Monday, assistant police chief Brian Jackson and I hosted a group of four visiting students from Zhejiang Police College, in Hangzhou, China. The students are spending a year studying abroad, with Sam Houston State University as their base in the United States.
They spent four hours touring police headquarters, discussing police work, and hearing about some of the things we are doing in Lincoln. I sensed they were particularly interested in the concept of problem-oriented policing, and in some of the things we're doing with information technology, such as CrimeView Dashboard and HunchLab.
The most fascinating part of the day for me was a discussion in the last hour, when the students were telling us about policing in their home province. Except for a high degree of specialization and a rather intense emphasis on criminal investigations, it all sounded quite familiar.
The fundamentals of policing--talking to people in all walks of life and all kinds of situations, empathizing with others, treating people the same way you would want to be treated, and so forth, are the same worldwide across all cultures. I also told them that they could probably start working as police officers in Lincoln tomorrow and do quite well. This was a very bright group of cadets with great language skills. They'd need to get used to some strange American idioms, though. How do you explain something like, "You can't squeeze blood from a turnip?"