I had been reading through some of the issues discussed on previous message boards, but I assume that everything has been deleted with the migration to the newly revised website. I am putting this entry out as an offer to listen to those within our organization who would like to engage in an honest and open dialogue about the future of our agency. The only way that we can improve is to pull together as a team, as opposed to pulling ourselves apart. Please don't get me wrong, I understand that no one is going to be happy with his or her job all the time, but we certainly can work to spread accurate and timely information throughout our ranks so that rumor, speculation, and innuendo do not wreak havoc on morale. I cannot offer any promises about what can or cannot be changed as a result of your feedback, but I can promise that I will hear and address your needs to the very best of my ability. Feel free to call me to discuss your ideas (850) 245-2897.
Florida Park Patrol
Ok since you brought it up. Why are you calling us Florida Park Patrol?? As I recall the agency spent much money to change our appearance and patches and uniforms so that we are recognized a Florida DEP Officers which do more than just signify us as glorified armed park rangers. Another note is one Captain calls it Florida Park Police and you stated "Florida Park Patrol" I trully love this agency and what it has to offer but shouldnt the brass be on the same page?
One minute we are State LEOs and the next we are Park Cops confined to a park which by the ways makes NO SENSE. (Traveling to a Park to go in service ) Does my jurisdiction begin there or something ? What happens if I do a stop before reaching my assigned parks and I get into something? Am I not covered because agency policy says Im not officially in service yet?. Please revisit this policy and review it. We are State LEOs and should not be treated as children. You have given us the power to enforce laws and if god forbid even take a life but yet we cannot go on duty from our residence. Last time I checked I live in my district and I am still south of Georgia. Its like each District is its own little Police Department.
No disrespect but honest questions, I sincerely appreciate your comments on here as it says a lot for your character.
Another question is why can we not have David software put in our patrol units. We cover several hundred square miles each day. I would at the very least welcome the chance to see who I am dealing with especially since we know all the people give us accurate information. Please do not compare us to the old days as many senior staff do. I would like to think we have progressed just as any other agency without the stigma of old comparisons.
Again thanks for the opportunity to vent and I hope to get some honest insight without a jaded response.
Thank you Captain Gibson for your attempt to reach out to those in the field.
I,for one, did enjoy the outstanding efforts of OPET in the recent in-service training. I was impressed. I am very interested in becoming a part of the instructional team here at DEP.
I think one of the biggest concerns I have is that each district is run completely different than the other. Even within the districts, our supervisors do not communicate with each other. My Captain has yet to even see the locations that I work or the concerns I have within my area. This needs to be addressed. If I were to even speak about helping the adjoining district with a problem or concern, it is immediately shot down. Don't we work for the same agency and for the same cause?
Communications with other agencies outside of DEP also needs to be addressed. I assist all agencies at any given time, and I have oustanding results in resolving problems between all agencies.
As the last post stated, we should be addressed as DEP Law Enforcement instead of FPP. Other state agencies are not addressed as to a specific task that they perform. DOT MCCO is not addressed as the "Overweight Truck Patrol" nor is FWC addressed as "the Fish and Wild Animal Patrol". This would give us better overall job recognition.
Hopefully this posting from you will begin a new positive phase toward better working conditions for all involved within the agency. The key to all involved is to keep it respectful and to be open to new ideas from the field.
I am greatly encouraged by your feedback. To answer your question about why I called us the "Florida Park Patrol": That is still the official designation of our bureau within DEP paralance. My reference to this official designation does not, by any means, indicate any condescension as I have nothing but the highest regard for the prefessional abilities of our members. We are all law enforcement professionals of the highest calibre: a fact about which I have not doubt. Even though other agencies have chosen not to be identified by specific mission assignments, we have have taken a posture that identification by our unique mission title is not an albatross but an indicator of pride in our role within the broad field of state law enforcement.
The issue of going 10-8 from our residences has been explored, and the agency's stance is that our work day officially begins when we reach our assigned posts, our specific parks or other work stations (in my case GHQ). While I understand your point, this is the position of the agency and case law exists to support it. The only plausible manner in which this matter might be properly addressed is within the context of future contract negotiations.
David software is forthcoming, now that we have the aircards. We are supposed to receive this feature at the same time we get the E-Agent software installed for use. I cannot give you an exact timeframe, but it is going to happen. It will be a great innovation, no doubt.
We are, in fact, one state agency and not several small agencies. We do need to work together, especially if we have issues that cross district boundaries, but we must communicate these needs through our chain-of-command so that everyone is on the same sheet of music. If, in the course of your duties, you encounter such an issue, please communicate it through the appropriate channels so that district captains can communicate. Likely, they will bring these issues to the attention of GHQ, should additional assistance be required.
Communication at every level is vital. The Chief has been working very hard to promote this as a high priority issue. You should see more dsitrict meetings and better information coming your way. If you don't, please let me know. District captains, lieutenants, and officers must all appreciate the fact that we need to share information so that we can operate at the highest efficiency level possible. Also, keep working on rapport with other agencies... to know that you are already doing so is a testament to your perceptiveness. We all depend upon each other for intel, back-up, and any number of other valuable services.
I realize that some of my answers above may not be what you would like to hear, but as I said at first, I will address your comments and questions honestly.
I appreciate the dialogue. Please keep the ideas coming! Thanks.
Florida Park Patrol
Captain Gibson, Thank you for your concern with our problems. I also have issuies, but I do love my job and would not to work anywhere else as do most of the other Officers who work here.
As I said I do have issuies but I don not feel you should have to explain things in detail on the internet. Maybe a way you could do it by conducting a F.P.P. survey with a way that Officers will not think they be indentified by a post mark. This is the only way Tallahassee will get a understanding of how we feel. Some pf the things you explained are things that a lot of us already knew and with some research they could have found out also. (not they weren't real concerns to those Officers)
After a survey you or the Major could go to all the districts and try to put some of the issuies to rest or explain reasons things can not be done about them. We do understand alot of these things can not be changed by the upper command.
I believe that you have a great heart. However, after an inservice, during a "Nows your chance to talk" episode, a phone call was made to a Captain and the rath was felt by the officer. That is exactly what was referred to by a previous posting. It' real, it's alive, and it's breathing. Yes, most do appreciate your thought, but it is a fact of life!
As to a survey, one was already completed and low marks were noted from our division! No corrective action has been noted by those in the field. Why another survey?
Good luck Captain, you are a good person and we love our jobs for the most part. We just understand the fact of life!
"The issue of going 10-8 from our residences has been explored, and the agency's stance is that our work day officially begins when we reach our assigned posts, our specific parks or other work stations (in my case GHQ). While I understand your point, this is the position of the agency and case law exists to support it. The only plausible manner in which this matter might be properly addressed is within the context of future contract negotiations."
Can you post the case law in which you refer to?
I do not know what you are talking about. Prime example of your context "The Agency" not the Div of LE. This is why we have issues. You have people with NO law Enforcement background making decisons that can effect our lives.
Your reference of case is sincere but without doubt, a questionable issue. We are no different than, FHP,DOT,Sheriff's or any other Law Enforcement Officer. We are Sworn Officers certifed by the State of Florida and employed by DEP Div of LE. If something is too happen from our home to an assigned area. Im sorry our assigned area is a District which includes a county or counties. We do not lose arrest power from one location to the next. We have blue lights and we can enforce laws outsie of a park. As you mentioned earlier. We are no longer Florida Park Patrol. You appeared to contradict yourself earlier. We are not part of Florida Park Service. We merely enforce laws inside the park and that means police the employees within and that includes Managers,rangers,etc.
Personally I am not stuck on the issue of your identity crisis but I do disagree whole heartedly with not being able to go in service from my driveway. I should not have to run to gate entrance to say Im on duty. That is childish and If I do not stop for a crash because I am not on duty and someone sees me. YES THATS RIGHT I AM IN DERELICTION OF DUTY, So please show me case law that says I am not a sworn officer and not required to stop because i do not want to be late for work touching a fence post entrance.
A survey was, in fact, conducted last year, and BPP personnel indicated that we needed to improve top-down communications. To that end, the Chief implemented Monday afternoon conference calls with all captains and lieutenants in order to get information directly from Tallahassee to agency managers. The idea is to have captains and lieutenants directly informed of initiatives, general information, and everything else that is relevant to our officers' needs as well as to encourage inter-district dialogue. Hopefully, this has improved communication to some degree. Likewise, OPET has really done a lot to include "conversation time" between management and staff during the recent in-services. The Chief regularly forwards informational e-mails to the field. I am open to any other ideas that anyone might have about how we can improve communications beyond what is already being done.
As far as telephone calls to supervisory personnel and alleged retaliation against folks for speaking their mind during a recent in-service, I am not aware of this having transpired. Our intent in these conversations has been to solicit honest feedback so that we can identify and address needs. Sometimes, this information might have to be pushed out to district management for appropriate resultion, but it is not done so in terms of "so-and-so told 'us' this." The Chief and I are willing to take your calls and discuss any such concerns, if anyone so desires.
I am sorry if I have not been understood clearly in my reference to "the agency". I do not differentiate in my mind between our bureau and the overall division. Our bureau is granted a great deal of autonomy by division management, but we always remain accountable to division goals, objectives, and expectations. We are all, first and foremost, sworn members of the DEP Division of Law Enforcement, and we endeavor to work cooperatively with all of our sister bureaus and customers within and without DEP.
As far as the question of compensation for commuting time, it is counterproductive to compare our agency's practices to those of others. The fact is that some agencies require employees to attend roll calls, check-ons, and other such post drive-time activitities before actually beginning their on-duty time and other agencies do not. These practices have been repeatedly affirmed as being within the purview of management discretion, a fact which can be verified by anyone wishing to conduct such research. Since our mission is to patrol DEP managed lands (i.e., parks, greenways, etc.) and our need is to maximize coverage within our respective areas, our bureau requires the commencement of the normal workday after arrival in one's assigned work area. If, during the course of one's commute, a member encounters a situation that poses a threat to public safety (as described by policy), it is expected that the member shall take the appropriate action(s) necessary. Overtime accrued during the course of such activities will be adjusted or compensated in accordance with standard practices.
My desire has been and continues to be the creation of greater trust within our ranks and a corresponding improvement in communications up and down the chain-of-command. I again encourage those interested in holding a productive conversation to reach out and discuss issues openly. The best way for us to address items of genuine concern is to have direct contact with each other that is not shrouded by the curtain of anonymity. Please call me with your concerns so that we might talk.
Capt, would you comment on the rift between BPP and BEI? It seems as if the two bureaus of the division are getting further apart instead of working more closely together.
Although I call myself BEI, know that I am not speaking for all of BEI, but I will tell you this ... there is no rift at the patrol officer level, just lack of communication. So why are you hearing about this rift. This perception is unforunately coming from above; Our leaders need to play together better. They need to get on the same playing field. I am amazed how seperate the two bureaus are, but we're all supposed to be the same division.
Most recently, patrol gets air cards for laptops, BEI - nope. This causes a little grumbling ... not much. BEI works 9 hour days and is paid for 8, Patrol- 8 hours. <grumble> Patrol is encouraged to be law enforcement officers and take action where appropriate, BEI is absolutely discouraged from taking any immediate law enforcement action. This argument is validated by the nine hour day. Clearly, if we are told we are " off the clock" for lunch, then the commanders do this for a purpose; they expect we will not take any L.E. action when an armed gunmen walks into a restaurant and starts shooting. Yes, BEI does have unmarked cars and plain clothes, and in some cases slightly more pay, but at what expense.
Next the hurricanes. BEI were always assigned to tag along with patrol squads. Any good supervisor knows you take care of your own first. This often left BEI out in the cold with the assignment no one else wanted. I understand why patrol supervisors did this, but now, as a result, BEI will no longer be working with patrol on hurricane deployments. Now, instead, BEI will be working ESF 12, that is, we will be security guards at fuel tanker deployment depots. I'm not exactly sure we made out in this deal.
In summation, the perceived rift is coming from poor coordination and seperation between our two divisions. If the commanders would get on the same page, standardize policy and equipment, encourage dialogue and interaction then this rift would be allieviated.
Personally, I have complete respect for our patrol bureau and utilize them every opportunity that presents itself. The patrol Lt. and officers in my district are second to none. They are there to provide help to BEI whenever called upon. The perceived rift comes from to much seperation at the top. Let's standardize policy and come together as one ... ya know like a normal LE agency. "The grass is always greener on the other side until you get over there and find it's artificial turf."
I’m sorry for you good Officers and Agents in DEP's DLE. Nothing will change as long as Tom Tramel is running your division. Look at the turn-over rate, the transfers, the terminations, the hirings, the promotions, the vendors, the travel records, the law suits, etc. since he’s been in charge, and then ask yourself the following questions. Is Tramel a dedicated and talented law enforcement professional devoted to protecting Florida’s environment, or is he a political hack feathering his own nest, providing jobs for his friends, and riding a gravy train toward his own retirement? Is he really interested in your opinions, or is he only interested in your unquestioning personal loyalty to him? Considering that Florida’s law enforcement talent pool is a virtual ocean teaming with administrative leviathans, haven't you ever wondered why the political powers that be fished a guppy from a shallow stagnant estuary to fill such an important position? If you’re not sure about the answers, do the research. I did. Just keep some extra strength Rolaids nearby when you do!
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