After six months on the job, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler took time to reflect on his performance, giving himself a report card on dealing with the challenges he inherited and his position on the current conflict between the Police Benevolent Association and the Mayor.
If you were giving yourself a report card, how would you grade your first six months on the job?
Let's go with a number. I'd give myself about a 90.
If your parents asked why you didn't get 100, how would you explain?
This is the first marking period, a time of reluctance for giving out high grades because you always want to leave room for improvement, and there's a lot to be learned. A teacher would point out that the assignments are likely to get more difficult, and you don't want to set up a kid for failure by saying they were perfect. So if you can maintain a 90, that's excellent. If you drop below that, it's almost expected because of the challenges ahead.
What were the high and the low points of the six months?
Let's go with the high point. The high point was traveling down to Washington D.C. back in June. We had two police officers winning the national Top Cop Award. These gentlemen got invited to the White House. I went along with them and got a chance to shake hands with President Barack Obama. That was great, but what impressed me was we have a little under 500 police officers, and we brought down more than 70 police officers. We were the talk of the town for a national police event. That says that the esprit de corps we have within the Police Department is galvanized.
One of the things, and I wouldn't categorize it as being the low point in my career, but because it's just happening and we're still making our way back from it, is the issue with the Mayor and the presentation of the award. Right now it sits as a distraction. We're working hard to get past that, and we will get past that. I think that a lot of the police officers were affected by that. It came at a point when I feel that morale was up at a very high level. It came at a point when we were rounding significant corners in addressing issues as a new administration, when the summer was just beginning, and the [Post-Standard] had a feeding frenzy with it, almost every day.