Your Life Matters, by Jim Trick
Most of us want to wake up, engage a happy life, be kind, do an honest day’s work, love and be loved.
Let’s not lose sight of that.
In the spirit of “it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”, this post is my flame.
I am a white, middle class, life coach.
No, I don’t know what it’s like to be black.
No, I don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer.
Yes, I’m sure I am naive.
No, this post is not trying to be a comprehensive solution.
All that aside, here are a few action items that to me, make sense.
If you are in law enforcement:
1. Demand that your department provides further training based on scientifically proven and culturally sensitive data. How could stops be made with greater safety, respect and effectiveness?
2. If you witness fellow officers engaging in racist behavior call it out and report it. Yes this requires courage and while it may feel like the betrayal of a colleague it is actually your responsibility. This applies to any questionable behavior. We shake our fists at how the Catholic Church has historically dealt with pedophile priests. This is the same. If you witness racist or illegal activity from fellow officers (on or off duty) and don’t address it, you are part of the problem.
3. Departments, begin to use behavioral science and advanced technology to screen and assess an officer’s ability to serve. In the same way officers need to qualify annually at a firing range, develop an annual qualification for racial tolerance, mental stability and general decorum.
If you are a civilian getting pulled over do the following:
1. Turn off your engine.
2. Leave your lights on and turn on your hazards.
3. Turn on your interior light.
4. Roll down your window and the rear window
5. By the time the officer approaches, have your license and registration in your hand and have your hands on the steering wheel. Once you have handed over those items keep your hands on the wheel.
6. Allow the officer to speak and if he asks a question, answer honestly and respectfully. If you know you were speeding, blew through a stop sign or have a light out, own it.
7. If you are innocent, set up a court date. There is no reason to argue or be disrespectful. The officer saw it one way and you saw it another way and you are not going to change his mind.
Hashtags, rants and outrage are easy…
Now is the time for thoughtful, sound, effective action.
What will you turn your sadness into?
What role will you creatively and bravely fill to make this better?
Your life matters…