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Raleigh PD releases total cost of controversial training trip

Posted July 31, 2012
Updated August 4, 2012

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— The Raleigh Police Department on Tuesday revised its estimated cost of a three-day training trip that has come under fire by some union members as a waste of public money and department resources.

The trip – taken by two dozen police lieutenants to Civil War battlefields in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania in June – cost $12,756. That's about $5,000 more than the figure released by the department last week.

The earlier number, $7,700, accounted for food and lodging but did not include consultant fees and other costs, department spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

The trip cost breaks down as follows: $7,026 for food and lodging; $4,000 for consultant fees; $1,350 for transportation; and $380 for incidentals such as museum fees and parking.

The expenditure was within the $346,892 allocated in the department's budget this year for professional development, Sughrue said.

Department leaders said the trip provided the lieutenants with an opportunity to learn how political and military leaders made decisions under pressure and to study how leaders emerged during the war.

Days were 12 hours long with no downtime, and the officers used their rooms only to sleep, participants said.

"The majority of people who went on this training found it very fulfilling, found it good to work with their peers that are going to lead this department in the near future," Police Chief Harry Dolan said.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane agreed.

"It is important to have our officers trained in leadership skills and critical decision making," she said in a statement. The mayor also pointed to the Colorado theater shootings as an example of why officers must be prepared.

"As we recently witnessed in Aurora, our officers face new and difficult situations that call for the ability to think and react quickly and accurately," she said.

Raleigh City Councilman John Odom added: "If they get something out of this trip that lasts them the 20 - 25 years in the police department, then I think it's money well spent."

But the Teamsters Local 391, which represents the police interest group Raleigh Police Protective Association, says the trip had no relevance to the officers' jobs.

Chip Roth, a spokesman for Teamsters, called it nothing more than a history lesson.

"This is walking around seeing Civil War battle sites that have no relevance to our everyday world," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • outhousecat Aug 13, 2012

    Team building is another feel-good initiative that businesses and governments participate in so they can claim they did something, whereas in reality nothing is accomplished and the real problems remain. I've been drug to a few of these over the years and I finally learned to just call in sick when these messes are scheduled.

    I like my co-workers just fine, and we work well together, but to be honest I don't think I'd like to be stuck with them 24/7 for 3 days anywhere on the planet.

  • tjsnc Aug 13, 2012

    Good grief, people. Let the police department do their jobs and train their people the way the leader sees fit. He was within budget, chose to do what he thought was most appropriate for the occasion, and completed the task safely. Can't y'all see through the fog here? This is a simple case the a union is upset with the department making all officers accountable for their time spent on the job by having them fill out reports regarding their whereabouts. Or, did you guys forget about how this requirement was put out before the union started complaining about how money is being spent on training? All the comments have been so critical about how the chief spent money for training. As I stated before, demand the financials of the union and see how they are spending their contributions! It is ridiculous.

  • jgilchr Aug 13, 2012

    Don't worry they will make up the cost once the chief's new quota program begins.

  • InnocentBystander22 Aug 1, 2012

    I agree with lessismore, was this "team building" trip even approved by the city council?, It does not matter if it was in the budget, all across the country and this state law enforcement agencies are strapped for cash, and this so called "chief" decided to spend $12,256 on a trip to civil war sites? what was he thinking?

  • lessismore Aug 1, 2012

    Why don't they have a cook-out, play some soft ball, horse shoes? There is plenty of ways to "team build" besides scamming tax payers. These government people believe they are spending their own money.

  • Mon Account Aug 1, 2012

    I've been through team building exercises with coworkers. Always held in-house in the conference center. Work picked up the lunches (about $5 per person per day) and lodging was our own homes.

    Within 1 week that 'we are so close and bonded' feeling went away.

    Within a month we were back to our old ways with a few little new things added (like stopping sidebars in meetings, etc).

    Overall: we think of them as vacations at work but from work.

    Why did they need to go so far away? I would hope there are alternatives locally. And that at the very least they disseminated what they learned to other officers...

  • dollibug Aug 1, 2012

    At one point and time I had the upmost respect for law enforcement..over the years and with more encounters with them than I ever expected..I have learned that there are a lot of these people in positions who should not be there to begin with..now I will share this much with you..the ex daughter in law's family did not help any with the way I now feel about this subject. There are people who try to *HIDE BEHIND* issues that they have or (perhaps had in their own childhood) Which can influence the job. Protecting a sex molester while holding a position in any sort of law enforcement or government job is not a good way to perform one's duties..regardless of who the person is..friend, family or foe.

    how can these people do such? There are a lot of people who are in careers for the *WRONG REASON*..which is sad. Lying seems to come natural for some. One lie can lead to many. And the bad thing is that they think it is ok to do what they do. It become part of them and their jobs.

  • Gadwall Aug 1, 2012

    Two dozen participants for 3 days comes out to about $170 per day per participant. That is very cheap training / teambuilding folks. Find something worse than this to worry over.

  • tmcenally Aug 1, 2012

    Sack him. Get rid of Dolan. Tell him to go do his visionary retreats in new yawk. Tell him we're Southern, but we're not his rubes and hayseeds. How dare he....

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Aug 1, 2012

    These officers go on a history tour and get bashed, but it's OK for government union employees to go to resorts and blow over $100K. I've done this tour with the National Guard and it was very enlightening. Get over it.