Monday, November 10, 2014

The F word

Dr. Samuel Walker, one of the most well-known experts on civil liberties and criminal justice in the United States, taught at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for over 30 years. His tenure overlapped my college career, and although I am a graduate of his department, I never had him as a professor. I don't always agree with Dr. Walker's positions, but last week he published a short paper which is spot-on.

It concerns the F word, and more broadly profanity and disrespectful language in general. This has no place in police interactions with the public, and I agree completely with Dr. Walker that it should be eliminated from the vocabulary. Profanity in public interactions is prohibited by policy, and I've dealt with several officers and deputies over this as a supervisor. Nonetheless, I'm not sure it has completely sunken in to everyone how corrosive it is to respect for the police.

We live in a culture where F-bombs are not uncommon, even in otherwise polite conversation. When it comes from a police officer, however, it has an entirely different connotation. I'm not na├»ve, and I'm not unfamiliar the salty language one hears in a squad room, and pretty tolerant thereof--so long as it is not racist, sexist, or homophobic--but this is way different than slinging profanity on the street and to the public.

All police officers need to practice self-control, even when confronted with people who are spewing the most hateful and vile language imaginable in their face.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You live in such a perfect world.

Anonymous said...

I really want to comment on the first comment, but I would violate the intent of the "F" word post' so I'll distill it...start by setting an example...

12:20 said...

@10:51 Oh please! (There, I didn't use the F-word!)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you can blog on the topic of snow and ice removal in the city and how it has an impact on emergency services. When the Street Dept drops the ball your 4 minute window is affected, correct?