Interview with Dale Bowlin

All right, now, speak to me about the management.


The management of our department was very inflexible and I think very conflict-oriented. And I think that carried over, there was this feeling within the officers that management really wasn't in step with the community. And while they may be trying to get in step with the community at a grassroots, or at the police officers' level, the management itself was a very conflict-oriented management style, and I think that came out of the fact that we had a corruption problem prior to the director taking over that took over. And he came in and he instituted a very inflexible personality within our department. "If the law has been violated, and this is the person that violated the law, make the arrest." And I think out of that grew a personality of numbers, ah, yeah, numbers of arrests, ah, you should make. Then you got on your performance evaluation you did a good job: number of tickets then you did well in traffic enforcement. And I think we overlooked a lot of the things like judgment and initiative and interpersonal relations that police officers need to be successful, not only with their counterparts, the other officers, but also out there doing the job day to day. And, I don't think we were measuring some of those things, and we've tried to correct that. Ah, to a great degree, I think that the Black officers felt that they had been let down by management because of this inflexible type of pressure put on them to not be a human being but to be a robot. It's interesting to me, I could get police officers, Black police officers that were raised in the Central District and put them out on the streets, doing the job, and they'd begin to get citizens' complaints. And when I'd inquire into this, "Why? You were raised out here, why aren't you getting along with the citizens?" And they said, "This pressure for numbers that we have prohibits me from using a lot of the interpersonal skills that I need to do this job." And, and I had a great deal of concern about that. I have concern about that now in modern day police departments.