Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Open Letter From Chris Rainwater

First, let me apologize to anyone in that meeting who took offense to anything said. My goal is to support each of you 100%, and that meeting DID NOT allow me an opportunity to demonstrate it. Folks in your organization who know me, people like Chief O'Brien, Sgt. R.C. Hughes, Sgt. deGraff, and Lt. Kunz could let you know more about me, my sense of humor, and my utmost respect for all of you.

As it said in the blog, I may be a "nut job," (I won't deny that), but I want you all to know more about me. I'm not a VJ hire - never even met the guy. I am simply the program manager for the safety & loss prevention policy and program for the entire county. My job is to work with all of you (and all other employees in the County) to do everything that I can to slow down the bleeding of money caused by accidents and injuries. We've lost over $100 million to accidents and injuries since 2000, and that affects your jobs, equipment,etc.

The meeting was a disaster. I was invited over by DKPD to speak about those awful incident report forms. I didn't create the form, and I'm not a fan of the form. In fact, I am now REVISING the form to be much easier to use. I would appreciate any feedback from all of you on how to make the form meet your needs better.

In the meeting, there was a lot of hostility and resentment over these forms, instructions that seemed to contradict one another, forms being returned, etc. I had no idea that all this was happening in PD - I thought I was there to answer a few simple questions. WRONG! Officers were angry from the beginning, and I took quite a lashing for a long time. One officer wrote down "hostile crowd" to warn me, but by then I already knew.

My MISTAKE was that I thought all the frustration and anger over the forms was actually being directed AT me - I know it wasn't. Four or five officers would be making accusations or asking pointed questions at the same time and, I admit it, I lost my temper. Not for long - one short outburst - but I lost it nonetheless.

I apologize for that. You ever get into something and realize too late that this situation is much bigger than you planned for? That was the situation.

Several officers stuck around after the meeting, and we had a much more calm and good discussion. I apologized to them and they, in turn, apologized to me. There were too many angry people in one small room to get a good outcome.

Again, I and the entire team in Risk Management are here to assist all of you. If you have specific questions about issues raised in the blog, please e-mail me. I'll be glad to answer the questions. Some of the stuff mentioned in the blog just isn't quite accurate.

Best wishes to all of you and to your families for the safest and best of Christmases and a 2010 that finds you well and your life full of the things and people that truly make you happy.

Best wishes.

Chris Rainwater, Ph.D.
DeKalb County Loss Control Manager

"The nut job"
"The a**hole"
"The moron"

A note from DeKalb Officers: It is our understanding only a couple of people intentionally got under Mr. Rainwater's skin, and they are an embarrassment to our department. For the ones who where not actually in the meeting, we believe Mr. Rainwater should get a pass.

Comments are closed.


Anonymous said...

Mr Rainwater,

Thanks for the open letter.

You probably caught a few officers that were still digesting the "furlough that wasn't".

Being told that you've been furloughed and your pay check will be smaller is one thing...being told you're still expected to work the full 80 hours is another.

Had the officers been given the day off, they might have found outside employment on a part time.

Its easy to get into an Us against Them....Us against Decatur mentality when you've just been on the receiving end of the stick.

I think you got a taste of the state of morale.

Mitch1352 said...

I'll be damned. He stepped up and apologized. No excuses, no finger-pointing. Just a guy that decided to man up and take responsibility for his actions. I am g2g with him now.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rainwater,

Cops are different than any other group of people that you will ever work with. And our job is very different than the other jobs in the county government. If you are going to successfully work with us and expect to actually make a difference you MUST come to understand this. It is not enough to know the chief and one or two others. You need to get to know the cop culture. Our department has been mistreated and mismanaged for a long time and this is also important to know.

I appreciate your open letter. I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate your sense of humor and most of all I appreciate your apology. I agree with Dekalb Officers on this one. Anybody with the guts and good sense to send this type of letter and apology deserves a pass, forgiveness AND a second chance to accomplish his mission. I promise you this Mr. Rainwater. The next time I see you I will shake your hand because the slate is wiped clean.

There is another thing you should know about us cops Mr. Rainwater. Many of us are hard out of necessity. But in the end, we are mostly pretty good people.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like he may have walked into an ambush, but that he harbors no hard feelings. Nevertheless, it may also be the right thing to do for certain officers to do some fence-mending. Treat the wound and spread the love, my sweets.

Anonymous said...

I was at this meeting and very embarrass by the conduct of three supervisors. They just would not act professional.

Then they all made it clear they work for the CHIEFS.

He was just trying to make things easy and simple for everyone. I hope he succeeds. He takes his job like we do seriously.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 4, that explains it all.

Anonymous said...

The 3 supervisors everyone is bashing did NOTHING wrong but try to ask questions to clear up confusion; they are bashed on a daily basis by people who send up paperwork that is screwed up. They are all veterans of this department and should be treated as such, not called "assholes" or cursed at. That said, I do appreciate Mr. Rainwater's apology and accept. Thank you Mr. Rainwater, for being enough of a man to apologize; so many people never do. DeKalb officers (blogmasters),and any other bashers, please keep in mind..people who work for CHIEFS often end up CHIEFS (I.E. Harrell, Jagoe and many others).

Anonymous said...

By the way, "Anonymous" from Dec. 10 at 10:54am..I am "embarass" by your lack of grammar skills..

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rainwater,
Could you please explain your comments about writing police officers tickets if involved in an on duty wreck in a county unit? I missed that part in your open letter..what about saying that it would make the front page of the AJC that DeKalb doesn't give their own officers tickets? Oh, musta missed that apology in your letter too..Sir, please read the Ga Law Book..we are exempt from obeying "any and all traffic laws and traffic control devices when operating a police vehicle on duty in legitimate pursuit of police duties." That includes running red lights, etc..if a wreck happens, by law we cannot get a ticket. Why don't you share with everyone the proposal (why am I so sure it came from you) being considered in Decatur that would require officers to pay for some, if not all, of the damage they cause in a preventable accident? Out of their own pockets, probably taken from their paychecks..after which, they still have to go to accident review board and get a 10 hr suspension..more $$ see Mr. really didn't address much at all in your "open letter..."

Ben Dover said...

If any of the 3 end up as chiefs, then God help us all.
And the one who says police cannot be issued citations by are an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Years ago enroute to a person shot lights/siren a motorist pulled into my left lane and stopped I happened to be at Memorial Dr and Second Ave APD issued me a ticket and stated they did that to their own officers the judge dismissed the ticket and even the arb board found me not at fault but the ticket was issued.

I'm Ron Burgandy? said...


Anonymous said...

I am all for giving Rainwater a pass and forgiving. However from all the posted comments and the people I have talked to who were at the meeting, there are clearly some issues he did not address in his letter. First, he did say that he thought police in DeKalb should get citations when they have an accident in a police car. Second, he also said that there was a proposal to have Dekalb officers pay for some or all of the damage to police vehicles in accidents in which it is determined they are at fault. It is a FACT that Mr. Rainwater did speak on both of these topics as described.

It is also a fact that SOME supervisors argued with Mr. Rainwater and attempted to defend the police as it relates to some of these topics. One of these supervisors was Lt. Williams who is an aid to a chief. It appears that some of you would have preferred the supervisors kept their mouth shut and said nothing. Then you would have complained that the supervisors were spineless and only cared for themselves. Why didn’t the supervisors take up for us? Cry, Cry, Cry!!! If some of these policies are implemented, and don’t think it is impossible, you will be crying again.

The fact is boys, you just can’t have it both ways. Rainwater apologized, so forgive and forget. But why criticize a supervisor who was only taking up for the police as a whole?

Anonymous said...

Now we have a grammar expert reading this blog.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rainwater,

Thank you very much for your open letter, your calm tone, and most of all your apology.

There are always two sides to a story and I it appears we have heard yours. I just have one concern. About this "issuing us a ticket" thing for a preventable accident, is this the case? I hope not sir. I think a day's suspension or more depending on the circumstances under current policy is fair and tough as it is. Sure, it doesn't access points on the officer's license, but it sure does impact the wallet. If you don't mind, please clarify.

Anyway, thanks again for your open letter and apology. I respect your honesty and sense of responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I heard that any of us who want a follow-up answer from Rainwater need to e-mail him at I don't think he's allowed to put anything else on this blog and might have even gotten in trouble for posting his letter to us.

Anonymous said...

Ok...Seriously? If he wants to penalize officers who get in accidents we will just start parking our patrol cars and stop patrolling. I mean this is getting ridiculous people, does UPS, FedEx, The Army, Secret Service, Feds, or any other gov't agency or private company make their men pay for damaged vehicles when involved in an accident? I dont think so...As much as we drive it is inevitable, it is gonna happen no matter how good of a driver you are. This guy is trying to pinch pennies and not realizing that the morale is continuing to go down the tubes in not just the Police Dept but in the county alone. I appreciate the apology and I realize that he is human. SO ARE WE AS OFFICERS!! WE are human we make mistakes like having accidents....just as you didnt hold your tongue in that meeting which was an "accident". We are held to a higher standard but sometimes as humans we make mistakes. should someone make you pay for not holding your tongue? didnt think so.....stop trying to hit us up in our wallets and time with our families DECATUR!! And maybe things in the Dept would change.

Anonymous said...

how about do the same thing EVERY other county does, RAISE TAXES, Oh yea we have a CEO of the county who is an elected position and needs votes. rasing taxes $100 a year x 50,000 homes would increase revenue 5 million bucks for the county. How many police cars can that buy, or better yet the county could give raises to public safety personnel, or not make us work for minimum wage, or work for free, just a though I know its a little bit off topic.