Friday, October 06, 2006

Gary Goes to the Citizens Police Academy – S.05

What makes a police officer a professional? What better way to show us what a true professional is then to show us by example what a professional is not?
This fifth session of the Citizens Police Academy dealt with emotional disturbed people. After an almost hour-long introduction to emotionally disturbed people we went into a role play with an emotionally disturbed person, using four hearty, (or foolish depending on your perspective), classmates of mine as police officers.
In the role play two fellow classmates, as officers, were summoned to a studio apartment. They were clearly had been handed the ball, but were uncertain which way to run with it. Hence, they readily called for backups, which were two more classmates. One of the back-ups attempted to step into the power vacuum. Unfortunately, by doing so she clearly rankled one of her fellow officers (i.e., classmates). Had the instructor not intervened, it might have become a royal rumble with the emotionally disturbed person and his sister arguing, and the four officers arguing among themselves.
So, what makes a police officer a professional?
I think it is not only the ability to work as part of a team, but also to know what your job is, and how to do that job. Though I would like to think my people skills in the role play would have been better than my classmates, I think I would have been just as lost as my classmates were about the job to do, and the resources to do the job. A professional would have not been lost and performed their job seamlessly, to the untrained eye.
If the goal of the Citizens Police Academy is for citizens to have clearer understanding of the police department, this last session was definitely one giant step toward that light.
Next week, Lieutenant Donnelly, Mr. Self-Proclaimed NYC King of Kicking Doors Down.
You guessed it; I am already there!

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