Understanding Police: My PhD Research

Understanding Police Cover

Understanding Police: My PhD Research


I’m still in shock over the North Miami Police shooting of Charles Kinsey. I keep waiting for a plausible explanation before I make any comment on this. It’s hard, very hard to just remain silent.
 
So many folks want to understand the world of law enforcement, but will never gain an objective perspective. My research conducted for my PhD has been published twice – once as a textbook titled, Cop Culture: Why Good Cops Go Bad, and the other as A Darker Shade of Blue.
 
While the rights belong to my publisher, the research is all mine. I published this edition of my multi-year study on the organization and culture of cops to help you gain a factual view on the profession.
 
I tried cutting out the boring details about research methods and validity along with the qualitative methodology explanations – this will give you answers in a “PC Free” explanation.
 
I’d give it away, but Kindle requires 0.99 –>>1-Click

FIT@50 / week 71

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FIT@50 / week 71
The Bags:
 
Liliana Hart and I have blissfully caved at home this week. Although we worked while we travelled, there’s nothing like grabbing a spot in the house and hammering away until the tasks are done.
 
Forget TGIF, we experienced IFA – It’s Friday Already!!!
 
I have to admit it was different being home. Last time we were in the house it was full of kids, playing outside and nightly BBQs with meals on the patio. While we both enjoy the quiet, I think we missed the rowdy ruckus.
 
Along with playing catch up, our suitcases and clothes remain on the floor from our European adventure. We lived out of them for almost three weeks, why not a few more – right?
 
If you’d look through the window and see a mountain, you would be correct – it’s called our mail. In that mail are several slips of paper from UPS asking, begging, pleading for us to claim packages.
 
Do you remember what was in those packages?
 
Yes, our dirty clothes. Liliana wasn’t in too big of a hurry to claim those bags. Of course we figured we could wait until the kids came back and continue their life skills training. Or as some people call it – making them wash the clothes.
 
But, in a flash of awareness she changed her motivation towards claiming our bags. Why I asked. Because she has about $2,000 worth of shoes in one of them. And to think I only placed $100 worth of insurance on the shipment – just don’t tell her.
 
So if you happen to spot us slipping through Dallas looking slightly suspicious and embarrassed, it’s because we’d already claimed our batch of dirty clothes and her crazy fancy collection of expensive shoes.
 
Good news is, the kids will be back about the same time we crack open the bags with three weeks worth of dirty clothes that have been stuffed into bags and shipped halfway around the world.
 
Hey, it’s either that or they wash my motorcycle and mow the lawn at noon in this Texas summer. Life choices that children don’t get to chose are always the best to make for them.
 
Do Good,
Scott
In case you missed last week’s FIT@50 & Please Join me on Facebook.
 
 

Stretching the Police: Point Break

I posted about police reform in Change Responsibly – Stretching the Police this week. It was a longer than usual thought, so I wanted to talk with you also about the actual dynamics involved with policing and change.

Stretching the Police: Point Break

The original article

Change Responsibly – Stretching the Police:

Change Responsibly – Stretching the Police:

Going through old files, I came across a collection of video topics from my former agency’s annual summit. This, like many agencies host meetings to set the tone and sharpen the vision. There are only messages of community service through most agency missions.

Police are not the enemy. Their job is difficult and challenging. It is truly a double-edge sword where you’re the savior who pulls daddy off from molesting his daughter, yet become the villain because you’re taking her husband to jail for molesting their daughter.

By creation, police are the State’s arm of violence. Please allow me to explain while that soaks in.

While we’ve transformed over decades into the roles of community worker, counselor, teacher, preacher and anything needed at that moment, the legal reality is law enforcement’s function is to provide the surety that laws created by legislation will be honored or enforced if violated.

This is an example of a police officer’s oath of office. Most are required to be sworn, signed and filed in their clerk of courts’ office:

I……………………DO SWEAR,, THAT – I WILL WELL AND TRULY SERVE – OUR SOVEREIGN COUNTRY AND STATE – AS A POLICE OFFICER WITHOUT FAVOR OR AFFECTION – MALICE OR ILL-WILL – UNTIL I AM LEGALLY DISCHARGED, THAT I WILL SEE AND CAUSE ¬ OUR COMMUNITY’S PEACE TO BE KEPT AND PRESERVED – AND THAT – I WILL PREVENT TO THE BEST OF MY POWER – ALL OFFENSES AGAINST THAT PEACE – AND THAT – WHILE I CONTINUE TO BE A POLICE OFFICER – I WILL – TO THE BEST OF MY SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE – DISCHARGE ALL THE DUTIES THEREOF – FAITHFULLY – ACCORDING TO LAW.
SO HELP ME GOD.

Do you see term slike helper or friend or anything other than upholding, enforcing, preventing? It’s difficult for the community or the agencies to reconcile the requirements of their neighbor-citizen service versus their keeper of the peace roles.

This is a simple, not open for debate example of police force:

Cops don’t dictate the speed limit, but it is their duty to ensure the speed limits enacted by the legislative body are adhered to. What are the options of force? Posted speed limits signs are a form of force. Patrol cars parked in the speeding zone is another form of force. Running radar and warning drivers to slow down is an elevated form of force. Writing a speeding citation is yet another force option. Arresting the driver for speeding is possibly the highest form of force to make sure that limit on speed as established by a governing body is honored.

It may be cliché, but the saying, “We don’t make the laws, we enforce them,” is absolutely accurate. This isn’t an alibi for the extrajudicial use of police force, it’s just an illustration that the function of a police body isn’t to be your crutch or your punching bag. The job of the police are to ensure the laws of the jurisdiction are adhered to and enforced if violated.

Now comes the theoretical confliction.

The police are public servants. The term “servant” applies to helper on call to aid and assist in times of need or distress. This doesn’t sound like legislative muscle poised to enforce the law upon violation. No, it doesn’t. It’s a position of helper, and fixer.

Police are called upon more than 95% of the time to handle non-violent, quality of life circumstances. even in the most violent, crime ridden cities, police respond to violent crime calls only about 3% of the time. While this isn’t a statistical crime session, it is an example of what cops do with almost all of their other time on duty – Helping people fix their problems.

Can you imagine the personal dilemma of being trained, equipped and constitutionally commissioned with the empowerment of enforcing the laws of that jurisdiction, yet in almost 97% of calls for your assistance they are non-violent situations such as arguments between spouses, kids not wanting to go to school or a boyfriend not returning your daughter’s cell phone? You’ve not been trained by your employer’s academy to handle disputes with alternative resolutions or de-escalation techniques. You only know how to enforce the law and defend yourself and others.

The occupational dichotomy between the enforcer and guardian ethos is a powerful pendulum swing in either direction. Containing and directing those influencers is the function of the agencies’ heads and chain-of-command. An agency who gains a reputation of abuse, has failed leadership by allowing the domestic warrior mindset to overpower the community helper ideology.

In opposition, agencies ineffective at controlling crime, and focus more on appeasing political ambitions and personal agendas also exemplify failed leadership. It is a balance requiring monitoring every second of every day on every instance an officer interacts with the public.

So what does this all mean, besides spending the last ten minutes getting to the conclusion?

Police reform will not come easily. There are over 900,000 sworn officers – campus, city, county, state, federal and tribal, that work for 17,985 separate law enforcement agencies in the United States.

There is no one single governing body that dictates or influences these agencies. They, for the most part, are independent governmental jurisdictions who only answer to those within their respective political subdivision. Contrary to popular belief, while the FBI may have concurrent investigative jurisdiction with even a college campus police department, they do not have supervisory authority over any officer within that or any other law enforcement agency.

How do you affect change?

Reform will require changing the very mission, not just the practice of policing. A complete cultural overhaul that focuses on adopting the guardian ethos as opposed to the “us versus them” homeland soldier mentality. This change will require the same dynamics as any mass overhaul of disparate organizations – Clarity of Focus – Patience – Education – Accountability – Encouragement, just to name a few.

The reality is it will take a coordinated effort to develop best practice models based on multidisciplinary, social science approaches. That being said, it’s also vital to acknowledge the police cannot be everything to everybody. Society may have stretched the requirement of the police too far. Maybe the police just aren’t equipped to handle every one of society’s ills and quality of life concerns.

As an aggregate populace, it may be more productive to look at the entirety of what the police do for each community and evaluate what percentage of the whole are habitually acting in bad faith or illegal activity. Do good cops go bad? Yes. Do bad guys become cops? Yes, but that is the case in every profession. Are there bad kids in your child’s kindergarten class – Yes, so does that mean we march against little Johnny? No – it’s called life – bad things happen and are often caused by equally bad people.

Be warned!

Reform will result in a social service gap that has never been seen in this country. Even more concerning is that there are no public, private or social service agencies to pick up the slack once police stop doing the extra, non-criminal enforcement activities. For example – child custody exchanges, civil seizure of property, vehicle title verification, car insurance compliance checks, welfare concerns for the elderly or infirmed, delivering meals to the homeless, maintaining social media sites to keep us informed and enjoying the sense of community, funeral and wedding escorts, campaigning for their chief or sheriff’s election, visiting our kids at school to say hello, and the endless list of extras the profession has shouldered that have absolutely zero to do with the content of their sworn oath.

Can the profession of policing do better, be better? Yes. It has come so far since it’s inception. Can you force a 17,985 agencies juggernaut to change with violence against their communities and its their members? Absolutely not. If anything it will become more entrenched as a means of survival.

Becoming an agent of change requires more than a hashtag and bricks thrown. There must be direction and a definition of what that change looks like.

Police aren’t against changing to best serve their communities—they just need clear orders as to what their change will be. Don’t just demand change – define change, and uphold your end of the societal responsibility while that change is occurring.

Do Good,
Scott
Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

FIT@50 / week 70

FIT@50 / week 70
White Flag:

The white flag is usually associated with surrender. I’m not about to wave that sucker. This week my flag has been the Irish’s color of kelly green. Though it’s a bit exhausting.

I’ve had a great time chronicling Liliana Hart and my adventures across Europe – If you’ve just awaken, check hashtag ‪#‎EuroDash16‬

I’m going to minimize this post because I have to wear a shirt and regular pants for tonight’s event, and someone has to get the ironing done. I’ll post Day 16 tonight after we return from the River dance. There might even be furios feet videoed since it’ll be Liliana Hart‘s first time experiencing this fantastic art form.

Since it’s been awhile since I’ve seen my sweet boy, and you’ve been so kind to mention him, I thought I’d add a little Max to the mix.

Do Good,
Scott Silverii

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FIT@50 / week 69

Terror_Attack_In_Paris_France_jpg

FIT@50 / week 69

Price of Pizza:
This week while in Paris, Liliana Hart and I took off on the city in a series of pedicab driven adventures. To say the experience was anything less than epic would be an understatement.
 
But at what price?
 
I’m always talking with her and our kids about situational awareness. The boys think it’s funny, while the girls think I’m trying to make the junior high boys afraid of them (maybe both.)
 
After a lift to the Tour Eiffel, we looked down upon an enchanted city filled with lights and people and noise and life. Just below us was a watching station for fans of the Euro semifinals soccer match between Wales and Portugal. I’d never experienced crowd energy like that before. It was like 10 Mardi Gras combined.
 
As we headed back to the suite, we were instantly caught up in thousands of fanatic supporters of the soccer match. Unable to get back to the room, we ducked into a pizza joint for a late supper.
 
We were stopped at the door by a tough looking guy wearing a black jacket with an armband that read Security. Seriously, for pizza?
 
Facing the door as all good cops do, I watched the crowds inside and out. I suddenly felt less for wanting pizza and more for escaping the scene. November 13, 2015 was there. Always there in my mind as we carted around in a beautifully free-moving environment. The 130 victims of that night’s coordinated terror attacks weighed heavily upon my heart as I choked down the first but only slice of pizza.
 
I was fixated on the tough guy at the door, as well as the hundreds of riot squad special police lining the avenues with body armor and machine guns ready to respond.
 
It wasn’t nervousness that had stricken me. It was a wash of grief for those people sitting in a cafe just like us, and the revelers whose only care was for the score of a well-played game, and the many others who just wanted to “kick it” across Paris like we did.
 
Our waiter was an older man who watched the streets as much as he watched his customers. We didn’t mind the delays in service. I’m sure it was all he could do to focus on just doing his job.
 
But it’s just a pizza place.
 
I’m never at ease. I watch the lighthearted videos we do on facebook and I’m amazed that when we’re in a public place how my head is constantly scanning back and forth. I can’t help it or want to change it. It’s what I was trained to do–I watch and observe, so I can react and protect if needed.
 
I sat up straight as a crowd jammed into the door’s threshold. Angry shouts in languages I didn’t understand came clear into the small cafe. The tough looking guy pitted himself against the aggressive few.
 
I have to admit, my gut dropped. But immediately, I was coming out of my chair to help that tough guy, who suddenly, with fists slamming against his face, didn’t seem tough enough.
 
My thoughts weren’t about my safety, or even to stay there for Liliana. My heart leapt so hard from my chest that whether it was a repeat terror attack the day after July 4th or just hungry customers pissed about being denied access, I knew the line that tough guy had committed to standing.
 
Almost a year since retirement, but I know that having a heart for serving others is something that never retires. I also now know that the French Police are much faster than I ever could’ve been. Before my butt left the seat, or Liliana even realized I was leaving, officers snatched the attackers from the door and whisked them away.
 
I watched the tough guy rub the red whelps across his face. I knew the feelings of taking licks for something having nothing to do with you other than making a choice to stand for something or someone else. I wanted to tell him that although battered, he did a good job protecting the customers in the cafe.
 
When it was time to head back to the suite, I led us through a rowdy crowd of thousands who jumped and screamed and lit fires and raced cars along the avenue. The mood was degrading fast. I swung and swayed with Liliana in tow and tried my best to avoid contact with anyone, but inevitably times came to bulldoze the drunks and just plain stupid for the sake of getting us out of that situation.
 
Finally back in the room, I showered off the grime of getting us back. and it was then that I allowed myself to relax, and the emotions came crashing over me as I showered.
 
Those poor, innocent people along the magical streets of Paris who only wanted to enjoy the mystique of this city. What makes them different than us, if for only by the day on a calendar.
 
What is the price of pizza? It gets much more costly as fear, anxiety and violence are piled upon the pepperoni and cheese. Those feelings are foreign to me, but this week they became a very real reminder of the reality of our world.
 
Do we forgo the pizza for the sake of comfort? No. Not as long as there are good people willing to stand in the gap. Those good people are us. The cafe chef, the customers, and yes, even the tough guy in the door.
 
Do Good,
Scott
In case you missed last week’s FIT@50 & Please Join me on Facebook.
 

FIT@50 / week 68

max meat
FIT@50 / week 68
Talk, It’s What’s For Dinner:
 
Liliana Hart & I eat out. A Lot.
It’s what we do and what we enjoy. We work at home, so our chance to avoid being creepy homebodies is to go out and socialize with other humans. I love talking to people, so it’s a natural fit for me. I actually chased down the mail carrier to say hello.
 
The kids also eat out. A Lot.
It’s what they do, and what they enjoy. Besides it’s easier and much quicker to feed eight than to buy various foods to satisfy all. Plus – no dishes to clean up.
 
Then we bought a grill. Probably more on a dare than an actual desire to hang out in the Texas heat over an open flame.
 
Night 1 was sorta odd. We had to force the kids to come outside. They were like aliens leaving the mothership for the first time. The meat was cooked. A Lot.
 
Last night we had our final family feast BBQ, and not only was the food amazing, but the process of dinner time had become incredible as well. Over the weeks of cooking out almost every night, each kid found their niche from seasoning the meat to cleaning the grill. It was a joy to see their pride in doing their best and in contribution to the family good.
 
We’d spend hours outside in the preparation, grilling, eating and then talking. Yep, those were brakes screeching across your website – I said talking.
 
Talking.
 
Liliana Hart & I’d just sit there, full of wonderful meat because we’re meat eaters, and watch, but mostly listen to little voices laughing, and reading to each other, or one would wander off into the dark imagining he was Ironman, while they watched lightening bugs spark throughout the wooded backyard.
 
I know she’d agree that no amount of travel, adventure or success has or ever will match the incredible summer our family spent outside.
 
We head to Europe for July, but it isn’t without heavy hearts and hesitation. So I ask the friends we’re going to visit and see during our work and play – if you have an outdoor BBQ grill, how about we avoid the fancy French cafe’s and toss some beef across a flame!
 
Do Good,
Scott Silverii
In case you missed last week’s FIT@50 & Please Join me on Facebook.