Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Peel Time

About two hundred years ago, Robert Peel said “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

How many times have you spoken to officers who speak of the general public as a group that is separate, distinct and beneath the police? Those officers refer to the pubic as “Idiots” or speak of the public in “us” versus “them” terms. Officers are “on the job” and the rest are simply “sheeple.” While certainly our training and our experiences differentiate police officers from those in other professions, we must be careful not to let our pride in our jobs become arrogance.

The interests of the community and the interests of the police should be the same. We need to insure that we don’t violate the rights of the public. We need to make sure the public is kept safe from the few who are inclined to criminal acts. We also need to be sure that we don’t hold the public in contempt, they are our customers and they pay our salaries. We are there to serve their needs, by doing so we are granted extraordinary powers and authority. It is a great trust that we must hold high; that’s what the SGT Says.


*Goddess* said...

This is an excellent post. I have always had a healthy respect for the police, but I was never afraid of them or wary of them until I began reading their blogs. So many of them referred to the public as "idiots" or "morons" or much worse and it's to the point where I wouldn't even ask an officer for directions. In the past, I wouldn't have thought twice but after reading one young officer's scathing post about how he wasn't akin to a GPS, I'd never ask again.

Bob G. said...

THis is a FANTASTIC post...there are SO many "dynamics" that go into a police/citizen "relationship" (and we are talking abiout LAW-ABIDING citizens here).

I've been privy to convos that labelled the populace as disparaging people (too many phrases to mention here), and I've also come across officers that DO in fact, look at ALL people that way.

The GOOD officers are the ones that train themselves to LISTEN OBSERVE, and not to make rash judgments with broad brushstrokes.

I still practice that for myself, but that does not take away my ability to "size up" a person or persons whenever they present themselves.

People will tell YOU MORE about themselves if you know what to look for.

Establishing a GOOD rapport (and maintaining it) with the people can often (if not always) provide sources of information you'd not have such access to...

You can write a book on this aspect of policing (and society in general).

Great call.

Roll safe out there.

Bunkermeister said...

Most cops are good guys. Even the complainers are usually just talking. Only a few are bad, but they are bad for the public, their agency and their partners.

Bunkermeister said...

Thanks G.