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Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heenan

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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby snoqueen » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:07 am

Is it possible for you to consider that these people you're so busy disliking might be pro-union and at the same time disagree with the recent disposition of a long-running story that included union involvement in the past? Or is that just too much of an intellectual stretch for you?

Like, isn't life a little more complicated than some binary "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby Violet_Skye » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:10 am

"Several of the messages appeared to express frustration toward co-workers and his job.

“i better go in. it’s getting light out and all these people will soon be able to see the raging contempt on my face,” he wrote on Sept. 8. The next day, he wrote: “i’m ready to go on a shooting spree up in dispatch.”

“i’m going to kill somebody. Dispatch, coworkers, who ever,” he wrote on Oct. 5."

and


“I know Steve,” he said. “He’s a funny, sarcastic guy." Frei said."


Read more: http://host.madison.com/now/chief-noble ... z2X15TyxU9

Really? Seriously? Nothing to see here, everything is fine and normal, no problem, Frei? What. The. F. does he have to do or say for there to be a problem???
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby swimmingupstream » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:18 am

snoqueen wrote:Is it possible for you to consider that these people you're so busy disliking might be pro-union and at the same time disagree with the recent disposition of a long-running story that included union involvement in the past? Or is that just too much of an intellectual stretch for you?

Like, isn't life a little more complicated than some binary "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?


Sure, but that works both ways. All of the posts yesterday was that Noble Wray should have fired Heimsness a long time ago while completely ignoring the role his union played.
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby snoqueen » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:12 am

If this was happening on some Facebook page, maybe it would be useful to discuss it over there. This is a different forum and I'm not sure many people here are in a position to explain what's being said on Facebook.
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby Gerth » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:18 am

So now what, will the commission grant Wray's request or will they not? Will the union be able to go to bat for Steve or is it a done deal?
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby bdog » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:00 am

My prediction: Wray is already gone.

His complaint airs so much departmental dirty laundry that this has gotta be his swan song. He must figure if he's leaving he may as well take down a trouble maker on the way out.

Cops leaving rifles unattended? Not cleaning their weapons? Incompetent dispatchers? MPD sure looks undisciplined.

Only question left is Wray retiring or does he have another job lined up?
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby lucypevensie » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:02 am

Violet_Skye wrote:"Several of the messages appeared to express frustration toward co-workers and his job.

“i better go in. it’s getting light out and all these people will soon be able to see the raging contempt on my face,” he wrote on Sept. 8. The next day, he wrote: “i’m ready to go on a shooting spree up in dispatch.”

“i’m going to kill somebody. Dispatch, coworkers, who ever,” he wrote on Oct. 5."

and


“I know Steve,” he said. “He’s a funny, sarcastic guy." Frei said."


Read more: http://host.madison.com/now/chief-noble ... z2X15TyxU9

Really? Seriously? Nothing to see here, everything is fine and normal, no problem, Frei? What. The. F. does he have to do or say for there to be a problem???


Do those quotes really strike you as surprising? Pretty much every public service professional that works directly with the public in potentially difficult situations says things like that regularly, whether they're cops, bartenders, or social workers. They aren't allowed to express their frustration directly to clients/customers/etc despite having other people's frustrations heaped on them, so that frustration builds up until they can go back to whatever their profession's equivalent of the break room and let it out. Heimsness's mistake is that he did it on work computers rather than saying it to a buddy over a beer at the end of his shift.

I have no doubt that half the other cops on the force have done the same thing, and I also have no doubt that Noble Wray is overplaying these messages in order to get rid of Heimsness. (Not that I really blame him; he's never going to be able to give Heimsness his job back without significant outcry from the community.)

re: the racist, sexist comments, though, Heimsness has nobody to blame but himself. To say those things, let alone to be dumb enough to use your work computers to save them for posterity? You deserve to be fired, especially if you work in a job that's heavily stereotyped as being racist and sexist and on a force that's actively trying to combat those perceptions.
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby Gerth » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:38 am

And ultimately, Wray is responsible for the MPD so I would agree with you. If it's as bad as all this looks, Wray will have to go. Of course, that won't make Royko happy since Steve is still being thrown under the wrong bus. I don't see Wray as anything other than a victim of the MPD environment he created.
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby snoqueen » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:03 pm

I don't have any information other than what's been linked on this topic, but when I read the complaint I read it totally differently. (Probably the truth is somewhere in the middle.)

I felt this was a picture of a highly discontented employee. He was mad at Dispatch repeatedly (did he ever file the complaint he mentioned?) but his short messages were all over the place. Making fun of someone's voice? That's not a management problem, it's either an interpersonal problem or a generally disgruntled employee.

Naming names of officers he didn't like? Against departmental policy, but it's no sign the named officers were objectively incompetent or lazy. We don't know anything about their work at all. Again -- either interpersonal problems or a disgruntled employee.

Using the Internet to look up music and motorcycle parts for an hour on duty? Admitting to "hiding" so he didn't have to take calls? Again -- discontented worker.

Someone should have flagged this this earlier and more effectively. I haven't heard both sides, but if I was god the first thing I'd do would be find this guy a job where he can be happier and use his abilities better. This was not a good fit. Going to work that miserable and angry day after day is awful just on a human level, and certainly doesn't lead to high performance on the institutional level.

What are signs management wasn't dealing with more general departmental problems? The unsecured and improperly maintained guns are the most obvious.

Problems of harassing and speaking badly of female employees and minority employees should have been dealt with earlier, as well.

In both instances, those involved decided to deal with the problem themselves instead of reporting another officer. From what I know of cop culture (which is not a lot), isn't that pretty much how they operate? In nearly any work environment, people are hestitant to involve higher-ups because they fear a) they'll lose the support and trust of their co workers; and b) they'll be perceived as whiners and complainers by management. (cf recent story linked by Dman concerning agents in the DOJ, where the whistleblower was furloughed but middle management untouched)

Plenty of people seemed to be covering up for Heimsness. Who was he sending all these messages to? There were text conversations going on, and we are only seeing half of the dialog. There's a difference between dealing with stuff on your own, and enabling. I am seeing some enabling.

You'll always have friendship groups, but is this a friendship group gone wrong, or just one guy having problems and airing them with his closest co workers?

Lower management seems to have confronted and questioned Officer Heimsness on his behavior more than once, though it didn't stop. Somewhere up the chain of command, someone knew things were going wrong and tried to intervene.

I can't totally blame Noble Wray for this environment, since it's nearly universal in workplaces across the country to some degree. (Think of places you've worked.) One would wish the MPD would be better, but before I can lay the whole thing at Wray's feet I'd need to know if things have gone downhill or improved since he took charge and whether the problems are isolated (firing the instigator can help) or systemic (management overhaul is indicated).

I can't call for his head until we know more about the internal politics of the place.

I like it that Wray wrote up that complaint and made it public -- that's in his favor. Did he let things slide so that intervention happened too late (in a way, it did) or was Wray just cautiously waiting for enough evidence to stand up to public scrutiny and at a termination hearing?

A third possibility is this is the every-two-decades housecleaning that always happens in bureaucracies, fatalistic as that sounds. (I'm not defending the idea, just putting it out there.) Today's MPD has been criticized for moving too far toward show-of-force approaches and away from community policing, which in the past is what Madison has wanted. Is it time for the big 20-year overhaul, and is this just a symptom?

All judgment calls, plenty of gray areas. It'll be interesting to watch this one play out. This city has high expectations for its public employees.
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:11 pm

after reading the compliant (OK, I skimmed the last few pages) a couple of thoughts:

Holy fuck, dude needs a twitter account and a smart phone. Or a filter. I'm sure I've had 90% of what he communicated via the MDT go through my head at some point in the course of my career in IT or doing security. Why the hell would you commit that crap to record. Every thing after this is point is rather moot. I've seen help desk phone jockey's lose their job for one incident of doing this on accident, Heimsness did it a hell of a lot more then once and was clearly doing it intentionally.

While I think the fact that he put that shit in the official record is justification, I had the following thoughts as to the process which I think reflect badly on Wray and MPD's leadership in general.

1) Wray seems to be using the shit flinging method in this complaint. Throw everything at him and hope some sticks. There were quite a few items that you really have to want to see something wrong, and even a few where I can't actually see what the problem is. Case in point Section F, Fact D (Bottom of page 24) seems a quite a bit of a stretch to call Disrespect for a Supervisor.

2) If this didn't come about from a specific hunt for a way to get Heimsness canned then lets see all the records. It's a bit hard to judge without some comparison of his fellow co-workers. Having dealt with a number of 2nd and 3rd shift MPD officers while working security, I'd be shocked Heimsness was alone in his inappropriate comments or misuse of police equipment for non-business purposes. Making an example of Heimsness as a warning to other violators is entirely inappropriate, especially given it can be so easily misinterpreted as bowing to public pressure.

4) As far as I can tell from the complaint, the vast majority of the listed 117 complaints were not addressed at that time they occurred or soon after. I'm basing this on the fact that there are a few complaints that were addressed in a timely manner such as harassing another officer for not securing her rifle but every other complaint seems to have first been discussed with Heimsness in march, presumable as part of this investigation. Either no one complained or the lack of response could be interpreted as MPD leadership not caring.

5) The few issues that did get addressed in a timely manner didn't warrant termination at the time, why are they being brought up now?

Over all I wouldn't be shocked if Heimsness could get a nice retirement out of this process. It really doesn't seem like his behavior was an issue with leadership until he became a PR problem for the department. If they truly were not hunting for a way to fire Heimsness, I'd expect to see more people being punished or a log of all communications proving he was really that unique in his behavior.
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby Mad Howler » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:27 am

swimmingupstream wrote:Hipster Madison lefties are blaming Chief Noble Wray for not firing Heimsness. Well Wray can't fire him. It has to go through the city's public service commission which is controlled by public employee union types. But I am a douche for point that out...

The truth hurts.


Fascinating thread.
Now "divided", obviously those remaining civil contracts must be conquered.
What/who is next?
Is anyone seeing a pattern?
Or are you too swept up in our current pattern of prosperity?
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:02 am

swimmingupstream wrote:Hipster Madison lefties are blaming Chief Noble Wray for not firing Heimsness. Well Wray can't fire him. It has to go through the city's public service commission which is controlled by public employee union types. But I am a douche for point that out...

The truth hurts.


Well, the truth is you don't know what you're talking about, for the most part. Not sure which "Hipster Madison lefties" you're in touch with, but there's no such thing as "city's public service commission." And the Police and Fire Commission has as its senior member (and I think Chair) Michael Lawton, a partner at the law firm of Lathrop and Clark, which represents management in labor issues. Pretty hard to say a commission with Michael Lawton in that role is "controlled by public employee union types." So, yes, you are a douche, but not for the reasons you like to believe. Truth.

(BTW - are hipsters really lefties? I've always thought they were kind of apolitical.)
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby swimmingupstream » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:55 am

Levitan I was using "public service commission" generically (notice I did not use capitals) so screw you, and the commission does lean to the union side, so screw you again.
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby snoqueen » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:30 am

I thought hipsters, if they were political at all, leaned libertarian. But what's that got to do with anything? I don't even know what the so called hipsters have to do with anything.

I'd like to see a good sample of other people's internal communications at MPD too. In jobs that are either high-stress or boring and employ smart people (police work and IT being two, along with emergency rooms), you get lots of weird jokes and black humor going around. If what was in the complaint was pretty much standard operating procedure, it should be seen in that light. It could make a lot of this look like a witch hunt.

Other side of the coin: people do like to push it and see how far they can go (look at Meade right on this forum) before someone cracks down. If you've got a disgruntled employee angling for early retirement, you've got a motive.

It'd be better if we had a knowledgeable employee whose discontent was taken seriously. Was this ever a possibility, and over time the situation deteriorated? Question one.

And was the documented behavior pretty much SOP, or unique? Question two.
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Re: Wray wants Heimsness fired -- but not for shooting Heena

Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:37 am

swimmingupstream wrote:Levitan I was using "public service commission" generically (notice I did not use capitals) so screw you, and the commission does lean to the union side, so screw you again.


How many times in the past five years has PFC reduced the proposed discipline? Out of how many cases?
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