Spent all day today at a conference (jointly sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department and the DoJ COPS office) on gang violence and how to control it. Lots of interesting and hopeful news, of which more when I’ve had some sleep.
One of the participants is a veteran program evaluator (conference rules forbid me to mention his name) who had to run evaluations on a series of gang control programs. Since none of them were actually implemented due to problems of agency management and coordination, there wasn’t much to say in the evaluaitons. But he offered two general conclusions:
1. If you don’t do a program it won’t work.
2. The behavior of offenders is easier to change than the behavior of officials.
The discussion about how long things took to do, in the face of the continued high death toll from gang violence (the California Attorney General’s office figures that over the past two decades 10,000 Californians have died in gang warfare) reminded me of the best-phrased expression of impatience I’ve ever seen. Apparently (according to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal) the new CEO of Boeing, called in to clean up after a series of ethical lapses, instructed the new Vice President in Charge of Right and Wrong to send a memo to all of Boeing’s employees reminding them that lying, cheating, and stealing are naughty.
When the VP said that a draft of the memo would be ready for the CEO’s review in a few months. the CEO replied, “I don’t think you understand me. You’re looking at your calendar, and I’m looking at my watch.”