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

Policing Canada in the 21st Century

Whether one is a police leader or a student of policing, a recently released paper on Policing Canada in the 21st Century is compulsory reading.  Sponsored by Public Safety Canada, Justice Canada and the RCMP, the Council of Canadian Academies was presented this charge: Given the evolution of crime, the justice system and society, what do current evidence and knowledge suggest about the future of the public policing models used in Canada? A multidisciplinary panel was assembled by the Council, Read more [...]

There is Nothing Like a Man in Uniform – Oops!

The uniform of a disciplined organization instills pride and attracts attention. But in the life of those who wear that uniform, there inevitably arrives that embarrassing moment when we are undone by our own well-concealed vanity.  Through a happy coincidence I came across one such moment described by my friend Clif Chapman, a retired member of the Edmonton Police Service, which seemed a good bookend to a tale of my own misadventure.  With Clif’s permission, I offer his anecdote with my own Read more [...]

The Duty to Entertain

Of the many attributes of leadership, the most overlooked is the duty to entertain. Humour and incentives are great ways of ensuring goals and objectives are accepted with enthusiasm. Those who would lead must be prepared to produce a show. Newsletters and small tokens of recognition can be the vehicles for delivery. During my term as Chief in Edmonton, we attempted to insert humour into every bi-weekly internal news bulletin. On one occasion, then the city-owned Edmonton Telephones was marketing Read more [...]

The Police Personality – Who Are These Guys?

Towards the conclusion of the classic western film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the two outlaws find themselves doggedly pursued by a law enforcement posse they cannot shake. Despite all their back country cunning, the law enforcers hang relentlessly on their trail. Sundance wonders, “Who are these guys?” Is there a distinct “Police Personality,” and if so, who are these guys? That’s the question researcher Aviva Twersky-Glasner, City University of New York, examines in her article, Read more [...]

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 [...]