Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Blogger...A Suggestion of Conduct.

Wow this Blog is getting serious, we have a guest blogger! Today's entry is by a fellow Christian Officer. His perspective comes from a different place than mine. While we are both Christians, he only recently accepted Christ and has only just stepped on the straight and narrow path. I have served in a medium seized department for over fifteen years, our guest blogger, "Floyd" is under ten years with one of the biggest departments in the nation. He is also about ten years younger in age. His submission:

As Law Enforcement Officers we subject ourselves to many dangers on a daily basis. Of these dangers, not all necessarily threaten our physical well being, but our psychological as well. It’s ultimately what, I argue, hardens us. It can come in the form of a stare that you know, but cannot prove in a court of law, the bearer of those eyes is excreting extreme hatred for you. This goes all the way to the verbal attack on our justified, and what we take for granted, everyday part of the job.

Do people like police officers? I can no longer ask that question without a rather amusing smirk form across my face. Of course they don’t. Is it because they dislike us personally? Well, no. Most of those that we encounter don’t know us to make that determination. They dislike what we stand for; what out uniform represents. It’s like the hall monitors from High School. Did we like answering to them as to why we were in the hallway during class time? Of course not, the teacher allowed us to be temporarily excused from class to use the restroom or whatever else your reason was to be out of class. That reason came from a higher authority than the measly hall monitor. Nevertheless, we acquiesced to him/her.
So, when you see those angering, horrible red and blue, or in some cases just blue, lights behind you yes, they are meant for you and yes you will have to present your driver’s license and proof of insurance. You know you were speeding, just disregarded that stop sign about a block or so back, went through a red light, etc, etc. Did you scream and yell at that hall monitor when he asked to see your hall pass? My guess is you probably didn’t. Did you actually beat up that hall monitor after school? Maybe some of you actually did, but are you really going to go to such extremes as to step out of you car now and attempt to beat up the police officer that is now pulling you over? Some may answer yes and it has been attempted. Fortunately for law enforcement, we are equipped to handle such occurrences. Too bad for that young hall monitor, though.

By now you should be asking what’s the point. The point is when you get stopped, most of the time you know what you did. And the next time you want to stand up and take a hard-lined stance against crime and disorder, remember how you treated that officer that was “just doing his/her job” the last time you were stopped. There’s no need for the expletives or the demeaning of his/her position. Trust me, the officer knows that there are girls being raped and murders occurring. And yes, we are now going to deal with the fact that you were speeding. As any detective could tell you, fighting crime in an area starts with making public contact. That contact is usually in the form of a traffic stop or a street stop and then documenting that stop. Why? Simply because it tells those in law enforcement who is in a certain area at a certain time. And when you receive that verbal warning, you know the one you sort of demanded, that doesn’t mean you didn’t actually do what the officer originally said you did. The truth of the matter is, you did it; the officer is using discretion and not writing a ticket. Why? Probably because you were one of the few that didn’t yell and scream and actually admitted to your wrong doing.

Now for the twist. I have put a lot on the citizen. But an equal amount of burden must also be placed upon the officer as well. It’s a fact, people don’t like being stopped. You may have to deal with the name calling from time to time. Perhaps you caught somebody at a bad time. Just as they shouldn’t judge you for “doing your job” you should equally not judge them for being a bit irritated. Document your stop, write your ticket, or make an arrest and move on. Both you and the individual you stopped will, and should, get over it soon. I personally have become hardened over the years as a law enforcement officer, but we should work to maintain our own personal dignity and respect. We should listen to what a citizen says even when it’s clouded with verbal attacks. Sometimes they may just be telling the truth; it does happen. Of course, I usually fail miserably at my own advice and find that the angry stare as I mentioned at the beginning is also coming from me.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


Adoro said...

When I was a cop and when I was a firefighter, I was taken aback by the fact that people characterized us personally by the uniform we wore. It didn't surprise me, but the VIOLENCE of the attitude was shocking; not something that can be explained in training.

No, people DON'T like people in uniform; it's sign of authority.

What was surprising to me, though now as a civilian, was my reaction a couple years ago when I was stopped by police. I didn't mean to be speeding but yes, I was. And I knew I deserved the Violation I was about to receive. But still I went into "cop mode". I took in my surroundings and found an exit ramp to a rest stop and pulled over as far as I could. I found I could not stop thinking about Officer safety!

To my surprise, the Trooper was far more merciful than I would have been in that same situation. I deserved a fine but she gave me a Warning. To this day I wonder if it's because of where I pulled over, the fact that I knew the procedure, the fact that I never defended myself...because I had no defense. As an Officer, I would have given me a ticket and in that state, actually...I would have hauled me off to jail (no reciprocity in our respective cases).

God's mercy....that's what it was, entirely. So pray for Officer Johnson, y'all. She carried out His Justice and Mercy when she stopped me.

As a former cop, I know respect and I know what is owed as respect.

@Badge a the Feet of Christ, I don't know that you've EVER responded to me on your blog, and I suspect it's because you maybe don't understand or like Catholics. I think you're suspicious of us.

I don't know anything about your guest poster here, but love the post and agree with it.

So...in that light, are you, either of you, willing to at least bond with me with regard to Officer Safety? On the Job, we are at least in agreement there, right?

So...please accept this post I wrote, back when it happened, as a sincere ascertation of the meeting of citizen and Cop.


It was written in support of police officers everywhere and I hope you accept it in the proper spirit. Are you willing, even for a failed rookie like me?

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in all duties we should put God first. Police is a dangerous duty to anybody and must be prayed for safetiness.

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David Couper said...

Some good stuff here. My journey in blue went from agnosticism to faith. My new book talks about my 30+ year career in police leadership. Shortly before I retired I got one of those classical "calls." For the past almost 20 years now I have been serving as a priest in the Episcopal Church. My book is, “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” (Amazon.com) and my blog: http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com.

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Dub said...

I appreciate the thoughts. It is a very difficult position for both sides law enforcement. The truth is sometimes good people get in a hurry or make a bad decision and it puts others at risk, the officer's job is to help maintain safety and peace among citizens and down deep we appreciate that, it's just frustrating when you're the one who gets caught a little out of line. I am the creator of www.emthow.com as a medical professional I deal with the injured, very often it comes from the unthoughtful, those who only bend the law, go a little too fast or aren't focused on what they are doing. Sometimes we perform expensive interventions with a knowledge that this patient will never pay the bill, hurt others by being irresponsible and will probably do it again. So from my point of view, I appreciate the law enforcement officers out their who are sincere about keeping the law as justly as possible.

bw said...

So true, law enforcement has a lot of difficult situations and decisions to make. I really admire the work they do. I am the creator of www.emthow.com and I love to support our servicemen and women. Keep up the good work.

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