The Great Leap Forward



Still leaping forward?

Forty-two years ago I gave a talk to the Madison Downtown Rotary Club eight months after my appointment as their chief of police.

I had my work cut out for me, we needed to change who we hired, what they did, and manage almost daily protests over the war in Vietnam and issues of civil rights from our communities of color. And I needed help, so I called upon the leaders of my city’s businesses and educational institutions. I told what I was trying to do — I cast my vision out to them. There was a lot a stake — my future and the future of policing in Madison. Could this be your vision  for today?


Just after my appointment in 1972 at age 34.
Just after my appointment in 1972 at age 34.

“In the 1980s we should have successfully made the quantum leap necessary to field a behavior and human services expert which shall be known as a professional police officer… Our police officers of the future will be human behavior experts as well as community workers. They, of course, can and will make arrests, but every arrest they make they will feel that somehow they have failed. These future police officers will also feel they have a community advocacy role within our community. They will attempt to identify government and social problems and try to solve them with the resources of the government and the community… We need your help while we make this significant lead forward.”

[From an address to the Madison Downtown Rotary Club, July 25, 1973.”The First Eight Months and the Next Eight Years.”]

Just before my retirement in 1993.
Just before my retirement in 1993.
  • Keep on leaping forward!