Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fade to Gray

Got the word today that my old team has been disbanded. Budget cuts. It hit like hearing about a death. They were good men and women doing good things. Sometimes it seems like that is a negative, that something about holding yourself to a higher standard draws condemnation and retaliation from the world. Maybe it isn't the world, maybe it is just petty bureaucrats, the paladins of mediocrity who gnash their teeth and lash out at anything superior. Maybe that is why they are more comfortable promoting a drunk who makes them feel superior rather than a good worker who is not only smarter and braver than they are but also more honest, more honorable.

Or maybe I'm just bitter. It doesn't feel bitter, just sad. If this wasn't an Islamic country I'd raise a glass...

The first operation for the team was a riot in a facility that wasn't ours. Some of us thought it was a practical joke when we got the page. But we were there, coordinated with the local metropolitan SWAT and the Fire Department and it went beautifully. For the first time we heard, "Who were those guys?"

We impressed the other agencies- how many corrections teams have ever been specifically asked to take over a city SWAT op? We have and it went perfectly.

We designed and implemented a plan for 'mobile booking.'  At the time (and still, as far as I know) we were the only people in the nation that could go into the field to support a mass arrest situation and create a temporary jail from scratch controlling the inmates, the property and the paperwork.

That put us on 'the list'. During my tenure on the team we were on the 'first call' list for two Federal Agencies, a state facility and two city SWAT teams. 

The highest rated and most proficient trainers for both Enforcement and Corrections were all on my team. We trained with our enforcement team for a short time, but moved on to the local USM for training. They were simply better. Our enforcement team would go to our training, but wouldn't train with us, "That looks dangerous. We just shoot 'em," they said.  But we shot better.

The first agency tasing saved a life. Failures of different less-lethal impact rounds. Tons of field experience with OC, especially when it didn't work at all. PCP freaks and excited delirium. Talking people down who couldn't be talked down.

We were created and instilled with the values to always do the right thing even, or especially, if it wasn't the safe thing. As the agency changed over time, as they actually wrote into training that it was more important to avoid liability than to do the job, we could see the writing on the wall.

It's still a sad day, even if we could see it coming. They were the best of the best, as individuals they still are, and they have much to be proud of and nothing (except for blowing kisses TH you geek!) to be ashamed of.

Inveniam viam aut faciam



Molly said...

sad - but, yeah - you knew it was coming. I hope they all find work they love, in positions they can believe in.

Jay Gischer said...

Sorry to hear it. I work in a completely different field -- high tech. But I've had the analogous thing happen - both building the exceptional team, accomplishing stuff, and then having the rug pulled out. That sucks.

I doubt that it's any personal axe to grind by a bureaucrat, just a numbers game.