SUPPORTING THE TEAM
A Law Enforcement Agency, no matter how big or small, is similar to a sports team. It has a selection process, a mission and a motto. Our team also has a distinctive uniform. Both rely on, dedicated support staff and an approving community of admirers. Our motto is to Protect and Serve.
The community is a supportive group who are interested in every venture and in those we protect.
Law Enforcement requires similar efforts from its staff and the community it supports. The success and values of a team in real life lies in its application and use of the available tools both on-hand or those which are acquired as needs dictate.
Family support of the officers is a definite must for us to accomplish our goals and support our efforts. Without our families, we would see more frustrations and dangerous behavior. This also includes a nod to the chaplains who provide understanding and support.
Our programs will only succeed and be win-win, if these groups support our efforts.
FROM HERO TO ENEMY
Law Enforcement management strives to provide a mission statement which is attainable, as well as successful and fitted to each jurisdiction.
The most important part of the equation is you, the Street Cop. You are the conduit to the community. Your actions, encounters and dealings will dictate the perception, the acceptance and/or the rejection of your department. You are the front line.
In today’s real world, we no longer enjoy the role of being the protector as previous officers did. Sadly, we are now being vilified as invaders and the enemy to an array of groups.
We have to re-acquire the trust and support of our citizens which will be earned through our contact and citizen perceptions of our actions.
TODAY IS JUST LIKE THE OLD TIMES
Concentric Circles is social-science term. It is basically the same as saying we have come full circle and history repeats itself.
When I first pinned on the badge and announced that I had become a police officer, my Grandmother remarked, ”Well, it takes a crook to catch a crook.”
She was a product of early Detroit.
After the race riots of the Sixties, we got the same reception that we are experiencing today. Mistrust and suspiciousness were everywhere, and in direct opposite of what the beat cops of the Fifties faced.
KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES LATER
The mistrust of the Seventies was met with the removal of neighborhood level policing. It was replaced by STRESS, Mobil Tactical Response Teams and other State and Federally funded programs which further reduced the community support and added to our distrust of the community.
These programs also brought greater scrutiny and another layer of oversight by an outside agency. There was little local control, as before. These programs were funded and dictated by Political bodies with different rules and requirements.
The Seventies also saw a need for more officer education. States began requiring academy-trained officers along with acronyms AA, BA and my l all-time favorite BS. Secondary education became a requirement and spawned experts in every aspect of Police Administration which now evolved into Criminal Justice. All of this was funded by Big Brother.
SPECIALISTS COST US THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Unfortunately, with specialization, we lost the personal contact of the neighborhood Street Cop. The community was without its advocate. We were now only proactive in crime prevention programs and not in street crime prevention in the neighborhoods we knew well. 0ne on one, we were the responders and no longer the advocates.
The Eighties saw many changes such as the replacement of uniformed officers with civilian specialists who were no longer generalist officers.
READ MORE: FIELD TRAINING OFFICER – SAINT OR SINNER?
Standards changed also as did the oversight by civilian review boards and lawyers for both civil and criminal sides.
This period also marked an exodus of the older street-wise veterans who were either not about to chance losing their pension or be overruled by a civilian. They were victims of that dreaded six-letter word: CHANGE.
The Eighties ushered in combined operations with other agencies and the Task-Force concept such as a federal agency supported by state, county and local officers. This widened cross-jurisdictional crime-fighting.
It was a product of the national and international criminal influence and required a different approach to our response to the crime wave. Fortunately, it also spawned Community Policing and afforded some reconnection and trust-building with the community. To some extent, we took back the neighborhoods.
THE COMPUTER COLLAPSE OF Y2K … THAT NEVER HAPPENED
The new millennium brought a new kind of crime: terrorism with its web of criminal anarchists and bombers. It created a large-scale response which relied on large groups based on information and intelligence supplied by both reliable and unreliable sources.
Those changes created yet another wedge between the officer and the community. Specialization once more created isolation. Revisiting the turn of the Seventies.
The wedge has been further driven in to the community by political grand standing and misconception assisted by a negative press in larger metropolitan venues.
HOW DO WE GO BACK?
We are easily pushed to create an ‘us-vs-them’ mentality.
How do we salvage the pride and restore the trust we need for those who support us?
This is still an open question.
We must ask ourselves how to return to the community we swore to Protect and Serve.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
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