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“Us Versus Them” Inside One Organization

Mediocrity is the best result a divided team can achieve.

“The dispatchers don’t know what the hell they are doing!” “Patrol treats us like we are secondary citizens.” “The sales guys promise things that can’t be done.” “Operations’ favorite thing to say is ‘We can’t do that.’”

In law enforcement, the divide happens in “dispatch versus patrol.” In businesses, the divide happens in “sales versus operations.” Universally, the divide happens in “headquarters versus everyone else.”

How can a divided organization ever expect consistent success or engaged teammates? About the best an organization will get is mediocrity and upset individuals. The “us versus them” mentality is rooted in misunderstanding along with the unwillingness of people to try to understand.

Since 2017, I have worked with dozens of law enforcement agencies and hundreds of law enforcement professionals. These professionals do not all carry a badge and firearm. At least twenty-five percent of the attendees to our Officers of Character seminars are civilian-support personnel who work in dispatch, records or other essential areas. They are vital to the function of their agencies. But, those agencies are a great example of the disconnect which hampers many organizations.

Our Officers of Character classes combine civilians with patrol supervisors, criminal investigators (CID), jail personnel and other sworn peace officers. Those officers are the ones who put their lives on the line every day for people in our communities.

Sitting in the headquarters at the dispatcher’s station i