What Police Can Teach Us
Original post made by David Taylor on Sep 25, 2007
'It's more hands-on than psychological,' said Police Agent Donna Arndt, one of the two officers who will facilitate the 13-week class for parents."
--"Palo Alto police to begin parenting program", 10 Sep. 2007, Palo Alto Online
According to FBI statistics, the most common known cause of murder are arguments (400% more frequent than juvenile gang murders). So if we are going to have programs where police teach skills to deal with problems that can lead to crime, then society would achieve the greatest value from a program of police teaching conflict resolution skills. That is, police should be teaching people how to resolve their differences without resorting to force. After all, when you think of peaceful resolution of conflicts, who comes to mind? Certainly not counselors or mediators. Right - Mahatma Ghandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the police.
Alcohol plays a significant role in arguments that lead to brawls and murders. So it would also make sense for police to teach skills to prevent alcohol use or abuse. After all, when you want a group free of alcohol-related problems, who you gonna call - Alcoholics Anonymous? Of course not! Right - the police. Oh - wait. According to a 1999 FBI report: "Estimates show that alcohol abuse among police officers in the United States is approximately double that of the general population". But we all know you can't believe the FBI - they're just a bunch of cop-haters with an anti-police agenda.
Domestic violence always ranks high in the crime charts. So let's have more police teaching us the skills needed for a harmonious household. After all, you never read about domestic violence by police, right? Oh - wait. The National Center For Women and Policing, founded by the first woman chief of a major U.S. city, reports that three studies indicate that domestic violence is 2-4 times more common among police families than American families in general.
We could also learn from police by applying their tactics in other areas. For instance, we could approach the domestic violence problem as we do with gang violence: let's have police sweep streets and houses, busting anyone with known (or suspected) marriage ties, or sporting marriage insignia ( aka "wedding rings"). Surely it's the next big cash cow for federal grant funds. Or, since police statistics indicate that family violence (including spouse abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, or violence against any family member) comprises nearly 33% of all police-recorded violence (dwarfing incidents of gang violence), let's broaden our vision to a war on family terrorism and reel in family violence at the source, in the hot hangouts of "familysters": let's swoop down on the Chuck E. Cheeses, to root out anyone with known (or suspected) ties to a family.
Clearly police are uniquely positioned to provide innovative and effective strategies for dealing with our social problems, and therefore should be entrusted with teaching those strategies to the rest of us. If we are to remain a civilized free society, not a police state, then our only recourse is to get police to tell us how to live every aspect of our lives.
on Sep 25, 2007 at 9:04 am
I am not sure if I agree with you wholeheartedly on this one. Yes, I can see that there are times when the police can show us and in fact teach the legal end of this question. However, I am not sure if I want to be taught social skills by the police. I have nothing against the police as individuals, but since they primarily are to be looked on as police, not teachers or moral leaders, or guidance counsellors or mentors or so on, then I would be concerned about asking them to help advise me in a particularly difficult hypothetical situation. How can I be sure that if I said I was worried that my child was taking drugs, as an example, that they would not give me some advice, but put my child on a "possible watch list" which he was only there for because of what I had said.
I do not like the idea of a police state. I am concerned that this idea could be taken to the level of giving the police a ready made list of who to look out for. If I have problems with my teens, I would much rather go to a professional, secular or religious, or anything else rather than the police.
on Sep 25, 2007 at 10:48 am
Ha ha ha Parent !
I am not sure I read the original post by David the same way as you did. Reading his post, I detect a tongue-in-cheek sarcasm that I find quite funny. As a matter of fact, I believe David finds that it is NOT a good idea to have police do the type of "counseling" mentined in the article. So in the end, it seems you two agree.
Add me to the group of people who are not at all enthusiastic about the idea of police taking over the role of "counselors".
on Sep 25, 2007 at 12:24 pm
OK I admit I skimmed the post. There was another thread a week ago that seemed to think this was a good idea and I was sceptic then and still am. Therefore, I acted too quickly. My apologies to the original poster.