The Bible is an instruction manual for living a life that pleases God. In His Word, he gives us stories, historical events, and parables to teach us lessons. He fully expects us to learn from His Word and put these lessons into practice.
During a read of Luke chapter 13 I came across this parable. I was excited when I started reading it because of the law enforcement implications. There is a Biblical principle or procedure for how we look at poor performance in other officers. He is showing us what to do in situations similar to this. Jesus’ parable has a great law enforcement application in the area of field training or poor performing employees.
Luke 13:6-9, “Then He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
In this parable we see a tree (a rookie officer or trainee) that is not performing up to expectations. A high ranking supervisor goes to the person in charge of growth and development (this could be an FTO or PTO coordinator or shift supervisor) and announces that he/she is not happy with the lack of production and wants to terminate the employee. The growth and development officer (GDO) asks for a little time to try and rescue, or save the employee. The GDO comes up with a plan and a strategy for improving the employee’s production. The GDO even commits to get personally involved in this rescue effort. The GDO then gives a time line to achieve this (a probation period) with the assurance that if improvement is not seen in the employee, then the department can shake the dust off their work boots and cut the employee loose. The goal is to go above and beyond to keep the employee and offer any assistance to help them be successful.
Our God is a God of second and third chances and He reaffirms this principle in this parable.
I believe that God wants us to take His Word, learn from it, and apply it to our lives and this is a great example. I would love to hear from you on this topic. If you have comments or questions, email me at [email protected].
Charles (Chuck) Gilliland, Chaplain to the National Board
and Executive Director
In addition to being a veteran police officer himself, Chuck is also a past president of FCPO-USA and the author of the Through the Eyes of a Cop daily devotional book series. Chuck can be contacted at [email protected]