Spitballing is a term for throwing out ideas for consideration at a business meeting in advance of detailed development.

I invite you to check out the spitballing menu on this page and respond when something strikes you as provocative or something you agree or disagreee with.

Robert F. Lunney

Police Professionalism – Are We There Yet?

In a previous spitball (Policing: Craft or Science? Can’t We All Just Get Along?) I related a incident many years ago when I offered the opinion that policing was, and would always be, more an art than a science; more a craft than a profession. My quaint notion had little traction with more hopeful colleagues and subsequent experience militates against validity today.  I agree that the pursuit of policing as an accepted profession is a legitimate and achievable goal. But where exactly does the Read more [...]

War Wagons

The police involved shooting at Ferguson MO (Pop. 21,211) on August 9th 2014 and police response to the rioting that followed carries implications that will affect decisions on governance, public relations and police tactics in the United States for years to come.  For many observers it was a revelation that a small jurisdiction like Ferguson possessed an armoured military vehicle of the type used in an attempt to intimidate rioters. Ferguson Police obtained this equipment through a federal program Read more [...]

Forward Policing – The Ethical Challenge of Big Data

Browsing the internet for anomalies is a hobby of mine.  It is one way of identifying the precursors of change and recognizing emerging trends.  Fringe and extremist sites are not to be neglected for they are a great source for gathering the far-out clues about what people are thinking, scheming or fearing.  So I was not surprised to come upon an article warning of a project to predict “Societal Unrest” allegedly sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an arm of Read more [...]

A Canadian Charter of Responsibilities

Following enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, Canadians and their police scrambled to adjust to a new set of principles.  Jurisprudence based on the Charter continues to develop and guide us. The Charter has the overwhelming support of Canadians.  Now is the time to take the process to the next logical step.  In 1993 Canadian M.P. Gary Breitkreuz tabled private member’s Bill C-388, An Act to establish a Canadian Charter of Duties and Responsibilities, with the intention Read more [...]

Police and Mental Health

Sammy Yatim was an 18 year old Toronto man who was shot eight times and killed by a member of the Toronto Police Service (TPS) on July 27, 2013.  The incident occurred on a Toronto Transit streetcar after Mr. Yatim allegedly drew a knife and exposed himself.  Alarmed passengers evacuated the car and police responded.  In a scene recorded on video and released for public view, Mr. Yatim was felled by pistol shots fired by a police officer and Tasered™.  He was pronounced dead at hospital.  Read more [...]

BYOD – A New Challenge for Police Management

Knowledge workers are infatuated with their personal digital assistant devices (PDA’s), those ubiquitous chunks of plastic and electronics that have altered the way we receive and process information and blurred the lines between work and personal life. PDA’s are now so deeply embedded in work habits that both public and private organizations are moving to inevitable accommodation. It is reported by several business surveys that 60% of businesses accommodate the use of personally owned devices Read more [...]

Policing: Craft or Science? Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Umpteen years ago, when I was a boy police chief, I was invited to join a panel at my second CACP (Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police) conference, held at Montreal.  My partners were criminologists from local universities.  In those days, practitioners and academics were poles apart in their outlook on contending with the challenge of crime and disorder.  At that time there was little capacity for applied analytics aside from the highest reaches of public administration.  The academic community Read more [...]