What is Our Value?
This topic came up as part of a discussion with someone I consider a mentor and have great admiration for, Mark Robbins. We were discussing the bail industry as it used to be, what it is morphing into, and why. Value is perception, and we always hold a higher value to our own contributions as opposed to those of others. This is universally applicable, but for the sake of discussion, we will confine it to the bail industry. Somewhere in this discussion, we must establish a benchmark, a standard to which we can measure against. I sincerely hope that this article inspires robust discussion amongst my peers, and I look forward to the discussions.
What do you Bring to the Table?
Everyone has something to contribute, and many of us are adequate at a lot of skills. We all shine in at least one area and fall short in others. A team leader can establish who has which skill sets and decides where to use them for the greatest good of the team, and in turn, their client. Our failure is when we get upset at the responsibility chosen for us, because our perception may conflict with the team leader’s assessment of us. The old school guys are smiling, because they have all had team members in the 90-day wonder category, who knew it all after a short period of time. Sometimes it is important to know what you don’t know. Know your role, polish your skill sets and learn how to improve where you are weak. You will increase your value to the team and enjoy greater responsibilities and recognition as a result.
In our industry, if you were to ask 100 recovery persons what their most important asset is to the community, what would their response be? Some would say they are making their community safer by taking bad guys off the streets. Some would say our fugitive apprehensions cost the tax payer nothing. I would add that when we surrender a defendant, additional warrants are then able to be served based solely on our work product, also at no cost to the tax payer. Why are these positions not widely known or universally acceptable? We preach to the converted. The majority of our community has no knowledge of what we do, or our perceived value, outside of television shows or God forbid, when one of us screws up royally.
Perception vs. Reality
Follow the dollar. Few of us provide any input or demand accountability for how our tax dollars are spent. It is much more convenient to be a follower than a leader. While we are proud of apprehending a fugitive, what does it mean to the government? It means that they now must incarcerate them, defend them, prosecute them, and punish them at the end upon conviction. It means we cost them money. We force accountability on the system. Therefore, they discard our position of perceived value and opt for an alternate methodology. Our issues are not universal; the government does not value what we do. It is much too complicated. We lack accountability in our communities. We lack a fair application of justice. We interject social issues into law and order, further complicating the understanding of right and wrong. We institute an algorithm and swear that it can predict behaviors and govern our actions. We took common sense and compassion and replaced them with a math equation based on a false premise.
I suggest that we discard the vitriol of politics. We again convene as brothers regardless of race, religion or heritage. We celebrate the differences in our cultures, while maintaining a stalwart belief in a right and wrong that protects us all. We hold each other accountable, not with name calling and protests, but by whispering good counsel in our brother’s ear. We acknowledge where our transgressions are and address them individually. We stop the attack on an industry that has served all people well for generations. We agree to understand that we all want the same things, equal opportunities, our children to do better than us, opportunities for education, and the right to live in our neighborhoods safely. Free has no value.