Ask the Chief
As we enter the political countdown for 2020, I anticipate that the negative attention shown to law enforcement will increase. To that end I want to share some basic principles for everyone to consider.
These include how we operate, are trained and interact with the public. Starting with our training I focus heavily on instilling in officers the "two-question approach". First-Can I do it. Second-Should I do it.
These questions are vital when deciding on a course of action. An enforcement action that is done simply because you can, fails to appreciate the long term impact and may not produce the positive change needed to help the individual or the community.
Departments and communities need to stop keeping score of things such as arrest, tickets, and calls for service. It should never be a competition amongst officers for who can write the most tickets or make the most arrest.
Rather measure their performance on quality of life issues and how their choices and actions impact the people they serve. When it comes to training I have seen lack of quality training in our law enforcement schools as to critical thinking, analysis, risk assessment, and verbal skills.
In the 20 years I have served, I have never fired my duty weapon at a person and I have rarely pulled it out in need. Yet, I spend the majority of every day talking to people, problem-solving, listening, and helping people with their lives.
Yes, self-defense and the defense of the public are important but let's put more work into communication so that we can avoid (as much as possible) the need for our weapons. Finally, the best advice I can give to the public when dealing with an officer is to be respectful and treat them the way you want to be treated.
No one should ever scream, demean, curse or verbal/physically attack another person or an officer.
I’m extremely disappointed by our court system and political leaders who time and time again suggest that a person's First Amendment right is more important than another person's right not to be harassed, verbally attacked and more.
Do you think a judge would tolerate the current aggressive protesting behavior and the aggressive behavior directed toward officers in their courtroom?
I highly doubt it. You don't have to agree with me. You don't even have to like me. But you should respect yourself enough so as to behave like a rational and responsible human being.
You should care about how your actions portray you and your values. You should be a positive example of yourself rather than a warning about what not to do.
My last thought — almost every police interaction in this country is the result of YOU doing something.
This means that if YOU don't want to deal with the police then YOU can choose to behave differently.
Don't go blaming the police for showing up and confronting you for your decisions and behavior.