Community Relations Or Lack Of Discipline?

Two images of police officers caught on camera at the recent Jamaica carnival are drawing diametrically and viscerally different opinion in the way they are perceived.

I have no desire to dive into this debate myself, large­ly because of the lev­el of ener­gy a debate of this type requires with arguably neg­li­gi­ble returns.
As is cus­tom­ary the pros and cons are balka­nized in their posi­tions which no amount of per­sua­sion is ever going to change.
It is on that note that I refuse to get involved, except to point out a few facts.

Senior Cop and rev­el­er.
(Image adapt­ed)

It’s one thing to be caught in a snap moment in time as Steve Brown The super­in­ten­dent is, but the actions of the con­sta­ble in that video cer­tain­ly rais­es more than eyebrows.
It raised my blood pressure.

Those who see noth­ing wrong with the imagery of these two offi­cers argue stri­dent­ly that the dire need for bet­ter police com­mu­ni­ty rela­tions vast­ly super­sede any per­ceived neg­a­tives any­one could point to in these imagery.
To bol­ster their argu­ments they point to police offi­cers in devel­oped coun­tries engag­ing in sim­i­lar conduct.
Where the lines are in that think­ing, are yet to be defined by supporters.
What they nev­er both­er to say is that, those devel­oped coun­try’s police depart­ments also have a prob­lem with their offi­cer’s actions when they occur.

NYPD cop daggering.

On the oth­er hand there are those opposed who say we can have good rela­tions with the pub­lic with­out engag­ing con­duct sim­i­lar to that of that constable .
In fact many say the uni­form of a police offi­cers is a sym­bol of respect ‚it should nev­er be degraded .
Engaging in behav­ior of this type they argue , dimin­ish­es the author­i­ty of the police and places every­one at risk when offi­cers lose focus from the task at hand.
All rea­son­able points , how­ev­er when we con­sid­er the crimes offi­cers have been accused of being engaged in, I won­der whether this is not mild in comparison.
It may rea­son­able be said how­ev­er that it is exact­ly actions of this type which has char­ac­ter­ized and pre­cip­i­tat­ed the decline in the qual­i­ty of our police ser­vice, not just in Jamaica but in larg­er coun­tries as well.

It’s hard to see a mea­sur­able pos­i­tive from these images , even as they seem to be becom­ing par for the course.

The actions of police are always scru­ti­nized, as such offi­cers have a duty to be as cir­cum­spect as is human­ly pos­si­ble at all times.
Younger offi­cers some­times get caught up in the moment of an event, and some­times have eye­brow rais­ing instances in their conduct.
Older more sea­soned offi­cers do not have such lux­u­ry , they know what is expect­ed of them and they have a duty to act accordingly.
They are sup­posed to have built-in reac­tions for all occur­rences with­out seem­ing cold uncar­ing or aloof.
The notion that these actions speak to lev­els of coöper­a­tion between police and pub­lic is hard to fath­om and may very well be tes­ta­ment to the lev­els to which the JCF has sunk.
Many cops remind me back in the day they were afraid to even smoke in their uniform.
Conversely my civil­ian friends are quick to remind me that cops in bars with assault weapons drink­ing alco­hol does not do it for them either.

Revelers will do what they do but offi­cers must main­tain a line of decorum..

Is it the end of the world that an offi­cer get caught up in the moment when a gyrat­ing rev­el­er gets way to close?
But the offi­cer is there to pro­tect the rev­el­er who may already have had too much to drink, or may have been to high on adren­a­line or some­thing else .
The offi­cer has to have an imag­i­nary line in his/​her head that he/​she does­n’t cross and does­n’t allow oth­ers to cross.
It’s not about being stiff and unfriend­ly , it is about being aware that as an offi­cer you have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to be on alert for the pro­tec­tion of all par­ty goers.
It is dif­fi­cult to argue you can be com­plete­ly alert while engag­ing in daggering.
The fact that it is hap­pen­ing all across dif­fer­ent police depart­ments in parts of the world does not mean it’s right.

Police in Boston Mass. react­ed immideate­ly bombs went off at the marathon.

Even when we argue that it is crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant to exploit all avenues which will fos­ter bet­ter com­mu­ni­ty police rela­tions, we still can­not lose sight of the fact that we are liv­ing in dan­ger­ous times. On that note offi­cers have to be cog­nizant that there are peo­ple will­ing to kill oth­er inno­cent human beings to vent their anger and dis­plea­sure at some per­ceived injustice..
Terrorists are always on the prowl for what are called soft targets .
Please do not say this does­n’t hap­pen here.
Crime and ter­ror hap­pen wher­ev­er oppor­tu­ni­ties are present.

Bombs went off killing inno­cent and unsus­pect­ing marathoners.

It is always up to the Police and oth­er first respon­ders to be vig­i­lant and aware , ever ready to leap into action.
It is not that easy to act to pre­vent mass loss of life and to arrest poten­tial killers if as an offi­cer you place your­self in a posi­tion in which you become a vic­tim as well.
If we set aside the pros and cons of the optics and con­tem­plate only the fun­da­men­tals of what is like­ly to hap­pen in cir­cum­stances like these, it’s prob­a­bly a lot eas­i­er to know what side to come down on.