02 February, 2011

Community Policing

After a pleasant drive along 580 in rush-hour traffic, I exited at Lakeshore to find a police car making weird movements in traffic. Stopping behind the cruiser, I noticed the officer seemed to be talking on a cell phone while driving. Now, back in the days of the Wild West, I used to talk on my cell phone in one hand, and drive with the other. Now, it is illegal in the Sunshine State.

So, where am I going with this post? I mean, really! I haven't posted since before snow was a novel thought to our fellow citizens to the East. I have the ridiculous expectation that police officers follow the law, and do their job. Wow! That was very inflammatory!

Ok, I should explain because this is a very radical thought. This officer is breaking the law. I know. You might think the law is stupid, but they should at least follow the law when they are working! Is it really that hard to set an example? Was that Ron Dellums on the line? Even I'd take that call so I could trace it and find out where he's been hiding! Maybe it was Anthony Batts with a good tip on résumé writing.

Here is my other point; this officer is not policing. If the officer is on the phone and driving, attention cannot be sufficiently paid to surroundings. That's why police drive around. To pay attention and be visible. If they are talking on the phone and driving, what are the chances they'll notice someone in need of help or a crime being committed?

Ok, I get it. If a team of bank-robbers crashed through the intersection in the Wienermobile, guns blazing, with a kidnapped giraffe on the roof, it might be noticed. However, policing is about nuances more than it is about responding to the big events. Maybe it's time the officers in Oakland beat the streets more with their feet, than 1.7 tons of steel and glass. Try to develop relationships with the community instead of swoop in with eight cylinders of fury and clouds of acrid, screaming rubber.

I like cops in the community. I like seeing them in public; with the public. I also like it when they act as police officers; not above the law, but working with the community for the interests of the community.

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