A day had passed since Major Warren received the news from Director Duncan that he had been selected as the Incident Commander and principal planner for the Democratic-Republican National Convention (DRNC) event in August of next year. One of the first things that Warren did after being told of this assignment was to hold an impromptu meeting in his office with his two captains and two of his nine lieutenants. Present at this hastily arranged meeting were Captain Gerald Thomas, commander of the Tactical Operations Section; Captain Scott Everett, commander of the Specialized Patrol & Events Section; Lieutenant Robert Seger, commander of the Bomb Disposal and Critical Incident Management Units, and Lieutenant Mike Green, Commander of the Special Events Unit. The other seven Bureau lieutenants were not readily available and thus did not attend the meeting.
Major Warren in his typical participative leadership style opened the meeting by saying, “Gentlemen… I’m going to need your help over the next few months. As you all have heard on the news, Miami-Dade is getting the Democratic-Republican National Convention next year. I found out yesterday at the command staff meeting that unlike the FTAA in 2003, this time we’re the lead agency and the City will be our partner agency. You know what that means. We’re going to end up planning the whole thing. That’s why I need your help.”
Warren paused and the entire room went silent. He looked at his captains and lieutenants to see if he could get a hint of a reaction from their facial expressions. Instead, he was surprised to see that the captains and lieutenants did not seem surprised, so he went on. “This means that we’re going to be planning this for the next year. The first thing I want to do is get some intelligence reports to get an idea of what we’re up against. Scott, I’d like for you to schedule a meeting for later this week of all ten Bureau lieutenants and some of the key sergeants too. I want reports—intelligence reports and after action reports. We need to get the ball rolling now. A year sounds like a long time, but it’s not.”
At this point, Lieutenant Seger chimed in, “Major, we’re ready to go on this. In fact, we’ve already been working on this for the past two months, when we first heard that Miami-Dade was being considered. We know what it’s like to plan for these things, and we wanted to get ahead of the curve; that’s why we got started already. Mike and I have been meeting with Detective Ritchie Owen, over at Criminal Intelligence Bureau. In fact, Ritchie already put together some intelligence reports for us. Here you go.” Seger calmly reached into his briefcase and pulled out five packets of stapled papers, each one quarter inch thick. He handed them out to each person in the room. “This is the first batch of intelligence reports that Ritchie has put together for us; I expect a lot more to come later.”
Always quick to praise others, Major Warren leafed through the first few pages of the intelligence reports and said, “This is excellent Rob. Thank you for getting this started. Let’s get a copy each for all the Bureau lieutenants to look over before our meeting. What about after action reports? The last two from each political party. I know Tampa and Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012. What about 2008?”
Seger had the answer ready, “that would be Denver and Saint Paul, Minnesota.” I’ll call around to those police departments and see if we can have them e-mailed to us on PDFs. I don’t know, Ritchie may already have them on file.”
“OK, excellent, now how about our own FTAA in 2003? I think that would be a good after action report to review too. It’s been a while since any of us were involved in that event,” added Major Warren.
Captain Everett then chimed in, “I already have that one in my office. I’ll get you a copy of it, and I’ll get you the after action reports from the 2007 and 2010 Super Bowls too. Is that enough?”
Major Warren responded, “Yes I think that’s enough for now.
This is really good start, guys. I really appreciate it. You know, when I first heard that I was being assigned to this Bureau, they told me how good you guys were. They weren’t kidding. You guys are awesome. This is going to be good.”
“Yeah, a lot of fun,” stated the always sarcastic Captain Thomas. “I need this like a fricking hole in the head right now.”
“Come on, Gerry, admit it- you love it!” prodded Captain Everett.
“Just think, guys, several years from now you’ll look back on this and remember how much fun you’re having,” added Major Warren.
Everyone in the room smiled. This was a very cohesive group of captains and lieutenants. Each was different from one another, but they all shared two things:
a sense of humor and a sense of professional commitment. The meeting was now over, and Major Warren looked at his staff as they walked out of his office. They were all laughing and playing jokes on one another, and that made Warren feel good about this group. He knew that the year ahead was going to be a busy one. He thought how important it was to keep a sense of humor