All too often, opportunities to advertise the genuine moving parts of policing are missed. When figureheads of any relative law enforcement agency attempt to answer questions posed, I tend to cringe as I can almost guarantee the essential elements of the forthcoming response; “I’m sorry…We failed to…. We take the allegations seriously…etc.” The most basic requisite functions of our mission (protecting & serving) often require the “pretty” to meet the “ugly” in terms of what society has to offer, yet we stand steadfast to consume the bitter-tasting meal. How can a profession maintain dignity or commitment from cast when the voices of our executives instinctively bow down instead of standing tall?
I’ve met leagues of police officers throughout our nation; I’ve yet to encounter a single one who does not prefer an encounter to “go smooth,” regardless of the level of criminality. Time after time, case after case, when the flawed human spirit can easily penetrate the uniform and call for an understandable “eye for an eye,” we consistently exhibit restraint as consummate professionals. If you prefer to prove this by statistics and data, tally the incidents wherein officers could have justifiably used force or a “higher-level” of force yet didn’t, arrested or cited by meeting statutory framework but warned, or provided service over sanction. I rest my case.
If we are to hope to have a future for our profession, we cannot simply require integrity amongst the ranks and file; integrity in the advertisement of what it requires to perform our jobs has to be equally important. I’ve often believed that we should hold press conferences when updates to policies or newly enacted legislation are released to explain to the public the impact it has upon the services rendered. Otherwise, we will continue to perpetuate the backyard attorneys and legal lunatics who spread misinformation about how/what/why we do what we do.
In the current-day service industries (restaurants, airlines, and medical facilities, to name a few), it has become widely known and ADVERTISED that many functions have been reduced, restricted, or restructured. In each of these messages, you will not find an apology-first mentality. This is based on the theory that although service-oriented, they are known to be necessities of everyday life. It’s about damn time we start taking notes and implementing the same methods; we are a NECESSITY. And at times, the necessity of our presence and purpose is not meant for the pleasure of the viewing audience yet for the survival, sanctity, and preservation of our way of life. So for me…I’m not SORRY for who we are, but many can rest assured that they’ll be SAFE because of what we do.