Lt. Col Dave Grossman is a world renowned police and military trainer. His books are best sellers and required reading at the USMC Officer Candidate School.
He boils down much of how our society work when it comes to law enforcement in a couple short paragraphs:
From Lt. Col Dave Grossman: “If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep.”
If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf.
But what if you have a capacity for violence AND a deep love for your fellow citizens?
Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path, someone who can walk into the heart of human darkness and walk out unscathed.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray-paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”
That is, until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog….”
While not everyone is as helpless as a sheep, and there are many citizens who will jump in at a moment’s notice to help protect our citizens, I think Lt. Col. Grossman’s analogy is an accurate one. Many people don’t have time to be bothered with the police, at least until they NEED the police and when that day comes they need a cop RIGHT NOW!
Instead of never having talked to a police officer until the fateful day when you need one right away, wouldn’t a better approach be to integrate officers into our community so that you see them at your kid’s school, or at your Rotary or Lion’s Club meeting or at any of the numerous festival and events we have locally?
I think having officers sharing their knowledge at local churches regarding crime and safety or inviting the public to our facility to discuss ways to avoid becoming a victim builds the rapport that that breaks down the barriers that cause friction between officers and the public they serve.
The “Us vs. Them” mentality needs to end.
Because we ARE “them”. Police are your neighbors, they go to church with you and their kids go to school with yours. When you go to get an oil change or take your family to the movies, we are right there doing those same things. We mow our grass and fire up the grill on weekends. We yell at the TV when the Cowboys are playing. We are not so different than anyone else you know.
Next time you see us at a restaurant, patrolling the park, or walking through your school, strike up a conversation! Get to know the men and women that are society’s guardians. You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that in most cases…we are you.
Until next time, Chief Eric Kaiser