CRISIS IN POLICING? You Bet!

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CRISIS: “a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.” Is that not where American policing is now? We need to think about this and if we believe we are in a crisis — then we need to get out of it.

That’s what this blog is all about — getting out of the crisis and improving what we do.

We’ve got to pay attention and listen. We have to adapt and change. If you don’t think we are in a crisis read the following article by a street-savy police leader, Lt. Jim Glennon:*

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“Wow. That’s my response to the results of our survey that asked this question of law enforcement officers: Would you recommend law enforcement as a profession to a son or daughter?

“Over 3,400 officers responded and a whopping 81% said that they would not! Again—wow!..

“I wrote a book entitled Arresting Communication and at seminars when a young officer, new to law enforcement, asks for a signature I always write on the inside cover ‘Welcome to the world’s greatest profession!’ And I mean it every single time I write it—still do.

“I’ve been in the cop world for over 30 years and I believe this is the noblest of noble professions.

“What we do, day-in and day-out is something unique. It’s dangerous, fun, sad, joyful, scary, disheartening, devastating … We can be bored, terrified, angry, humored, aghast, heroes and the enemy all in one 8–12-hour shift.

“We make mistakes, say the wrong things and—on rare occasion, statistically—dishonor our uniforms. But we are the ones who show up when those calling can’t control their own lives. We respond when people are victims and beg for help. We hold those victims while they implode and we cry when we get home. We run toward the gunfire while everyone else is fleeing in the opposite direction.

“In other words: We make a difference! A real tangible difference to real people when it matters most!

“The tests to join our profession are difficult, long, and tedious. The training is more difficult than most imagine. It’s months long and involves psychological tests, intense studying, memorization, physical fitness preparation and the understanding of case law that needs to be applied during incredible stress in the blink of an eye. Oh, and the slightest hesitation or foible might have catastrophic consequences.

“Which means this: We need the best and the brightest!

“However, law enforcement is in the cross hairs right now. It’s misunderstood by people who don’t even know that they know next to nothing about the profession. Yet they wax poetically about what a police officer should have done, shouldn’t have done, why they did something, or why they didn’t …

“They make blanket stupid statements about an officer’s motivation and intent. They know nothing about the complexities of the job, yet with the 20/20 vision of hindsight they criticize and condemn from the comfort of a T.V. studio or their blogger’s chair.

“They make up—invent—stats and facts that don’t exist to advance an agenda and or expound a belief that’s thoroughly and fundamentally flawed. In short, they demonize everyone in this profession.

“And they demand change. Hire better-trained, ethically enhanced, spiritually spotless people of every race, ethnicity and color, all with the best of intentions and superior intellectual aptitudes.

“But who is going to want to join law enforcement today? And who currently in the profession is going to advocate it as a career? My fear: Not many, and our survey supports that.

“Why do more than 80% of our respondent officers say they would not, today, encourage a son or daughter to become a cop? Well the answers are found in our follow up question that listed a variety of reasons. Not limiting them to just one, here are the results:

  • Public lack of respect for the profession: 86%
  • Poor pay and/or benefits: 39%
  • Dangerous: 40%
  • The duties of the job have changed for the worse: 57.00%
  • Media and/or political cynicism: 79%
  • Lack of department/professional support: 53%

“Our next question was particularly interesting: Would you have been more or less likely to recommend this profession five years ago?

“The result: A whopping 70% said that they would have been more likely to recommend a loved one join fiveyears ago.

“Wow! The naysayers and cop-haters won’t care or might even applaud that the legacies of law enforcement families will finally end with the current generation. To the haters, this generation of cops is a woeful, corrupt, violent bunch at odds with the populace they are paid to serve and protect. Good riddance.

“Yes the clueless will say that, but what else might happen? Will any of them—those who know it all—join?

“Note that the Number One reason officers wouldn’t recommend the profession to a child is public lack of respect for the profession (86%).

“So, who would be drawn to a profession that—according to many in the mainstream media—is filled with immoral, unethical, crooked and corrupt militarized thugs who inflict an ‘epidemic of violence on citizens’ and participate in ‘genocidal racism’?

“That’s not a job description that normally attracts people with honorable motives. As a friend put it when he heard about the results of our survey: ‘You think the smartest black and Latino men and women are going to flock to this profession? These cop haters are creating a worst-case scenario for us—and for themselves.’

“I’ve cited the stats in other articles and they are incontrovertible, but let’s stay on point. What will be the fallout of demonizing this noble profession over and over in the mass media? The pundits who demean and disparage law enforcement are the same ones who demand change and better candidates.

“So where are we going to get them? If the families who have for generations dedicated their lives to public service won’t advocate the profession, who will?

“I’m curious to see if these opinions cited in our survey translate into the real world. I know for a fact that people who were considering the profession have changed their minds and are looking to other careers. Officers in our seminars tell us that they’re ‘done’: disheartened and retiring early. They warn young people to do something else.

“I was talking to my friend Lt. Col. Dave Grossman recently as we prepared for our Bulletproof Warrior Seminar at the California Highway Patrol Academy in Sacramento. He believes that the pendulum will swing back and I hope he’s right. If it doesn’t, what will the future look like? Who will step up?

“As Edmund Burke famously said: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’

“Doing nothing may be the final result of disparaging those do the hard work of doing good. And that would be tragic for our society.”

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*Lt. Jim Glennon is a third generation police officer, retired from the Lombard, Ill. PD after 29 years of service. He commanded both patrol and the Investigations Unit. In 1998, he was selected as the first Commander of Investigations for the newly formed DuPage County Major Crimes (Homicide) Task Force. He is the owner of The Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar and the author of Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement.

Jim’s full undated article can be found HERE

For related posts on this blog, see:

4 Comments

  1. Yes police work can be dangerous but it is still not listed in the top most 10 dangerous jobs in America.

    On the TV show The Mind of Menica, Carlos Menica stated that he respects what cops do; however, he doesn’t want to hear copis complaininly about how dangerous their job is. He stated that when a police recruit comes to the academy and is given a gun, handcuffs, pepper spray, and a baton, he then said “Dude, what does that tell you? You are going to assualt someone or someone is going to assualt you.”

    If policing is dangerous, then the cops should have not joined up in the first place or they should have known what they were getting into especially when many of them were combat veterans so they know what firearms can do to the human body plus the mental toll on the human body due to the war. And some cops join because they love the adreline that goes with chasing someone.

    Public lack of respect for the cops? First of all, rich people and corporations don’t care much for a police force that comes after for committing white collar, corporate crime and only like the police when it is uses a their private police force to maintain political, social, and economic status quo.

    Secondly, police officers who demand that citizens obey the laws are the same ones who constantly break the law and have no respect for the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is something that Jim Glennon and his fellow officers have failed to recognizes since police departments in this country plus are always fighting against better policing and hiring better police candidates. The US Supreme Court have ruled in favor of the police departments that they have the right not to hire people with higher IQs. Many better qualitied people could join the police; however, thanks to harsh drug laws, post 911 laws, and laws that criminalizes any kind of peaceful protest, now have a rap sheet and will have an impossible time trying to erase their record because it takes time, money, and a good lawyer. Those better candidates who do become cops are driven out by both the bad cops and lack of support from the unions and other good cops who wish to keep their jobs. Former Police Chief Joseph McNarma was right when he stated that 80% of the cops sit on the fence seeing which way the political wind blows before they get off the fence.

    Thirdly, too many cops can’t keep their bias of all kinds at home instead of bringing them to work and then they wonder why people of a different political, social, economic, political, ethnic, religious, and racial group hate them so much?

    Poor pay and working conditions? Well, that is what happens when the police constantly fight against their own economic interests when they busted up strking workers, unions, labor activists and protestors who are trying make America a better place for everyone. Many cops join because it is a job that was only available in their areas plus having a steady paycheck and a pension compare to what is happening to rest of America.. BTW, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is going to give the state police a 17% salary raise and give nothing to the rest of the state workforce. Are the cops going to refuse the raise, I won’t be shock if the cops took the raise instead of standing in solidarity with the rest of the state workforce.

    Like

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