Thích Nhất Hạnh died on January 22nd. You might wonder why his death is noted on a blog site about improving police. Thich Nhat Hahn, or “Thay,” as he was endearingly called, was born in Vietnam. He became a Buddhist monk, peace activist, author, poet, teacher, and founded Plum Village in France. He was the main inspiration for “engaged Buddhism.”
I thought about my friend and colleague Cheri Maples this week when I heard about the death of Thay. This led me to thinking once again about the kind of intellectual-spiritual influence we need in the practice of democratic policing.
He was Cheri’s teacher. Both of us left policing to pursue calls to the religious life. Me as a Christian, Cheri as a Buddhist. Cheri and I worked together for a number of years when I led the Madison Police Department. She retired as a police captain and was a woman I deeply loved. Years have passed yet she is often in my thoughts and how we tried to put our deep beliefs and values into the practice of policing.
In honor of both Thay and Cheri, I am reposting my blog about her from four years ago. https://improvingpolice.blog/2018/06/07/missing-cheri/
May both these bright souls rest in peace. Amen.