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

We Need Guys Like You

The fraternal nature of policing lingers on long after retirement, and if you are lucky you will form affiliations with other retirees to preserve the arc of common experience.  In such company I found myself recently, sharing a coffee at Tim Horton's, Canada’s cultural way station.  The topic swung around to sharing stories about how we had first become interested policing.  One of my confreres  who  had served first in the RCMP and then as a municipal  police chief, related how as a young Read more [...]

Time to Revisit Community Policing

Disturbing events in Ferguson MO have had many progressive police leaders in the United States thinking about the root causes of public dissent and disorder, and methods for avoiding the rift between police and residents which preceded the police-involved shooting in this suburban community.  Drew Diamond, former Chief in Tulsa OK and for sixteen years a key staff member with the Washington DC based Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) was one of a number of municipal chiefs at the heart of the Read more [...]

Performance Ritual for Street Policing

Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on prime time until 1987.  The quintessential cop show, it was the precursor of many police dramas to follow.  The early part of the series featured actor Michael Conrad in the role of veteran cop Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, who ended the introductory roll call to each week’s show with “Let’s be careful out there.”  The wisdom of this mantra was not lost on a generation of real life squad sergeants Read more [...]

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 [...]