Modern police forces have become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection.
Rob Duke's insight:
My great-grandfather was a cop and the stories I heard tell me that things never change much on the street (25 years later when I was a cop). There are predators who see the rest of us as prey; and, the cops are, for most people, the only protection from these guys and the criminal organizations that they form. The system is such, and has always been such, that if you follow every procedure, rule, policy and law, you would engage in enforcement paralysis. As Kissinger once remarked, he rather naively thought it would be easy to advise a President. What he found was that all the easy questions were answered out in the field in Wichita or Columbus and that the only questions that reached the President were the "damned if you do" types of problems. Cops are faced with this same problem and the policy manuals don't help much in these situations, so it's all judgement calls. Like Alexander, especially under fire, cops often cut the Gordian Knot, and, that is why I say, it's always been and always will be the same in that cops on the line between civilization and savagery are going to be warriors. What we may be lamenting is the loss of a basic adherence to principles that uphold truth and human dignity before anything else. Cops seem to have traded these values for security and justice, which are inferior versions of truth and human dignity. Why has this substitution taken place? For one, the courts have followed a due process, equal protection path for obvious reasons given America's race relations history. But, frankly, it goes back to the Kissinger Paradox that I mentioned above, and the organizational tendency to think we can build a Weberian "iron cage" around every decision and social problem (recall that Max Weber worried that bureaucracy was ultimately too impersonal and would come to be an iron cage). So, to the extent possible, I advocate throwing out the iron cage and the police "proverbs" that support the ideas of security and justice and create some new proverbs that uplift the values of truth and human dignity. For more on this go to our webpage at uaf.edu/justice and read my working paper "The Proverbs of Police Administration". Oh, and let me know what you think...
This may sound harsh, but the truth often is... I've witnessed far too many people in positions of leadership that wouldn't recognize an opportunity if it hit them squarely in the face. If you cannot recognize, attract, and acquire opportunity you should not be in a leadership position. Just this week [...]
Sunil Dutta, a 17-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and adjunct instructor of homeland security at Colorado Technical University, has a suggestion for victims of police violence searching for someone to blame: Look in the mirror.
Rob Duke's insight:
A misleading headline. Dutta might want to rethink the way he explains this concept. While I agree, it's a simple request to comply on the scene and then go to the station and complain; the other side also has a legitimate complaint that nothing changes with that approach (as we saw under Jim Crow through the civil rights era and even until today); and, furthermore, it's a slippery slope to merely comply because the government tells you to do so. Is there a solution? Officers have some reasonable expectation to safety and citizens have a reasonable expectation to have an authentic way to challenge police actions. Without proof of the circumstances, it becomes a case of dueling perceptions. Did the officer have the requisite alchemy of sometimes nebulous ingredients sufficient to satisfy the demands of reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause? It depends on the circumstances, time, place, manner of the activity, even the training and experience of the officer factors in. Frankly, no citizen is ever going to have all this info (or be qualified to evaluate), nor is it reasonable for us to ask officers to delay officer safety concerns (e.g. pat down searches for weapons, warrant checks, etc.) long enough to satisfy a citizen that a stop is based upon legitimate probable cause and not racial profiling--nor could we expect there to be agreement under the stress and emotion of the real-time detention. Given these circumstances, I propose one not-so-novel solution; and one solution not generally under discussion. First the not-so-novel solution: 1. Improve evidence gathering and storage through the use of recording devices: belt recorders, livescribe pens, body cameras (where available), vehicle cameras. Furthermore, a system to routinize the collection and preservation of this evidence needs to be designed, built and funded, so that all agencies/communities, regardless of fiscal resources, can be protected equally. Now, for the novel solution: 2. Engage in a three-part approach to dispute resolution and restoration: Part I: enlist experts (each community has candidates possessing skills or who can be trained) familiar with community visioning and team building to create dialogue and design systems to begin removing saddle burrs, extracting thorns, dislodging the wedges of discontent in communities. These issues include not just problems associated with what Muir calls the "Power of the Sword"--though coercive power is certainly the most visible police problem--but we must also pay particular attention to the "Power of the Purse", the under-investment in communities that sustains the need and existence of underground economies based upon contraband and vice, and, the "Power of the Word", that enables all sorts of verbal and political dirty dealings (rent-seeking behaviors) to mask inequities and impotent attempts to remedy the myriad of problems that lie at the root of any major community disgruntlement. We're foolish to think that, Ferguson, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. are experiencing unrest only because the cops are engaging in racial profiling. Dispute Resolution only works if we blast the problem with sunshine so that all problems are addressed on something resembling equal footing, whether these be problems of the sword, the word, or the purse. Part II: capacity must be built so that everyone has access to Dispute Resolution systems. This means that we need to find funding for system design and mediation centers that can resolve problems in real time--not the years civil and criminal courts often need to process cases (though courts are, of course, still needed for serious cases and as the appellate process for more informal programs of dispute resolution). We can't expect ADR to work if we don't design, implement, fund, evaluate, tweek, and perform expert analysis to improve theoretical understandings of what works and what doesn't. Part III: community leaders, including the cops, must be trained in Dispute System Design and Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques. It's not enough to find a vision and restore goodwill (Part I), nor develop a plan to capture the promise of good intentions as concrete goods to be shared by all (Part II), we must also teach people, encourage them, and provide time, public spaces, private meeting spaces, and other resources to actually embrace the concept of restoring their communities through dispute resolution.
It often comes down to the Institutions, those rules that set out who wins and who loses, by what standards. See Chester Barnard's main Leadership responsibilities: 1. Set the goal; 2. Set the values by which we will accomplish that/those goal(s). If we refuse to do this as our first priority, then who knows what behaviors the institutions will encourage?
Barnard, Chester, Functions of the Executive, Harvard University Press, 1938.
ust as Peter Drucker was "the father of management," Warren Bennis will be remembered as "the father of leadership." It was Warren who first said leadership is not a set of genetic characteristics, but rather the result of the lif...