it?

As a teacher, I have always tried to follow the tenets of leadership in that capacity as well. When I tell my students to pick up the trash at the end of the period, who do you think is the first one walking around the room picking up other people's trash? As I do it, I tell my students that if I can pick up trash, they can do it as well. There is this review game I play with my students called Stump Mr. Chanman. When they watch some documentary film about any historical topic, I have them take notes in the form of questions they can ask me at the conclusion of the film. If a student's question "stumps" me, the students get a treat; usually a Jolly Rancher candy or something equally inconsequential to me, but a treasure to them. Again, I don't have my students do something that I cannot do myself, such as absorbing information from that film.

Leading by example is probably the most important thing that someone in a position of authority can do. Even if your leadership abilities are lacking in other areas, your willingness to endure the same hardships as your troops is always a huge plus in your ability to influence them into getting the job done. By not qualifying with her weapon, Heather Fong is telling her "troops" that they don't matter as much as she does. How is she supposed to lead them if they are not going to be willing to follow?

In my not-so-humble opinion, Heather Fong should resign and allow a true leader to take the reins of the San Francisco Police Department.

Good Day to You, Sir


The Vegas Art Guy said...

Can't shoot a gun?

Sheesh, when the school district found out that the Chief of School Police did not have his POST certification, they fired him.

Talk about two different worlds...

Law and Order Teacher said...

She is a joke as an officer and leader. But I am also disgusted with Delanges and his pansy response. This is "vile and personal in nature." I wonder if his troops feel the same way. What a pansy. Stick up for your troops. This chief is nothing but a paper tiger who is where she is because of what she is. I'm glad I'm out.

Don, American said...

I remember the jerk second lieutenant who lectured me about my appearance as I stared at the fingerprints on the visor of his hat. I believe that was just before he marched us off in the wrong direction, and some sergeant had to turn him (and us) around. There are some people you just wouldn't go into battle with.

Darren said...

She also throws her officers under the political correctness bus. Remember her reaction to that slightly humorous and even more innocuous video that surfaced a couple years ago?

Why anyone would want to be a cop in San Francisco is far beyond me. Let that city rot.

Anonymous said...

I have a very hard time imagining this Chief ever placing anyone under arrest? Could she "womanhandle" a 250 lbs. ex con? I really have my doubts; but does anyone have a bio on her, maybe she was a kick*&^ cop?!

rho said...

The best part of that picture: look at the expression on the face of the guy in the background!

Texas Truth said...

Lead by example. That is what a TURE leader does. I follow the same example in my classroom. I wear my ID badge and follow all dress codes requirements of the students. I also pick up trash and do everything I require my students to do. If a leader does not follow the same rules and requirements as their subordinates, then they can never be a leader.

PS: I bet that General was a conservative.

Donalbain said...

Apparent Lesbian? Check

What does THAT mean? Do you know she has sexual feelings for other women? Or are you using it as the sort of insult that gets my students a detention?

Anonymous said...

Some say appearances are everything...well, at least they are important. I think Chief Fong's appearance has something to do with exhuding leadership. I've always thought that something about her in her uniform did not look right and now I've finally figured it out - her hair. It is below the collar, and not very military appearing. How many departments allow their female officers wear their hair that long?

Donalbain said...

She should not look military. She is a civilian in a civilian authority.

Chanman said...

Donalbain, you obviously know nothing about the grooming standards of American police officers. You best stop talking about this subject before you make yourself look like a further fool.

Donalbain said...

Oh. Sorry. I dont want to be called a fool by someone who uses insults that my year 7s get detention for. And I would hate to be called a fool by someone who doesnt know that the police force is NOT a military organisation.

Chanman said...

Didn't I say to not go further or I would make a fool out of you? OK, if you insist:

First, please point out where I, or anyone else said that the police was a military organization.

They are however, a Para-military organization that follows many of the same standards and routines of the real military. My father was a police officer for 30 years; I know of what I speak.

If you go to an American police academy, you will see that the recruits wear uniforms, line up for formation, have uniform and barracks inspection, physical fitness workouts and tests, and standards of grooming that must be followed, to include their hair... just like the military.

Men must not let their hair grow down their neck or let their hair touch their ears. Women must make sure their hair does not extend past their collarline... just like the military.

Once the recruit is out of the academy an on the job, those standards for wear of the uniform and of grooming must continue to be followed... just like the military.

Police agencies even often have the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, and Colonel... just like the military.

Try not to spout off on a subject about which you obviously know nothing. THAT, is what year 7s are really good at doing.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I have a little experience with both the military and the police. My transition to the police was smoothed by the fact that most of the same standards applied to both. I'll add that we also marched to classes. I have seen officers fired for violating grooming standards. So yes, they do apply. Furthermore, common sense dictates that officers do not wear real neckties, for obvious reasons, and long hair also gives people bent on harming an officer a great handle on which to pull. Fong would know this if she was a real officer.

Donalbain said...

THe police are NOT para military. They are a civilian force. Hence the comment "she doesnt look military" is irrelevant and nonsensical. Of course, I notice that you are avoiding all comment on the fact that YOU used a childish insult.

Chanman said...

"She doesn't look military" is nonsensical? So, "She doesn't look civilian" would make perfect sense then?

Boy, you have rocks for ears. The appearance of police officers is based on the standards of the M-I-L-I-T-A-R-Y. Say it with me now: M-I-L-I-T-A-R-Y.

If you can't stand a little fun being poked at you, then by all means, take your little troll ball and go crying back to Mama.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Paramilitary means a civilian organization that is organized based on a military model. I was told on the first day of the police academy that the police is a paramilitary organization. We have a rank structure, a chain of command, military grooming standards, etc. I don't know how else to say it. The police are a paramilitary organization.

Chanman said...

Donalbain said:
"Apparent Lesbian? Check

What does THAT mean? Do you know she has sexual feelings for other women? Or are you using it as the sort of insult that gets my students a detention?"

Her profile on Wikipedia says she is an active member of the city's GLBT community and she marches in the city's annual Gay Pride parade.

That's not rock-hard evidence, but I would say that qualifies her for the "apparent" category.

It's not intended as an insult except towards the predictability of the San Francisco city government's decision to hire her. I also pointed out that she is a minority and a woman - that wasn't meant as an insult toward her either.

Do you go through life looking for reasons to be offended? That must be exhausting.