Sheriff Parkinson takes charge
January 3, 2011
Ian Parkinson was sworn in Monday as the new San Luis Obispo County Sheriff. The former police captain, elected last November, took the oath of office in front of a packed audience in the county supervisors chamber.
Later in the day, officials released a copy of the memo Parkinson sent to his new staff today to mark the beginning of his tenure. Here is the statement, called Unite and Restore the Pride:
“I wanted to take some time before I officially take office to offer all employees some insight into my leadership philosophy and my expectations.
“First, let me begin by telling you how excited I am about becoming your next Sheriff. Over the past 26 years, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked side-by-side with many of you. During this time, I’ve always felt that the possibilities for the sheriff’s office are limitless. I believe that today more than ever. I am eager to get to work, and I will be very proud to wear the Sheriff’s star, the tan and green, and to serve as your leader.
“One of my most urgent goals is to promote my vision of effective leadership. As law enforcement officers, we are all responsible to be problem solvers and a big part of that starts with recognizing that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. It is our job to discover the strengths that each person brings to the job and to assist each person in improving upon their weaknesses.
“I firmly believe that no individual is more important than the Sheriff’s Office as a whole. Just like a sports team, every position is as important as the next and to be successful we must value each other and work together toward our common goal by capitalizing on each person’s unique strengths. This means that, regardless of your specific role within the Department, you are of equal value in my eyes to the team, and you deserve to be treated that way by every other employee.
“Over the next few months, I will spend a considerable amount of time getting to know each unit of the Department. I will solicit your ideas and involve employees whenever possible. I will carefully consider this information to make many important decisions for the betterment of the Sheriff’s Office; in other words, decisions that will benefit the entire agency.
“Some people will adapt to these changes easily but, predictably, others will have a more difficult time adjusting. If we communicate with each other candidly and respectfully, the process will be smoother for everyone.
“I’ve always believed that promotion is simply a means to effectuate change in an organization. I do not believe that promotion is for everybody, nor do I believe that promotion is always a measure of success. Some of our best leaders are not in supervisory positions. I do not believe that the key to promotion is to try and please me.
“Instead, the way to promote is to gain the credibility and respect of the people you work with by being honest and fair, and working for the betterment of the team, not just yourself. So, when I consider promoting anyone, the first question I’ll ask will be: Does the employee have the credibility and respect of the other people in the agency?
“My law enforcement philosophy is simple and straightforward. I believe that we should be tough on crime and protect the people we serve. Every employee should treat the people we deal with in the same way we’d like to see our own family members treated. As long as we keep this in mind, The Sheriff’s Office will gain and maintain the respect of our community.
“If you remember one thing from this brief introduction, remember this: with our commitment to the Sheriff’s Office and to the community we serve, we will be the law enforcement leader in this county and a Sheriff’s Office we can all be proud of. Thank you for your attention.”