...a rendering from our blog friend...Hal in view of the recent news of the police.
In spite of every generation of police officers looking at the next and shaking their collective heads in disappointed amazement, this time I understand.
First problem -
It is the rare new cop who has communication skills outside of texting and emailing. Written reports contain horrendous spelling and grammar errors, verbal communication Is laced with more "like", "you know”and sentences in both means of communicating don't get finished.
Second problem -
Unreasonable fear is subconsciously trained. I noticed years ago, minus any real, upfront intent, our officers had "learned" to be extra wary of groups. No racism was intended in the training, but in any size community... different groups of people do things differently.
Some people like to sit it the living room, some get together in restaurants and some gather on the street. None are wrong and simply getting together where ever they meet is not an indication of a disturbance or a crime on the verge of erupting. Unfortunately, there are always some people who don't understand another group’s means of simply socializing.
Hyper vigilance. A cops daily routine breeds it. One bad guy encountered equals 1000 more lurking out there. I am not saying police officers should not stay constantly aware of what is going on around them. My point is that undue suspicion is contagious. It will spread, not only to other police personnel, but to ordinary citizens as well.
Fourth problem -
Body language. Just as a confronted person's body language may cause a cop to act more controlling, a confronted citizen's body language will also change. While one person may react one way, not everyone reacts the same.
Person A might react submissively to strong body language signals while Person B might respond aggressively. Cops have got to learn to use neutral body language when it is appropriate.
Fifth problem -
Arrest or not to arrest. An arrest is not the primary solution to a call for police services. There are some very minor crimes that don't always require an arrest or citation. Every time a cop makes a traffic stop, a ticket isn't always issued. I worked with cops who understood and used the tactic of police presence to eliminate minor problems and offenses. If it continued too long or was serious, we never hesitated to make arrests.
Sixth problem -
What really constitutes physical resistance? It is an autonomic physical response to move away from an unwanted touch. The best example is a baby's reaction when it is touch and surprised or just uncomfortable with the touch. A baby will jerk away. We do not lose that reaction as we grow. That is why I always give the command to "turn around, put your hands behind your back", etc or something similar. No surprise usually means no automatic response.
There are other problems, but you see where I'm going. We, as law enforcement, have got to understand how our actions cause reactions from everyone we encounter, pleasant situations or otherwise.
These aren't just police problems. The citizenry must understand that physically resisting a legal police action is simply wrong. Respect my police authority, which citizens trust me with,and I will respect your right to every freedom you have.
I will not harm you if you do not try to harm me.
so says Hal.
thanks again buddy!