Selecting Police


“My vision for police is that they can be fair, effective and humanitarian. They can protect our civil rights, work with a variety of people, and take arrested persons into custody with a minimum amount of force. This may differ quite radically from what you may think police should do.

“So, what kind of police officer am I talking about? This is what I told citizens who sat on our police selection boards when they asked me that question. Most people don’t have a clue about police other than what they have seen on television and in the movies.

“I asked them to imagine this scenario: it’s after midnight. You are at home waiting for your teenage daughter to return from a date. It’s now well past her curfew time. You are thinking about calling the police to report her missing when suddenly she bursts through the front door. She is crying and looks terrible. You notice her blouse has been torn and she has red marks on her face. Your worst fears now have been realized. She has been raped! Now think about the kind of police officer you would like to come into your home and talk with you and your daughter about what happened. That’s also the kind of man or woman I would like on the police department.” [From my book, Arrested Development.]


In my experience, I found that it is a lot easier to teach authority to a kind person than kindness to an authoritarian.

The proper recruiting, selecting, training and leading of our police is extremely important in our society.

When government fails in this critical task, we all suffer.



  1. Dave,
    I know this is the path you followed in your many years “on the job.” Thanks for sharing your valuable insight for those who follow your career in law enforcement.

    Jack W Morse HUPD ret


    1. Jack, you, Dave Gorski and I were the “Three Musketeers.” Remember when it began? Gorski and I were Minneapolis cops and you were in the Minneapolis suburb of New Hope when Gorski and I met you at the “police fraternity” meeting for “college cops.” That was the beginning and we all went on to lead police departments. We had the fire in our britches! Cops could and SHOULD be better! That was our mantra. And, you know, looking back, it was all worth it! Thanks for being a friend and colleague.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.