The irony of “mutual respect”

mutual respect

This is how the US is being seen around the world.

This article at IndiaTimes News, “This Picture Of A Woman Facing Cops At ‘Black Lives Matter’ Will Remind You Of Tianmen’s Tank Man Shot!” and this travel advisory warning from other nations to “Use ‘extreme caution’ around police” when visiting the US send shivers.

Mutual respect between police and the citizens they serve cannot thrive in a “them versus us” mindset. It’s not about control or barking orders; it is about upholding the laws. In a most unpredictable, dangerous profession, police officers, too, remain citizens in a civil society.

The President’s eloquence in a speech in Poland last week reinforced this, “I’d like all sides to listen to each other.” It’s not “them versus us.”

“Law enforcement agencies have responsibility for the outcome of encounters with citizens, and good policing involves the values upon which a department bases its operations.” – US. Department of Justice, 2003 report: “Principles of Good Policing: Avoiding Violence Between Police and Citizens.”

Are today’s police departments an “occupying force” or community members who have are protectors of rights and laws? Is the police officer, “The neighborhood patrol officer, backed by the police organization, helps community members mobilize support and resources to solve problems and enhance their quality of life,” as suggested by community policing initiatives?

To understand police, understand a bit about the history of policing in the US. Here’s a good starting point: The History of Policing in the United States.

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