Thursday, March 21, 2019

--- The police ---

"To Protect and to Serve" was the motto of the Los Angeles Police Force since 1963 and it has been adopted by many other police forces since then. Many police officers take an oath to protect and serve, but don't let that fool you. That is not their purpose - hopefully it does end up including that, though.

In America, the purpose of police (and that includes organizations such as the FBI, CIA, and other government alphabet soups, and the Armed Forces) is to uphold the Constitution. That's right, they're part of the executive branch of our government. In fact, they're the front line.

Do you think you've been fed a line? Okay, here's where it all ties in - the Constitution is the document that was written to serve and protect the people of the United States.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

And, yes, it does go wrong sometimes, because, just like the courts have to interpret the Constitution to make decisions, so do police.

After the equivalent of a minor in criminal justice (my university wouldn't let me claim it since I already had three minors) and involvement with some of the training programs in Alabama, I have to say that I'm impressed with what I've seen. Of course, what people learn in school and training programs often become modified when they emerge into the "real world".

Actually, it would be hard to talk about my experience with police forces in the South and in Denver because I don't talk about individuals in this blog without their express permission, but most of my interactions have been very positive. You can form your own opinions. Here are some research methods.

Wave at police. Be friendly about it. I wave at people who work for the community, partially to show them the respect they deserve and partially to open them up to communication - body language, y'know.  Many community servants - bus drivers, trash collectors, road workers - appreciate the recognition....and some don't. It can give you some idea of how community servants feel about the people they serve.

Which brings me to the other research method. There are many opportunities to form connections - positive connections - with police. They come to community events - go meet them. And although I haven't been able to find a Citizen's Patrol in the Denver area, many of the police departments (maybe all?) have Citizens Academies. They are seven week long courses on important neighborhood issues including security and police procedures.

My impression (and some research) is that the more positive connections there are between police and citizens, the happier citizens are with their police departments and the smoother police work goes.

Sounds like fun but, as a pedestrian, there's not a citizen's academy close enough for a night walk two or three times a week for seven weeks. But if you've attended, let me know how it went. Leave a comment...and a discussion!

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