As a former police Sergeant, with a total of 19 years of law enforcement experience, I look back at the assignments I had as a cop, detective, administrator, SWAT team leader and supervisor. I then attempt to recount all the public encounters I had of an incredibly diverse demographic of people, whether suspected of crimes, victims, witnesses or just plain old law abiding citizens. For the life of me, I try and better grasp or identify aspects of the issues not just in Ferguson Missouri, but what seems to be a growing relationship issue with the public and police.
From a stand point of the average person watching the media’s versions and direction of events, public perception of police has drastically changed from two decades ago. There will always be differences and issues to combat no matter the era, but the way in which matters are perceived, reported, believed and dealt with are now flamed with a stronger presumption of guilt towards police. Police were inherently liked and trusted prior, but now seem to carry a new popular convenient belief of an us against them mentality. Given this direction, we run a very dangerous risk of a social acceptance of excuses that will only minimize accountability…..and that goes for both the public and police. Meaning neither police nor claimed “activist’ can use these drastic changes for agendas.
Solutions are still not known, but what is known is that trenched in taking of sides, no matter your view, will never be the solution. Disputes will never be won over, no one side will every give way to the other entirely. However, resolving conflict through mediated dialogue and mutual respect is a start towards finding direction of a solution.