Being the Steel Drummer by Liz Bradbury

Being the Steel Drummer by Liz Bradbury

Author:Liz Bradbury [Bradbury, Liz]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Amazon: B0086XF63Y
Publisher: Boudica Publishing Inc.
Published: 2012-05-27T00:00:00+00:00

Chapter 14

“Maggie says she found this guy Sidney Kibbey selling junk at a flea market...” Sergeants Marc Freligh and Ed O’Brien were briefing their team and I was invited to put in my two cents.

I sighed inwardly at so many shaved heads. Fenchester Police Department was still following a paramilitary model. The paramilitary model hires officers based on rigid physical fitness requirements most easily achieved by large-sized males. Women applicants can score 100% on the written test, have a black belt in Karate, an IQ higher than Steven Hawking, be able to run fast enough to win Olympic Gold, and have x-ray vision, but if they can’t jump sixteen and a half inches from a standing position, they fail the entrance exam to the academy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I fully support the Fenchester Police, and I know a dozen officers, including both O’Brien and Freligh, who are as smart and wily as any star on a fictional cop show. But the two big problems with the paramilitary police model is that it doesn’t recognize that a diverse group of people with unique skills and attributes is a better team at complex problem solving than a group of people where everyone thinks, looks, and is even sized the same.

In ten years on the force, I never had to jump sixteen and a half inches from a standing position, but twice during a pursuit I squeezed through a tiny window to nab a suspect, leaving the rest of the bulkier police team behind. One time, when the rest of the squad was readying a battering ram, my smaller hand was able to reach through a mail slot and unlock a steel door, ending a hostage situation without anyone getting hurt.

The second reason the paramilitary model isn’t appropriate is that it doesn’t necessarily fill the police ranks with people who are the most likely to understand how to deter or solve crime. An applicant with a Ph.D. in criminal psych gets no more consideration than an applicant with nothing more than a lackluster high school education. Not saying that high school grads can’t figure things out, but they haven’t studied how to gather information from diverse sources. In my police experience, when it came to a complex case, uninformed preliminary conclusions were the biggest deterrent to solving it.

Cutting crime in a small city isn’t like fighting a war. The two most likely reasons for violent death in a small city are gangs, or domestic violence in families. Fighting most crime has a lot to do with working on stopping it before it happens. Calming community tension, getting the confidence of citizens so they’ll alert police to problems, getting young people to avoid gangs, figuring out how to stop gangs from forming altogether, gathering the best information in the fastest way, setting up programs to curb domestic violence, communicating with diverse cultures are not things that soldiers are trained to do. What’s needed for police in small cities is a social work model.

You never see a team of young social workers who all just recently shaved their heads.


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