Review #1 "New book explores perils and solutions for police" from American Police Beat, April 2017.
No one knows the game like Ron DeLord and his new book, with co-author Ron York, is required reading for anyone representing law enforcement officers.
If you are a leader of a law enforcement agency or a police association today, chances are good you are overwhelmed with the myriad of challenges and complex responsibilities the job now entails. Along with the skills to run a business, police union leaders need to negotiate contracts, understand public finance, oversee public relations efforts, and be an effective politician.
Up until now, it’s been difficult if not impossible to find a thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of these complex issues and even harder to find ideas for realistic solutions – especially for the people who are running police associations and unions and representing sworn personnel on the job.
But happily, that’s all changed with the publication of this remarkable book – Law Enforcement, Police Unions and the Future, written by Ron DeLord and Ron York. Contributors to Law Enforcement, Police Unions and the Future, include some of the most experienced police union leaders of the last 30 years.
The book presents a clear analysis of the problems as well as creative ideas for solutions. Chiefs, sheriffs, superintendents and commissioners will get as much out of reading this book as the leaders of police unions and associations.
You will learn more about the fascinating history of police unions when beginning in the 1970’s, they began their transition from fraternal clubs whose function was mainly social, to serious labor organizations whose leaders became skilled in the political arena as well as at the bargaining table.
Their success was impressive. For four decades most people in law enforcement could count on regular salary increases, better health care and pension benefits all the while reaping the advantages of belonging to an organization that was learning how to gain and use political power.
But those halcyon days are over. Law enforcement agencies and unions, despite their best efforts at the bargaining table, now find themselves preparing their members for layoffs, pay and benefit cuts, and more restrictive working conditions. Leaders are also trying to fight back against the well financed, organized effort to weaken all the public sector unions, eliminate collective bargaining rights, end defined benefit pensions, and privatize the job.
If there is one message you will take away from this book it is that law enforcement has to change the way they do business if they want to survive.
To fix a problem you have to understand it first and reading the pages of Law Enforcement, Police Unions and the Future, the reader starts to comprehend the monumental task at hand and why it is so important for the unions to win. We learn why it is crucial for police associations to develop a whole new approach to leadership.
We discover why it’s important to pour your heart and soul into educating the members, how to overcome apathy, improve morale and encourage more diversity among the leadership.
One of Ron DeLord’s favorite sayings is, “Pray for Peace but Prepare for War,” and a good portion of the book is devoted to just that. You will learn how to mount an effective political campaign, the complexities of confrontations – what works and what doesn’t, the reasons leaders fail, and what every union leader needs to know before they light the fuse and throw the bomb. There’s also helpful information for leaders and their members on crafting an effective public relations effort as well as how the power of police unions has eroded and ways to stop the bleeding,
All the big issues are covered – best practices and policies for officer-involved shootings, ways to diffuse violence among the police themselves, how to stop the growing racial divide between law enforcement and citizens, the complex issues concerning body cams, how to use social media effectively, and how to get the reporters and the news media to tell the story from the cops’ perspective.
DeLord and York make it clear that today the law enforcement profession is hanging in the balance and it is how the police unions navigate these treacherous waters that could be the deciding factor on whether the profession survives.
So this is the battle we find ourselves in. Winning means nothing short of beating back the effort to destroy the union and privatize the job. Mastering the lessons of Law Enforcement, Police Unions and the Future is going to help us win.
And when you finish pass the book along to anyone who cares about fairness and equity for teachers, firefighters, nurses, and librarians. This book, with its superb analysis and creative ideas for solutions, is for them too.
Cynthia Brown, American Police Beat, April 2017.