Doing Right

Published: June 10, 2011

By Jim Lichtman
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“We know we can find stories of people who do it wrong, but where can we find stories of people who do it right?”

Those words began the second chapter of my book, What Do You Stand For? whose stated purpose was to offer a collection of positive examples of integrity and moral courage.

The goal I set for myself at the beginning of June was to focus on positive examples, only… for the entire month!

I know, I know. I’ve already heard from some of you asking why I haven’t written about Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, or the indictment of John Edwards or the resignation of another Democrat, Eric Massa for “acting inappropriately with a male staffer.” All have contributed mightily to the negative reputation that persists of Congress. One individual recently told me when he was asked why Weiner doesn’t do the honorable thing and resign: “None of them [indicating all politicians] are honorable.”

While understandable, it’s sad to hear for the simple reason that there are many good people in Washington – both Republicans and Democrats – working to do a good job for country. We just never hear about them because the media tends to focus on the shipwreck instead of the prosperous voyage.

In Desert Hot Springs, California Police Chief Patrick Williams received “…the Award for Ethical Courage at the California Police Officer’s Association Leadership Summit in San Diego this week,” reported local TV station KESQ.

The Association said that “The Award of Ethical Courage is designed to recognize the law enforcement professional whose actions have most demonstrated the personal courage to ‘do the right thing,’ ” the association said, “despite adversity or popular opinion to the contrary. It is intended to commend and spotlight individuals who do not confuse silence with loyalty and integrity and who have the strength of character to withstand the criticism and accept the personal risks associated with their decisions.”

At the luncheon honoring Chief Williams, officers heard that “Chief Patrick Williams has demonstrated great strength of character since taking over the leadership of the Police Department of DHS almost three years ago.

“Chief Williams was the tenth Chief in as many years for the agency. The leadership void and operational challenges of the agency were evident from the beginning of his assignment—he was sure to be tested.

“Chief Williams has since served the community of DHS with unmatched integrity. His personal courage to do the right thing despite adversity has healed old wounds within both the city government and the developing agency. He has taken personal risks in his decisions to improve the agency beyond even the most optimistic of outlooks. He leads from his heart while modeling the utmost courage to make deep and lasting positive changes to our staff, our city, and surrounding communities.

“These changes have come with significant scrutiny. There have been difficult staffing decisions and changes in long-standing policies and procedures. During these times, Chief Williams has never lost sight of the ultimate goal of creating an agency that provides the best professional service to a community that has truly embraced the positive changes they are now seeing within the Department. In some cases, it might have been much easier to consider a lower standard of performance or accountability but Chief Williams would simply never compromise his own ethics let alone tolerate anyone else who would. He has shown great commitment to the agency and the community through steady, ethical courage.”

Congratulations Chief and keep up the good work. We value your efforts and your example.

Short of another Watergate or Madoff scandal, this whole month will be given over to positive stories. Let’s see if I can make it to the end of the month.


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