People think they understand police work—they sincerely do, and I’m glad some try. However, cops know that people don’t understand police work—they sincerely don’t. I don’t know of another profession where more people profess to know better how to do the job than those trained to do it.
Two elements are essential if a community truly wants better relations with its police:
1. Better public education about what police do—how and why.
2. Give cops the benefit of the doubt.
Unless you have done police work, not a ride-along or two for a few hours or even an entire shift but daily or nightly for an extended amount of time, you can never fully appreciate what society requires of its cops.
Even people who support cops sometimes fail to understand the work, and it’s reflected in their comments. For example, Fox News Channel anchor, Megyn Kelly, who I consider a major cop supporter, after viewing the video where McKinney, Texas police officer, David Eric Casebolt attempted to subdue a female teenager who was resisting his commands to obey, called his actions, “brutal.” Does she realize that most cops watching may have thought, at the most, that the officer was a bit, exuberant, but to call it brutal is an insult to those who have legitimately been brutalized. After all, this “brutality,” resulted in no injuries. It just looked bad—it always does and always will.
To be effective language should be accurate. This points out the problem the police have with educating the public. If a top-rated, intelligent and talented news anchor who generally supports the police can be swayed by how something “appears,” just imagine what cop-haters will do with such incidents.