Thumb's up for officer scent
Most successful businesses and agencies engage in self-evaluations, asking their customers "How did we do?"
But imagine being handed such a survey to judge the performance of the guy who just pulled you over and gave you a ticket for speeding.
The Storm Lake Police have been doing such evaluations for several years now, and openly printing the responses in their annual report. While some are grateful for their services, others, as you might expect, are overflowing with frustrations. And some are just plain strange.
Officers sent out 497 surveys to people they had seen in various incidents during 2003, and 27 percent were returned. Of those included in the report, a majority gave officers good marks, even if the respondees were the ones being busted. Several did note that they didn't feel officers gave them enough information about what would happen after an incident scene was cleared, and one charged racial bias.
Here's a sampling of the responses from this year's report, released by the department this week:
* "Lt. Cole was a very nice guy. He came to the accident promptly (which was great, being as it was rather cold) and was very professional and considerate."
* "Very happy that the bike was found. And thank you for the great work."
* "After 79 years we do make mistakes - occasionally. I am proud of our police department. You have a heavy load with all of our mixed races in Storm Lake. You do a good job watching our street too."
* "He gave me a break and I learned a valuable lesson."
* Inexplicably, "I think that Officer Doebel did a fine job of issuing me my ticket. Keep up the good work."
* I appreciated the warning. He said 'Next time you visit
Storm Lake drive more slowly.' I will!"
* And kudos for the olfactory appeal of Officer Lundberg - "He was very professional. He was also very handsome and smelled good."
* "Very impressed with how they talked to my 10-year-old. Thanks."
* "He was nice... Most officers would search my car because of my appearance, but he didn't judge me by appearance."
* And simply, "Life is good."
* "If their job is to serve and protect, I think they need to make the community more comfortable instead of making us dislike them. Please!"
* "The officer did not even look at the car or care about the fingerprints and blood stain on the window of the driver's side, which was not mine. He did welcome us to Storm Lake though."
* "Need to improve attitude and treat everybody equal."
* "Just because it's the law doesn't always make it right..."
* "Called me a liar..."
* "Late at night, no reason to give me a ticket..."
* And a bit of finger-pointing - "My husband should have had that taillight fixed."
* "F@*#!&* quit pulling me over!"
* "Handcuffs too tight. I have carpel tunnel in both wrists."
* On a drug search of a woman's home that she said was without cause - "I believe that because I am a poor (lower class) Hispanic female he can treat me and others alike the same way. I also know that if I was to make a complaint, nothing would come of it. I'm just a poor Hispanic girl who's not even from Iowa. Would I win against Lt. Cole?... I would not like to be further harassed, especially in front of my children."
* "Headlight out. Why does it take three patrolmen and 20 minutes for a headlight out? ... This isn't progress or average America and the patrolman told me... this soured my perception of Storm Lake even more."
Of all the responses, 111 said the police employee was "courteous," compared to nine who said they were not.
Only 14 responses in 120 indicated that the individual was not satisfied with their contact with Storm Lake Police Department in 2003.