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What Does the Public Want?

What Does the Public Want?

Flikr | User: Bullneck

Every television channel has an old, new or syndicated police drama airing sometime, somewhere. The public has a certain romance with law enforcement and why shouldn’t they? Hollywood and their rating systems have cashed in on white toothy smiles, good looking actors and actresses, witty dialogue, fancy suits, and the ability to efficiently wrap up the most difficult crimes in fifty minutes with commercials.

The notion of justice as being swift, severe, and certain is obvious and culminates with the softer, sensual side of the “wink-wink” fraternization in the workplace. No matter how it’s achieved, police get the job done!

When the television goes off and they go outside, however, the public comes into contact with real police officers and their expectations for that “dreamy” side of justice are nothing short of dreamy. People’s expectations are high. In the early 1980s, public demand called for law enforcement support in response to spikes in violent crime. Our social contract calls for legitimate protection by our police by giving up some of our individual rights.

In recent decades, police supervisors and local governments have come together with their communities to roll out dozens of programs that put the public in touch with their local police officers and departments. Today, crime is statistically on the decline, but now the expectation is to keep it down—forever! Tougher sentencing and harsher penalties is now the public demand and it’s not coming in the time, shape, and form originally expected. It’s an expectation that requires the help of more than just the police, but the police are an immediate and available association to that expectation. Whew! I think I’m going to go back and turn on that television to see what I’m doing wrong.

As we look to effective police-community relations, public demands must be balanced with the broader challenges that make our jobs more fact than fiction:

• Technology: Criminals have tapped into our lives and living rooms through use of the Internet. We need constant vision and creative solutions to respond in anticipation of viral crime campaigns. Video games and media violence both have choke-holds on our children that exceed anything we’ve dealt with before in responding to violence through fantasy outlets once considered benign. The bad guys also have their grubby hands on weapons and weapons of mass destruction that seek to snuff out our brand of justice;

• Family: Is workplace violence or school and mall shootings a result of young people coming from broken homes? Has a disintegration of the nuclear family spawned countless acts of random and organized violence by adolescents or adults who have had few opportunities to take shelter? There is a great deal of research that suggests that close families spawn close relationships (even deviant ones), but the negative association and perception is evident;

• Socio-economics: Gaps between the upper, middle, and lower classes have increased tensions in communities where officers do not reflect their demographic makeup. How can we be responsive to public demands when we don’t look like each other or share the same cultural values?

• The War on Cops: 2010 was a bad year for police officers—hundreds killed in the line of duty while others seriously wounded and assaulted. We’ve moved from hostile build-ups that have led to gunfights to outright assassinations (and calls for assassinations) that will quickly require the police to change their tactics in encountering the public.

There are many more challenges, but these are the frontrunners that require more attention as we look to build on the community relationships that were started many years ago. The field of policing is a dynamic one—one that calls for constant vigilance, policy changes, and new training. Given low budgets and the feeling of being a cheap commodity, officers on the streets must have the resources and support of their administration as they look to extend their services to the community while managing new threats. It can’t be shotgun strategic plans that serve as shortcuts and eye candy—they will have a limited chance for success. The public demands safety and security.

Officers demand safety and security. Making this happen in our 21st century will require aggressive education and training that “sticks.” Only then, can the police begin to meet public demands and both sides be satisfied because they are in earnest—not something contrived from the security of a living room where entertainment or false crime statistics motivate public perceptions. What does the public want? It’s really what they need—and it’s you!

  • Big_mo_max50


    about 4 years ago


    It's ignorant folks like Colt 45 makes our job difficult. Here's the deal Colt 45. No matter what you say about your local cops when your ass is in trouble they will still save your butt. That's what we do!

  • P23-2_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Colt 45 with that attitude you will never be in law enforcement EVER. Grow up.

  • Me2_max50


    about 4 years ago


    and Bump SWATSARGE.... WELL PUT! I gotta remember that one.

  • Me2_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Good article! Why is colt45 on here? Why do random people just sign up for this?

  • Dusty_vp_max50


    about 4 years ago


  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Colt45, "A brand of cheap malt liquor introduced in 1963 and comes in a single bottle of up to forty ounces." Purpose: To make you drunk on the cheap..quantity not quality. Walk in my shoes, go through the fire and then I dare you to call me a liar. Excellent article.

  • Police_car_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Colt45, you have a very one-sided and biased view of our profession. It is obvious that you have not actually been out here and done this work. Refer to my favorite Abraham Lincoln quote.

    Bump! depdandfrank. I don't have the time or inclination to "harass" people. Somebody needs to take a look at his motives and his actions.

  • 10-05-09_1754_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Excellent article, Brian!

  • Me_aloof_1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    6 months till I can join the Blue! Cannot wait for my chance to serve and have my chance to make the difference in some one's life as "Late Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Nikky Joe Green" made in mine! I have the greatest and up-most respect for past, present, and future LEO's. To all currently serving, Stay safe and God Bless.

  • Picture_0012_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Well I do not have the same view as mr. colt45, I understand why officers do what they do. I've studied this profession for all its pros and cons, and none of that means anything to me. I am a marine, and as soon as my background investigation is complete I can't wait to pin on the mighty badge of the law.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Colt45... As my FTO said 26 years ago. We're here to save your ass. Not kiss it. If you think your being harassed. STOP DOING STUPID S%^&

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Colt 45- I read your page and you are thinking you want to be a cop.... well get off your butt and do it then until you walk the street in the middle of the night alone looking for a felon or in a fight with a bad guy you have no place to start thinking you know what its like to be a cop. You are the one that cops hate to deal with the know it all someone who thinks thay know what the police need or should be doing when the bottom line is you dont know what you need to do. The question you need to ask yourself is could you walk the THIN BLUE LINE everyday, if you dont know what this means well you are not the police type and never will be..

  • Ycso-patch_max50


    over 4 years ago


    dito to SWAT SARGE... well said Sir

  • Iraqcampaignmedal-ribbon_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Colt 45, the next time you need the police, call a crackhead or a gangmember. Sometimes thinking you're 10 feet tall and bullet proof is what is needed to go into a situation where most people in their right mind would not dare go. Next time don't open your mouth until such time you have walked in an Officer's shoes. Go back to your TV. Oh and when you said that you have been harassed but wasn't doing anything wrong. Prison is full of innocent people. Just ask anyone in prison and they will tell you. Our job is not to make everyone happy all the time. If you want a friend 24/7, call a fireman or get a puppy. Our job is to serve and protect. If you are the problem, we are still serving and protecting the good people of the public while making you unhappy. Somebody forgot to tell you that you don't get everything you want all the time.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Gives plenty to think about. Great article.

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