Robert White has made a lot of changes since he took over as chief of the Denver Police Department in January 2012. One of the biggest took effect yesterday, when the city's new reprecincting plan was officially introduced. That plan, as well as many of the other moves that White has made at the DPD, has inspired considerable grumbling among the rank and file. "As I travel to various areas of the department, I hear employees saying they don't understand what we are doing or why," White says. So late last week, the chief introduced a new communications tool: a regular video where he'll explain to DPD employees why change is good.
Here's the note Chief White sent out to explain the new tactic:
To all Denver Police Employees,
Famed American journalist Sydney J Harris said, "The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through."
As I travel to various areas of the department, I hear employees saying they don't understand what we are doing or why. Internally I think about all the meetings, memos, and information we have sent out to explain the answers to those questions. But if the message isn't "getting through," then it is my responsibility to try something else.
I know that we won't always agree. But I do hope that we can understand one another.
To that end, from time-to-time I will send out short videos that explain certain decisions and changes, answer your questions or address issues important to you, and communicate in a form that is more free flowing and less formal than a memo.
I hope that this form of communication helps bridge the understanding gap. I also hope that you communicate questions and issues you'd like me to address in future messages. Send an email or letter, have a conversation with your commander, catch me or one of my staff in person - but if you don't communicate - I can't respond.
Thanks for all that you do for Denver and the police department!
Here's that first video:
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From the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archives: "Robert White will be Denver's next police chief -- and Gerry Whitman will not be his PIO."