To make a real impact with community policing, the police have to change the minds and views of people who don’t like them. It is easy to go to a senior center and say, “look at how great we are doing, they all like us”. Go to the corner where teens are hanging out and see what happens.
We are in a sad place in the United States when a police officer doesn’t want to tell others what they do for a living. A police officer is a civil servant who is paid by taxes and therefore works for the citizens they serve. They should be proud of that, not ashamed or embarrassed.
I recently visited a police department of a city of over 100,000 people and was shocked at what they considered community policing. The city has two police officers who go to neighborly disputes. Having two officers deal with two neighbors arguing whose dog shitted in the others yard, IS NOT community policing.
The city I visited has a high rate of youth crime, drug use and no specific plan on how to reach the youth of the community. No dedicated team of officers to interact with the youth. I asked about designated youth community policing officers, Nope! Police programs for troubled youth, Nope! I was shocked at the lack of interest and direction.
Albert Einstein said, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
It is all about the leadership of a police department. The city manager and ultimately the elected officials who hire the police chief and city manager need to be more involved with policing in their city. It should be the #1 priority of all officials.
In policing, when you have a bad cop, he or she tarnishes the good name of the good cops. Most police officers want to do the right thing, but like in every business, the employees know who the bad apples are. In policing, it is no different, the good cops know who the bad cops are. They should get rid of them ASAP.
The citizens need to demand accountability. Police departments need to hold their own people accountable for their actions. Way too many police agencies look the other way. Those days are over.
Let’s bring honor and prestige back to policing the way it used to be.
About the author: Larry Lawton is an Author, TV Personality, Speaker, Teen/Young Adult Expert and Law Enforcement Consultant. Larry developed the nationally recognized Reality Check Program and Reality Check Video Card Program.
Larry Lawton appears regularly on national TV and Radio as an expert on teen issues, crime, schools and community policing. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, MSNBC — CLICK HERE to see Larry Lawton on TV
In August of 2013, Larry was the first ex-con in the United States to be sworn in as an Honorary Police Officer in the city of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri and in November 2013, Larry was the first ex-con recognized on the Floor of the United States Congress for his work with helping young people and law enforcement agencies.
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