Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


By Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D. Traditional Realist

Police have the important function of enforcing the law to keep the peace. They have been given immense power by the community to protect everyone from people who do not respect the rights of others. The police uniform should be a warning to anyone approached by the officer to follow his commands or things could get out-of-control.

It is dangerous for a cop to confront people they do not know. Every officer is vulnerable to unpredictable actions of strangers in our transient communities. There is rarely a relationship to build upon to make a friendly contact with the suspect regardless of the “sensitivity training” he completed.

Most of us never find ourselves feeling warm and fuzzy when a police officer questions us about our behavior. The police normally are straightforward and formal in their mannerisms for their own protection. Nearly everyone, regardless of their race or ethnic background, who is confronted by the police, feels the process violates their dignity.  No one: white, black or Asian, is happy to be pulled over by a flashing police car in the rear view mirror.  Most of us are anxious anytime we are questioned by a policeman. A few individuals become extremely belligerent and usually cause themselves greater problems than they would have had.

Police officers should not play the role of the social worker when approaching someone who might be breaking the law. There is no way he can know how the person on the street or in a car he is stopping might react. The individual might have a weapon that could wound him or worse. Cops have to always be in control of the situation to minimize it from getting out of control or they may be seriously hurt.

Stress increases in an officer whenever the person he is addressing is powerfully built and does not comply with his instructions or commands. Often these circumstances trigger an adrenalin response. Any sign of backing down by the officer would encourage an aggressive offender to escalate his non-compliance.  Law officers have to walk a tight rope of appearing physically formidable while not being physically or verbally abusive. This is an extremely difficult and dangerous role to perform.  

In order to deescalate a potential incident the person approached should be respectful or he will start down a road that does not end well. When the officer sees deference in the person he is facing he feels more in control. Any sign of hostility by the individual increases the natural instinct to regain the upper hand.

Acting respectfully to authority figures has become uncommon. Too many families are comprised of single parents. Respect for male authority has practically vanished due to absentee fathers.  Modern parents avoid obedience training. Too many youngsters have a “chip on their shoulder” when they are approached by an adult.  This often leads to future difficulties.

Schools no longer require students to be respectful to each other, to staff and anyone else. Corporal punishment and consequences for outrageous behavior have for the most part been banished in public schools. Without reality training by the parents, especially by the father, young adults are reckless in their disrespectful behavior toward law officers.

It is the youngsters who need training in respect for authority figures rather than the authority figures needing special sensitivity training to deal with punks or each of the special interest groups. Our nation is built on the rule of law not on the media’s self-righteousness or sensitivity training for criminal behavior.

It is foolish for our culture to place the onus on law enforcement to be “sensitive” to the feelings of: LGBT, ethnic groups, illegals, blacks or feminists. The law should be enforced in the same manner for all. Everyone should follow an officer’s instructions regardless of the group to which they belong.

If officers had to shift their approach when dealing with a criminal because of a minority designation their normal response time would be inhibited. This would greatly hinder their ability to do the job of protecting citizens. The reaction time of the officer would become a problem endangering everyone. The officer should not have to be concerned about winning the trust of the civilians who should automatically comply with his commands.

Police officers are people. Some can be jerks abusing their power and should be weeded out. It is up to each citizen to go up the legal ladder when they have been wronged. Any person who feels he has been mistreated by the police for any reason should take his complaint to a superior in law enforcement or the judicial system to address the alleged issues.

Policemen have an essential function to perform which is to enforce the law creating a secure and safe society. Let us grow up and accept the power of law enforcement by fully complying with them instead of inappropriately resisting them.  This behavior would decrease the danger for both the suspect and the officer.


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