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

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 66

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FIT@50 / week 66

True Power:

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix
 
This week I received two notices about Chief of Police positions in Louisiana. My immediate thoughts were “No thanks.” It was about this time last year that I’d announced my August 28th retirement date.
 
I would’ve never in a million years thought retirement from the only job I’d known would’ve been a reality. To be honest, I just assumed, and was happy with the idea of dying before retiring. I was in the catbird seat and had no intentions of relinquishing the position as my city’s top cop.
 
Then it happened – My life changed.
 
It was no longer about conquering careers, giving orders or fielding offers to run much larger agencies. I transitioned into working as an equal with a partner I loved and respected. No longer was having my picture on the front page or official statements of any consequence.
 
I’d learned a long time ago that power and authority are two very different dynamics. Neither were important to me any more. Becoming a husband and dad were. Surrendering the spotlight to stand in the shadows applauding my wife, Liliana Hart and kids’ accomplishments became the new normal.
 
It’s been almost a year since I walked away from the facade of a powerful position to the reality of an important one. Sure, times like this week’s Orlando massacre make me miss being in blue to help the public, but I know there are almost 900,000 others who serve with the same passion as I did.
 
My place is where God led me. Does it mean I don’t train as hard as I used to just in case of a crisis, or that I’ve forgotten the skills and training that came with wearing the badge – No.
 
What has changed is my definition of true power, and it’s found within the love and support of family.
 
Do Good,
Scott
In case you missed last week’s FIT@50 & Please Join me on Facebook.
 

FIT@50 / week 62

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FIT@50 / week 62

Missing You

 
Every May, the nation recognizes National Police Week. Thousands of cops from hundreds of countries gather in Washington DC at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund moment to pay respects to officers fallen in the line of duty.
 
I’ve been to Police Week numerous times over 26 years, and visit the names of 7 personal friends on the granite walls every time I visit DC. One year I even cycled 300 miles over 3 days with the Police Unity Tour to raise awareness and funding for the memorial.
 
Cops place a high premium on the honoring of their fallen. I think part of it is because with every officer we see killed in the line of duty, we realize that at most any time, that officer could’ve been us.
 
Despite the realization that our life is just a trigger pull, a blade’s slide, a car crash, or a disaster away from having our name engraved on the granite wall, we want to know that we too will be honored for public service.
 
There is a saying engraved on one of the walls of honor – it reads, “It’s not the way they died that makes them a hero. It’s the way they lived.”
 
This is the first time in my entire adult life that I’ve been out of law enforcement during Police Week. I have to say it was difficult watching from the outside. It wasn’t the uniform that drove me to help others, or to grieve over the loss of fellow officers. It was a human desire to help.
 
It’s also that humanity that has stirred my emotions all week. I still miss each of my 7 friends who died in the line of duty. Actually, I grieve for the 20,789 names of American law enforcement officers senselessly killed while doing only what we all swore to do – Serve and Protect.
 
Do I enjoy retirement – Yes, but I miss the fraternity of my blue family. Mostly, I miss my friends – Rest In Peace Brothers and Sister Blue.
 
#GoBlue
Do Good,

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Game Changers

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Game Changers:

What happened on April 20, 1999? Law enforcement may not recall the date, but we know the outcome. It’s when our patient world of Contain, Control & De-escalate shifted to a pursuing response of Active Shooters. Overnight, SWAT took a back seat to the Patrol Officer, as rapid response required immediate deployment to neutralize the threat.

The nation was so shocked following the Columbine High School massacre that no one seemed to mind the tactical and equipment shift to better arm first responding beat cops for confronting weapon wielding madmen.

What a difference the world of policing has experienced from Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook.

Not only has the political climate tugged the rug from under our collective battered police boots, but the cultural tenor begs we lay down our arms. Or at least keep them holstered until a video review can be debated over social media.

Global terror has landed square in the lap of the good old red, white and blue. Our fighting military forces, God bless them are the best on this planet, but this is not their battle.

Had every Navy SEAL been stationed just 110 miles south at Coronado, there’s still no way they could’ve activated to respond to the Inland Regional Center. The United States military’s function is not to provide domestic, civil law enforcement services.

Local Cops

It’s the beat officer writing the citation a few blocks away and the motor cop working the car crash at the intersection that will drop everything to respond.

In San Bernardino, as in Columbine, local law enforcement were the first responders during the period of crisis. Even our brothers and sisters in the federal alphabet soup of law enforcement are post-incident response at best.

A 2013 FBI report stated there was 1 active shooter incident every 3 weeks. Who responded? The same local cops still taking criticisms from video voyeurs running in the opposite direct of the danger.

Big Blue, you’ve got a choice to make. On top of everything else heaped on your backs, have you got the legs to carry the hometown battles to terrorists?

We’ll be asked in a few months what happened on December 02, 2015. Most will scratch their heads. But we’ll know. It’s the day the game changed.

Join me at Chief Scott Silverii, PhD

What would you do?

UAV Pa1

WWYD:
Scenario

You are on duty and conducting an investigation on the shoulder of the roadway. You hear a buzzing and look up. There is a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)hovering above you with a camera pointed at you.

What would you do?

More answers engagement at Chief Scott Silverii’s Facebook page

Hug a Police Dispatcher – Do it today

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This week honors Emergency Dispatchers – the life lines who answer frantic 9-1-1 calls, dispatches officers to the scene and records the funny or painful details of each call for service. Often unsung, Emergency Communications Operators are the true heroes – Hug a Police Dispatcher – Do it today