Watchdog Milwaukee is featuring a letter to Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke from an anonymous deputy as a "plea for leadership." While I don't doubt the passion this deputy asserts in the letter nor question the sincerity of his motivations, I struggle to find it anything more than an emotionally-charged waste of words.
Quite obviously the author felt strongly enough about Clarke's performance to compose an 800+ word missive on the topic, yet he falls short of creating anything more than a variety of vagaries and feel-good statements that will ultimately accomplish little more than giving him the satisfaction of getting it off his chest and Clarke's critics yet another opportunity to highlight the feelings of a disgruntled anonymous employee. None of this is to say Clarke isn't deserving of such feedback, or that the deputy's emotions are without merit. But if any meaningful response is ever expected from an action such as this, it's going to take something with a bit more substance.
Clarke's history of internal retaliation aside, wouldn't an essay including specific details as well as suggestions for improvement do far more good, or at least promote more diaglogue, than a "woe is me my job isn't what I hoped it would be" diatribe? As one commenter to the post put it, welcome to the real world.
Finally, while I'm all for providing constructive criticism and feedback in hopes of improving a situation, it comes with the potential that it won't be welcome, particularly when giving it to your boss. There's no Constitutional right to tell your superiors how you think they should do their jobs, so the risk of retaliation, punishment, being ignored, what have you, is ever present. I've long watched in amazement as deputies have publicly berated Clarke, always surprised when it later comes back to haunt them. Excellent as they may be as public servants, working in most any other field would be quite the eye-opening experience.