My Philosophy of Policing

 

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This is an eight-point summary of my philosophy of policing a free society;

What I TEACH.

What I PREACH.

How I attempted to PRACTICE it.

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EIGHT PILLARS OF POLICING 

  1. Policing is a necessary function; a noble and learned calling.
  2. Only those who represent society’s highest values should serve as police.
  3. Policing is more than enforcing the law; it is serving people, being present, solving problems, and helping others.
  4. The nature of policing requires those who practice it be highly respectful, compassionate, and collaborative in carrying out their duties.
  5. The use of legitimate force is a public trust given to police to be used wisely and carefully.
  6. Those who practice policing must be impeccably honest.
  7. Police must have respect and tolerance for dissent and public protest.
  8. Ultimately, police are guardians of our way of life, to be accountable and transparent in their actions, and protectors of our Bill of Rights and persons most vulnerable in society.

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6 Comments

  1. Not unlike the list I’ve had in Chapter 1 of my Police Administration textbook for about the last 25 years:

    1. The police are a general-purpose government agency that provides a wide variety of services to the community, including but not limited to law enforcement and crime control.
    2. The police get their authority from the law, the community, political superiors, and the police profession, and are ultimately responsible to each of these sources of authority.
    3. The overriding objectives in every police action or decision must be the protection of life and property and the maintenance of order.
    4. Protection of life is always the primary objective of policing; the relative importance of protecting property and maintaining order varies from place to place and from time to time.
    5. Law enforcement is not an objective of policing; rather, it is one method that is sometimes employed in the effort to protect life and property and maintain order.
    6. The police are rightly constrained in the methods they can employ in pursuing their objectives; they must resist the temptation to employ unauthorized, illegal, or unethical methods.
    7. The police must treat each individual person and situation according to the particular circumstances encountered; but individualized treatment may not include discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, social class, or other improper criteria.
    8. The police must be willing and capable of employing force when justified to achieve legitimate objectives, but the use of force should always be a last resort, and the police must strive to develop nonviolent methods of gaining cooperation.
    9. Police must ultimately be guided by ethical and legal standards that may sometimes conflict with, and should supersede, organizational, community, and peer pressures.
    10. The police are unavoidably associated with those in power; yet they have a special responsibility to protect those furthest from power and the democratic political process itself.

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    1. Yes, and thanks! Now if this could only be imprinted in an officer’s life (tattooed on his or her body?) from the time of recruiting to retirement… “Oh, what a wonderful world this would be!” (Sam Cooke song).

      “Don’t know much about police history
      Don’t know much biology
      Don’t know much about a science book,
      Don’t know much about the law I took.
      But I do know that I love policing,
      And I know that the community loves me, too,
      What a wonderful world this would be.

      Sam Cooke – Wonderful World | MetroLyrics re-written!

      Like

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