Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gary Goes to the Citizens Police Academy – S.06

The overt intent of the Citizens Police Academy if for us, the community of NYC, to have a better idea of why the police do what they do, when they do it. In session 6 the very engaging Lieutenant Donnelly indeed, did give us the why, what, and when of police work.
At the conclusion of the session on the touchy subject (pun intended) of stop, question, and frisk, as people were beginning to shuffle out, Lieutenant Donnelly made a comment that in the clatter I am sure many people did not catch. By way of closure for the session Lieutenant Donnelly announced to the exiting throng, “I hope you are proud of us.”
In the context of Lieutenant Donnelly’s approach to the session his closing comment very much made sense. Several times during the session Lieutenant Donnelly talked about the criticism, “Is that what they teach you at the academy?” A criticism which reflects right back to Lieutenant Donnelly, and he was anxious to dispel. Also, in a moment of stark contrast to his usual levity Lieutenant Donnelly held up a Daily News about an officer being killed, weighted against a Daily News headline protesting some police misstep. Lieutenant Donnelly bridged the two headlines by not so subtly musing about why there was no protest over police officer’s deaths.
Am I proud of the NYPD? I would have to say “no.” I am glad that most of the officers I have met through training chose to be police officers. I am particularly impressed by those in leadership positions I have come in contact with. I have respect for the work the police do, and how, in most instances, they do their work well. Proud is somewhat narcissistic. Since I am not part of the NYPD, and no matter how well they do their job, I can never be part of the NYPD, I can never be proud of them. Pride also implies a warmth which is very difficult to have toward a group in the land of the free, who represent the limits to being free. Lieutenant Donnelly’s comment about being proud of the NYPD, sounded very close to a request to be liked. It seems the closest the police could come to being liked is to be understood and respected. Both these qualities are coming from me in doses with each new session.
I am looking forward to the next eye opening, and thought provoking class. Next week we will engage in domestic violence role plays.
Did I mention that I am already there?

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