53°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Feedback of any type crucial

One of my first Army leadership classes taught me that “all feedback is positive, even when it is negative.” It took a few moments to grasp that concept, but I realized that if no criticism is made (constructive or otherwise), how does one improve?

I enjoyed policing in Boulder City because most of the citizens would share their feedback — good, bad and indifferent. In many jurisdictions, officers seldom receive positive remarks about their work.

When a new police chief arrived from out of state many years ago, he sought my input. I said, “Boulder City is a great place to be a police officer.” When pressed for the downside, I couldn’t think of any. I half-jokingly said, “Chief, there are almost 16,000 citizens here and most of them know how to do your job. A few will seldom hesitate to tell you.” A few months later he said, “Dan, you were right. But I didn’t expect one of them to knock on my door on a Sunday afternoon to tell me.”

As a columnist, I strive to improve my craft daily. Feedback is crucial. I read all comments posted on this newspapers’ Facebook page. I do not dismiss anyone’s comments, even if they are disparaging. After all, Socrates said, “when the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.”

Furthermore, in the words of Doc Holliday, portrayed by Val Kilmer in the 1994 version of “Tombstone,” “Sir, if I am to be insulted, I must first value your opinion.”

Despite the urging of many, I don’t reply to negative comments because it is not my Facebook page.

As a writer, I have noticed that many folks, especially those at the far left of the political spectrum, do not grasp sarcasm or humor, especially self-deprecating humor. Some will write a 200-word response to a headline without reading the article. One commenter said she didn’t need to read the article, she knew what it said.

So far, the dozens of emails I have received over the years have been mostly positive. To those who take the time to email me, I thank you.

A writer’s life is not easy, especially if a cat is vying for keyboard space. It is exponentially difficult with two cats vying for separate keyboard space.

You should have been impressed after reading Jim Stasiowski’s letter to the editor (“Jennings fails in mission to sway others’ opinion”) regarding my last column, “Defund the police — an insane idea.” After all, he has a degree in English and has been a writer, editor and writing coach for over 40 years.

Your humble columnist has been a part-time writer for a few years and has had little contact with the world of English except for two literature courses, one in the ’70s (world literature) and one in the ’80s (American literature). Both were mandatory for respective associate and bachelor’s degrees. With my South Carolina GED in hand, I tested my way out of English 101 and 102 via the College Level Examination Program.

Not only am I now getting paid to express my opinions, but I receive free lessons from a world-renowned writing coach.

Even though Stasiowski called me a bully, I am honored to have caught his eye. He quoted me no less than six times in his letter to the editor.

An unknown source once said, “Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Most of my police career was spent on the midnight shift by choice. There is something exotic about keeping the peace at three in the morning while the rest of the world is safely abed.

The work of professional writers is also important. Otherwise, how would we know about the heroics of our military and law enforcement officers?

Several officers serving Boulder City have received the Medal of Valor, the highest law enforcement award one can receive for heroism. Among those are Mike Barth (retired), Mike Daniel, Scott Pastore, Alan Nutzman, Armando Salazar and Todd Huff.

Boulder City might reduce the police budget for budgetary constraints, but never for political reasons. Boulder City stands tall and will always be proud of its police department.

I predict record participation by Boulder City in this year’s election (early voting starts in nine weeks). Your voice and your vote count. Your feedback is important.

Dan Jennings is a retired Army captain and a retired BCPD lieutenant. He can be reached at bcpd267@cox.net.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Quality of life worth every penny

In addition to small-town charm, Boulder City’s spectacular quality-of-life amenities are among the main things that attract people to live here and visit us.

Spark of light from hearts missing

I enjoyed sitting outdoors while dining at various restaurants this fall as we experienced one of the most splendid Indian summers ever in Boulder City. On Sunday, Nov. 28, I was sitting with my wife, Fonda, enjoying another beautiful day when a couple arrived at an adjoining table. They both had gray hair so they were at least in their 50s or 60s.

Vaccine much more than medical tool

By definition, a vaccine is “a preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Community residents must fight COVID with united front

This is the season of Thanksgiving and my hope is that everyone had a good day and a good meal. That has not always been easy during this year of the pandemic. Many of us have had losses or illness that made the year so difficult. We are indeed living in a time that has impacted all of us in ways large and small.

Give thanks for holidays

Happy Thanksgiving.

Fight to protect freedoms

I appreciated the recent commentary by Daniel Benyshek regarding vaccine and mask mandates. He points out the “dutiful responsibility” that freedom-loving Americans should embrace, and I agree wholeheartedly.

Annexation is not development

I wanted to take this opportunity to share more information with our Boulder City neighbors about the city of Henderson’s proposed annexation of portions of Eldorado Valley, located along the southeast boundary of Henderson and south of Railroad Pass.

Life is like box of chocolates

In the movie “Forrest Gump,” the titular character says, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”

We must balance freedom, civic responsibility

Despite the overwhelming consensus of the American professional medical community (including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Nurses Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health) that advocate for COVID-19 vaccination and basic disease prevention behaviors such as mask wearing in public in order to lessen the savage toll of the coronavirus pandemic, some Americans remain skeptical of the necessity, safety and efficacy of these public health measures. Indeed, it is likely that no amount of expert medical advice or corroborative scientific data will convince these skeptics and conspiracy theorists otherwise.

Let’s get educated

Following events in Boulder City can sometimes feel like riding the wave machine at a water park. Lots of highs and lows. Some of us are just along for the ride. Some are determined to get to the front, pushing and shoving as we go. Then, some of us like standing on the edge and blowing a whistle.