Note: This originally appeared in today's eventual Quick Links (I know, two posts in one day, I'm a work horse), but it got really long so we cut it and made it it's own post. So, enjoy.
We've been fairly critical of Stockton PD for their reaction to possible budget cuts for the past couple months, and today's going to be no different. Don't get us wrong, we feel bad for them. Layoffs blow. I've been laid of before, it fucking sucks. At least when you get fired it's for something you actually did. Getting laid off kills the notion that if you just keep your head down, nose to the grindstone, that shit will be OK.
All that being said, the fact that they're just now being subjected to budget cuts and are just now considering layoffs puts them in a better position than half the country. Complaining about layoffs like you guys are the first people to ever lose their job for economic reasons just pisses off everybody who's been in the unemployment line for the past year. And, I don't know if PD's been reading the news lately but, that's a lot of fucking people. The word "layoff" just doesn't resonate like it used to because we read about layoffs pretty much every day now.
Yes, it sucks that this will probably happen. We don't want to lose cops as much as the next guy. But bitching about it to the media to try and garner public support isn't going to work. A. You guys didn't do a very subtle job. B. You guys have been bitching for like a year straight and it's getting tiresome. And C. What's your magical solution to make $30 million appear in the general fund? If you don't have a solution to the thing you're bitching about, you're a bitch! That's why they call it bitching! We've been guilty of it, we're bitches. But then again, we're bloggers, not the fucking cops. It's kind of expected from us. And even then, we try and offer up some sort of solution.
I know this is going to be hard for some fragile cop egos to hear but you guys are just like everybody else. We're not ones to defend the city much, but when they say "nobody's safe" from the economic cuts, they fucking mean it. Unprecedented economic woes mean unprecedented solutions. Like laying off cops. You guys were immune to cuts before, but not anymore. Sorry you guys aren't special anymore. But considering after these layoffs are before the city has the cut another $30 mil, it's safe to say these layoffs aren't just a possibility, they're inevitable! So instead of bitching and moaning about something you can't stop, why not try the smart solution? (Yes, unlike PD, we're actually going to offer a decent solution)
I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that the public doesn't have too high an opinion of SPD right now. They've been bitching about their raise forfucking ever, shooting innocent people, and crashing into each other. No matter who's right or who's wrong in those situations, the result is not positive for the Police department. Coming out and bitching about the shit you guys believe you deserve as if you're better than the rest of us who are having a tough economic go just renforces the whole entitled cop stereotype. People lose respect for the badge, and that's when people listen to movie security over PD.
Instead, take these inevitable cuts, and use them to start drumming up positive PR. Yes PR, that stands for PUBLIC RELATIONS, which SPD has done a dog shit job at. Take these cuts that are going to happen and tell us how you'd prefer to keep everybody but the economy's tough and you have to do what's best for the city. We know that's what you think you're doing now, but please, bear with us. You take these layoffs in stride, play up the whole Joe Sixpack thing that was so popular during the recent elections, trying and buck that hardass, entitled cop stereotype so you can work on looking sympathetic to the public. It's not gonna be easy, but it's easier than kicking and screaming like fucking babies.
Then, when public perception is more positive, campaign for another Measure W-like thing while property values are in the fucking toilet. That way, there's no possible way you can overestimate the funding you'll get from that measure. Then, when the housing market bounces back (and we know shit looks bleak right now, but it will) you'll have fucking boatloads of cash to hire everybody back, plus the 40 guys Measure W was supposed to hire.
We're no economists. Hell, there's probably an assload of flaws in the scenario I just presented. But frankly PD has a huge PR problem right now and bitching about layoffs that almost every sector of society has already had to deal with isn't going to solve the problem.