Does this culture sound like you?
Describing the culture of any workplace is challenging.
Merriam-Webster itself provides 12 definitions.
While there are many accounts of workplace culture floating around, everyone can agree that it plays a huge role in job performance and organizational success.
If people feel supported and appreciated, it stands to reason that they’ll go that extra mile (or two).
Here’s a behind-the-curtain look at our culture.
While many intangibles plug into the culture equation, it starts with the people.
We hire people who care about the community and gain satisfaction from helping others. No amount of training can teach this.
We also expect recruits to hold themselves to a high level of integrity. Some candidates don’t pass the hiring process. Honesty upfront is a non-negotiable for FPD.
It’s not a coincidence that many of our Officers played sports in high school and college. A similar type of teamwork and striving for something bigger than any one individual frames our culture. Moreover, we are an educated bunch, with the vast majority of our Police Officers and Command Staff obtaining college experience, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and even law degrees!
We’ve Got Your Back
Fremont Police treats Officers with respect from Day 1.
We want you to succeed and provide support throughout the entire recruitment process and beyond, from the Oral Board Interview to the 6-month Police Academy. Sometimes, it’s the simple actions that make a difference like a Lieutenant calling recruits to ask how they’re doing.
Instead of treating the Physical Agility Test as a military-style yelling match like many big city departments, Fremont PD believes in a motivating environment where recruits cheer for each other to meet the physical benchmarks required in this industry.
Outside of physical fitness, FPD recognizes the importance of every staff member’s mental and emotional well-being. In this line of work, we understand that our Officers deal with a lot.
Last, there’s a personal connection in our environment. Our Department is large enough for sophisticated law enforcement and career opportunities that rival any large metropolis. Yet, we’re small enough that we know each other’s names.
Rewarding Hard Work
We encourage Officers to better themselves and our community.
If you are interested in specialized areas of law enforcement, you can start applying for those positions right after Probation ends.
After serving in another Bay Area agency as an Officer for one year, Lateral Officer and Fremont native Tyler Layfield transferred to our Agency with an interest in working in the K9 Unit. Layfield connected with a seasoned K9 Officer who gave him the opportunities to help train the dogs by learning, among other things, how to take bites. You read this right. After basic obedience training, police dogs further learn the ropes by practicing their protection, attack, and tracking skills on willing (and heavily armored) Police Officers.
It was love at first bite. Today, Tyler now handles his own German Shepherd K9, Laz.
Prioritizing Diversity and Inclusivity
Fremont benefits from being one of the most diverse cities in the country.
Fremont Population Race and Ethnicity Breakdown
At last count, the community spoke 127 dialects.
Our culture reflects the goodness that comes from building a workforce that reflects our community’s diversity. We still have a ways to go toward making our department look more like the City we protect, but we are ready to do the work.
Chief Washington and his Command Staff set the tone — one that welcomes everyone.
And if you happen to speak Pashto, that would be a bonus.
Halo Effect from Our Community
Take a ride with any of our Officers while on patrol and you’ll notice something different — our residents want to interact with us.
Whether it’s a simple wave from across the street, a handshake, or a thank you after responding to a call, we know that upholding a good relationship with Fremont residents allows us to do our job more effectively.
Toward this end, we’ve established a number of community touchpoints.
For example, our Volunteers in Police Services (V.I.P.S.) are quite literally the VIPs of FPD community outreach efforts. They greatly expand our reach by assisting with the Neighborhood Crime Watch Program, providing resources and safety information to the community, responding to resident requests, and reporting suspicious activities.
As a second example, our Community Police Academy offers a hands-on educational experience for community members to learn about what we do. Through lectures and role-playing exercises, participants can learn about the key aspects of law enforcement, such as crime prevention, patrol operations, and critical incidents.
A Healthy Culture Doesn’t Accept the Status Quo
We’re not perfect.
Our culture encourages our Officers to speak up when they see ways to improve the Department.
Consider how our program to meet the sixth graders at Fremont elementary schools came about. Back in March 2017, Captain Fred Bobbitt visited Grimmer Elementary as a one-off speaking engagement and decided to ask a class of students to write anonymous letters describing their feelings about Fremont Police Officers. Expecting “applause,” Captain Bobbitt was shocked to learn that many students had feelings of distrust and even fear toward police. That was the springboard for creating the Building Bridges Program.
That wasn’t the only program created in 2017. The Mobile Evaluation Team pairs specially trained officers who have been to Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) with one clinician and one case worker to provide enhanced services to those experiencing mental health crises and/or homelessness.
Again, we want to hear your viewpoints, even from Officers who are just embarking on their careers.
That’s one of the ways we keep evolving as an organization.