Anyone who’s ever quit a job has probably dreamed of writing a delicious “kiss my *ss” email to the companywide distribution list and hitting “send” just before they walk out the door for the last time.
But a veteran Chicago police leader pretty much did it for real, although he opted to withhold actual names in favor of not-so-subtle hints about who he was writing about.
The author of the red-hot communique is Melvin Roman, who was unceremoniously dumped as commander of the police district that includes Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home after “someone” became displeased with protests that closed down intersections and caused disturbances near the mayor’s home last year.
Roman was later reduced to captain and reassigned to serve as second-in-command of the department’s 20th (Lincoln) District, which serves the area between Peterson, Lawrence, the Chicago River, and Lake Michigan.
Rather than pick and choose highlights, we’ll just print Roman’s full going-away message for you to enjoy:
After over 31 years with the Chicago Police Department, my career has come to an end. I find contemplating retirement similar to contemplating life in general.
Thoughts of what has been left undone, thoughts of what I could have been done better come to mind. I’d like to think that I have always tried to do the right thing regardless of what was right.
Anyone who is a true leader will understand what I have said. My resignation as a Commander was done with this in mind. If I cannot have a voice to be heard then I have no business being in the position.
I will always be proud to say that I was a Chicago Police Officer, although I cannot be proud of our current Department. We speak about building trust with the community but do not have a trust within our own department. We speak a lot about Officer wellness and contradict that daily by missing the simplest and most basic opportunities to truly show Officers we care.
In 31 years I have never seen a Department in which the rank and file Officer is at war with the top brass administration of the Department. An administration that listens to no one, allows no one a voice, and tries to lead by the only tools they know: Fear and intimidation. Tactics which will always be doomed to fail.
A plumber on a job knows that his tools are the most important aspect of his job. An electrician knows the right tools for the job are critical. Yet here in the Department we seem to lose track of one plain and simple fact: Officers are the most important aspect of our mission.
They must have trust and faith in us as supervisors to leave the station and fulfill the missions we decide and they do that because they respect and have faith in the MEN AND WOMEN who lead, NOT the rank! This is a fact that some will never understand. Some put on the uniform and rank, and even ribbons, and think they are more important and look down on the Officers they should be holding in high esteem.
Supervisors who have had the benefit of some of the most prestigious leadership training and still do not know the most fundamental traits of a leader: A leader must genuinely care about the people they lead. Without that you will never accomplish a mission and this Department will not change.
Some will claim they do care and maybe they do, but if your outward demeanor exemplifies disdain and a lack of respect, that is what is received. Rank should be perceived as a level of responsibility. Even though it’s also authority, you should lead by your character and not by what’s on your collar.
I have faith that at some point the Department will build itself back up and will once again be something to be proud of. I hope that many of you who will take over the Department will keep these hard facts in mind. Many will be angry and upset with my words but I promise you I offer them only out of a deep gratitude and respect for the Officers who serve the great city of Chicago and to a beloved Department which I will always love and support.
To the rank and file Officers to whom I undoubtedly owe any and all my success, I can never express my true gratitude so I will simply offer a very sincere appreciation and a huge thank you.