Warrior or Social Worker: What Does the Public Want in Its Police Officers?
And profound gratitude during National Police Week
This morning, fellow Substack writer and law enforcement professional, Jeff Daukas, wrote a thoughtful piece that encapsulates the nobility, and necessity, of policing. In his article, Jeff references the philosopher Plato, who had this to say:
“It does not matter if the cobblers and the masons fail to do their jobs well, but if the Guardians fail, the democracy will crumble.”
Plato nailed it. Well-trained and -intentioned police officers have always been critical to our survival. Without them, we fail as a society. If you need evidence of this, consider how officer shortages have already impacted crime and our quality of life. Unless the trajectory changes soon, I fear this is but a preview.
When you come to realize the totality of what police officers do for us, articulating a sentiment befitting National Police Week is tough. How, after all, do you begin to thank the men and women who serve as our shields from chaos, and who protect our civil liberties?
Ideas for Thanking Police Officers
It’s not too late to extend gratitude to the men and women of law enforcement. If you still need ideas on how to honor police officers during National Police Week and every week, you might find these vetted suggestions helpful.
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Should Cops Be Crimefighters or Social Workers?
Policing has a complex history in the United States, one that’s had to constantly adapt to societal changes and historical events. The breakdown of the nuclear family, civil unrest, and historical events (like 9/11) have all played roles in how police officers perform their work.
Today’s cops are no longer just crimefighters and enforcers of the law. Their roles have expanded to include social worker, psychologist, medic, and babysitter. We put a lot on their shoulders . . . too much, if you ask me.
Add to that a relentless war on cops that’s put police departments on defense. And if a department is managed by a police chief who relents to every outside criticism, officers are left to flounder.
As a result, policing has seemingly become stagnant. It’s in an identity crisis of sorts. And I sense that even cops are not entirely certain what their roles should be.
It’s why I’d love to see thoughtful discussions about what we want policing to look like going forward.
I gravitate towards wanting officers who are more warrior (not the same as militant!) than social worker. This isn’t to say that the other public-facing components aren’t essential. The trust and relationships built by strong community policing initiatives (and their facilitation in crime prevention) can’t be replicated.
In fact, it’s because of the strong bond I was able to develop with Madison Police Department officers via community policing (spearheaded by retired Chief Mike Koval) that I became interested in advocating for police officers.
When I first started on this police advocacy journey in 2015, I had already respected cops and understood their role in a functioning, healthy society. It’s only through the relationships formed that I came to understand the complexities of the work - and to see the human beings behind the badge.
At the end of the day, however, police officers are tasked with upholding the U.S. Constitution, whether by keeping us safe from harm or protecting our civil liberties. That takes precedence, especially at a time when the threats facing our nation have increased.
I can live quite well without being lectured on social theories or engaging in niceties. What I absolutely require for my survival (and those of my loved ones) are fully-trained, well-intentioned officers who will be available in my time of need. Though we all want police officers who are friendly and respectful, those traits are secondary to their ability and willingness to keep us safe from harm.
What do you think policing will look like in the coming years? What do you want it to look like?
Free Online College Courses
While searching for refresher courses on the American Revolution and U.S. Constitution, I found a resource with Hillsdale College. They offer free, non-credit college-level courses in history, economics, literature, and chemistry.
If you love to learn, you might like these courses (Did I mention they’re free?). I’m about halfway through the chemistry course, initially thinking it would be easy given that I took chemistry in college for my bio degree. Instead, I’m being intellectually challenged . . . and humbled.
Please note that I have no affiliation with Hillsdale College and my site (and advocacy) is completely revenue-free. I’m sharing this with you because you’re a smart group and I think you’ll enjoy these courses. : )
Until the next edition. Please stay safe!
For the Blue is a solutions-based initiative. I’m just an American patriot asking questions. I don’t work with any political party and I answer to nobody. For me, the health of the nation, due process (including for police officers), the rule of law, and respect for individual liberties, will always transcend party affiliation. I welcome your thoughts, even if you disagree; though personal attacks will be ignored. You can reach me at email@example.com.
If you like what you just read, please consider sharing this post and subscribing to For the Blue. This site is revenue-free & my advocacy is performed on a volunteer basis.
Thank you for your kind words about what I wrote! Your article exposes the main issue in our society today. If people want social workers, and say it. If you want warriors, then say it.
Wait until you read my next week’s article about this…