What Policing Should Be



One of the exercises we used to do in training was to define something as what it is versus what it is not – an “Is/Is Not” exercise.

I think we are approaching a time in which we may be losing our police; losing them to militarization, a warrior mentality, and an attitude of “them versus us.” This is dangerous in a free society. It is anathema to democracy.

So, this weekend, I starting thinking about doing an “Is/Is Not” exercise with regard to what policing in a democracy should be and what it should not.


IS:                                                  IS NOT

  1. One of us.                            1. “Them.”
  2. Community collaborating.    2. Publicly disengaged.
  3. Lawful/honest.                      3. Corrupt/self-serving.
  4. Educated.                             4. Anti-intellectual.
  5. Problem-solving                   5. Responding to incidents.
  6. Polite/civil.                            6. Discourteous/disrespectful.
  7. Value-driven.                        7. Subculture driven.
  8. Protective/guardian.             8. Violent/warrior.
  9. Helpful/compassionate.       9. Uncaring/unfeeling.
  10. A noble calling.                10. Just a job.



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  1. healthy respect of fear when patrolling the streets but not getting so overhelm with fear of getting hurt or killed that any kind of movement by the citizen ends up with the citizen being shot and/or beaten up.

    knowledge of the law not irgnorance of the law or manufacturing laws off the top of their heads.


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