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The Crisis Intelligence podcast

TCIP #011 – Discussing The #Ferguson Crisis with Tim Burrows

17 Aug

Welcome to episode #011 of The Crisis Intelligence podcast, with Melissa Agnes and Tim Burrows

podcast_coverWhat’s been going on in Ferguson this week is remarkable – and not in a good way. The lack of communication on behalf of the Ferguson Police Department and the St-Louis County Police Department has lead to a disastrous crisis that has resulted in repercussions that they’ll be left to face for a long time to come.

This crisis is actually the perfect case study of what NOT to do and is, therefore, certainly worth addressing and learning from. This week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tim Burrows, a retired police officer, to discuss what exactly went so wrong in Ferguson and how other government agencies can prevent similar situations from happening to them.

This episode of The Crisis Intelligence podcast discusses:

  • What went so terrible wrong in Ferguson.
  • What the local police departments could have – and should have – done instead, while managing this crisis.
  • How other government agencies can learn from these mistakes.

It’s a worthwhile listen with tons of takeaways. Enjoy!

Running time: 50:24

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Follow Melissa Agnes on Twitter: @melissa_agnes
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Thanks to Tim for taking the time to have this great discussion with me!

5 Responses to “TCIP #011 – Discussing The #Ferguson Crisis with Tim Burrows”

  1. theillinoismodel August 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    Great stuff. Lou Hayes

    • Melissa Agnes August 21, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it, Lou. It was great to have Tim on to discuss this crisis. His experience in the police field really gave us a good understanding of what was possible, and what just hasn't been done.

  2. judith delaney August 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    First and foremost thank you for the interview with Tim Burrows. As a Mother of a police officer in the Los Angeles, CA area Mr. Burrows, from my perspective, s the representative of what most police officers are about – to serve and protect the public. I particularly liked his emphasis on communication and "skin to skin" as key in building those bridges of trust.

    On the other hand, what I found disconcerting was that the discussion was centered around how and why the Ferguson police department and the St. Louis police department was not doing their job in being "transparent" (a word I have come to loathe) with
    h the citizens of Ferguson.

    My professional training and just common sense tells me there are always two sides to a story and a system of due process in this country.

    So, what about the citizens of Ferguson. Where is and was their leadership? Why were they not talking with the crowd, asking for calm – giving them a specific forum to express their concerns. If this segment of the population of Ferguson mistrusts the District Attorney so much, then why did only 12% of the black population turn out at election time to exercise their right to vote – a right that a lot of their brothers lost their lives to win for them.

    There is no question or dispute that a tragedy happened. Yet what disturbs me the most is that it is immediately turned into a "fact" that because the police officer is white his actions were racially motivated. But is that not a form of racisim on the part of the black community of Ferguson or elsewhere in this country? What would have been the outcome if one of the three black officers on the Ferguson police force had shot and killed Michael Brown in the same circumstances? Would the black population of Ferguson have been in the streets protesting? Would they have called for an indictment ? And what if the prosecutor for St. Louis county had been black, even though the police officer is white – would the black population of Ferguson be calling for a special prosecutor?
    My point: racisim works both ways.

    • Melissa Agnes August 25, 2014 at 11:05 am #

      Hi Judith,

      Thanks for your feedback. Although you address important issues and concerns, the focus of this podcast was to discuss the crisis communication strategy that Ferguson chose to take (or the lack-there-of), which is the theme of The Crisis Intelligence podcast. Although racism is an important issue within this crisis, it is not the angle that we wanted to focus on. It was important for us to take lessons out of this to help other police and government agencies (and organizations) learn best practices and how to keep themselves from repeating these sorts of damaging mistakes in future crises.

    • Melissa Agnes August 25, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      I won't respond about the racism because, like I said above, it's not the focus of this blog or podcast. However, in regards to your comment about Tim and I discussing Ferguson's lack of social media use, we were referring to their use during this crisis. It would have been very important for them to use it strategically and to communicate effectively through this time. As we discuss in the podcast, the right crisis communication strategy (which would have included social) would have helped this situation to never have escalated to the awful point that it did.

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