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The Justice Academy: What You Should Know

The Justice Academy: What You Should Know

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The opinions provided in this blog are the views of the writer and not the views of any police department the writer is or has been previously affiliated with. 

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INTEGRITY

Posted on August 23, 2016 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Integrity, I have often used this word and have taken the definition as simply doing what is right when there is no one looking. Although I believe I have this grasp on the word integrity I have never really looked it up in the dictionary, until today. Integrity defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

 

1.   firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values :  incorruptibility An analysis: Firm adherence- strong standing , never wavering; To a code of especially moral or artistic values-The right thing in that particular situation. The dictionary also pairs integrity with incorruptibility, being very honest unable to be corrupt.

 

2.   an unimpaired condition :  soundness Analysis: Using a sound mind when making decisions

 

3.   the quality or state of being complete or undivided :  completeness Analysis: having all the necessary tools to arrive at a thought provoked decision, prepared, having no limitations

 

The job of a law enforcement officer is a very fluid job. Although there is training, it is impossible to train for every situation. It is in those situations that each law enforcement officer reach into their bag of tools and pull out INTEGRITY.

 

Times have changed in the world we live in. For those of us who have been on the job for 15 years or more there have been many changes and we must adapt to those changes. Two very significant changes that we must adapt to are technological changes and open/concealed carry laws.

 

Technology has been a thorn in the sides of some law enforcement, whether it is a new reporting writing system or the camera phone. We have to adapt. That definition of integrity that I used in the past is no longer relevant because there is always someone watching. Even if you don't believe there is you should always carry yourself and perform your duties as if there is someone watching. We live in a time now where there are cameras everywhere, people out making vacation videos, storefront surveillance cameras, even some cities have invested in surveillance cameras in public areas to deter crime. These cameras that had intentions other than to watch the actions of law enforcement have been the catalyst to bring the darkness of "policing" to the light. Those behaviors that were only shared between those within the "thin blue line" are now out for everyone to see.

 

Guns, guns, guns, guns, guns. I can remember watching western movies with my Father, everyone had a gun, even some of the ladies had guns. There would be gun fights in the bars, on the street. People were shot just for the way they looked at someone. Even though that was television, there is a direct correlation between the behavior then and the behavior now. The only thing different then compared to now is the size of the jails. The law enforcement branch, although led by a Sheriff or Marshall, had the authority to deputize a whole town if needed, so law enforcement always had manpower. Today almost as many people have guns as they have home computers. Because of the change in laws to allow open carry or concealed carry, depending on your state law, law enforcement cannot continue to use the same standards to address people. It has become far more dangerous because you "really" should assume everyone has a gun and has the opportunity and ability to use it. BUT does that mean your life is in jeopardy? I know the old OAJ is not politically or judicially correct today but it is still a valid question. Communication is the key. We have to talk to people. 

 

Now there is a decision to make do you continue to believe nobody is looking and act without integrity or do you do the right thing when you believe nobody is watching?

 

If you aren't sure what OAJ is get the book.

 

 

integrity. 2011. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved August 23, 2016, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity

 

Love Affair with the Criminal Justice System

Posted on August 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I was reading an article by Feyishola Apena that talked about how status is related to minority juvenile males criminality. The survey was not a surprise but a confirmation of the impact that social status has on youth. You would think a child is too young to think about social status but they aren't. Your status is measured by everything you do from your clothes to how you travel getting from place to place. Those material things that mean so much to some. My parent's would refer to this as "keeping up with the Joneses". Now I never met the Joneses in person but they had it all. They were rich beyond my imagination, because every time I asked why we didn't have something it was stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.

 

According to the article, it is important to strive for a positive identity in society; however a minority juvenile has a difficult time attaining this positive identity because of a sense of an inferior position they may generally hold in society, compared to the majority (Apena, 2007). Acquiring material things that might, on the outside create a positive identity, an image that says "I belong" becomes a goal that will be attained by any means necessary. In essesence "Keeping up with the Joneses" no matter how it happens. 

 

"Keeping up with the Joneses" is exactly what gets some juveniles in trouble with the law. They witness an introduction to the criminal justice system, a partner that can latch on and never let go. Think of the criminal justice system as that ex that won't stop calling, won't stop driving by, they just hang around, they want to be everywhere you are, a nuisance. For some there is a strange love affair with the criminal justice system. As an adult you can tell a young person, (I say young person because they are not always kids), the right thing to do, the consequences of doing the wrong thing and they just don't get it. The advice is dismissed, ignored put in a drawer for later. This failure and generally a smart mouth usually brings that ex running, that good old criminal justice system comes running to meet you.

 

The need to belong, need to wear the freshest clothes, the latest shoes , a phone with the newest technology and drive a high dollar car. The need to have these things without the means to attain them brings that justice system knocking. The pressure one feels to have those things RIGHT NOW leaves them with one alternative, TAKE IT. So they rob and steal for it, but wait there is someone who is unwilling to just let their stuff go, so you then have to fight for it. They are losing the fight so they shoot the property owner and now they are a thief, robber, assaulter and a murderer. All because they wanted the freshest clothes, the latest shoes, a phone with the newest technology or to drive a high dollar car. As a parent you will have no idea of this need, they probably won't ask you because they already know either you can't afford to give it to them or you won't allow them to have it. So they get it how they can because they WANT IT NOW and they BELIEVE they are ENTITLED to it.

 

Parents hold your children accountable at home, teach them consequences for their actions and allow them to fail when they are young so they can work harder, attain their goal and KNOW what it is to SUCCEED.

 

More importantly they will not begin a love affair with the criminal justice system!

 

A Letter to Both Sides

Posted on August 16, 2016 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

To my fellow citizens and those who aspire to be citizens of this wonderful country. Yes Black lives do matter and SHOULD matter to all not because of the color of our skin but because we are human and in the eyes of God, equal! We are all human and there should be a mutual respect for all regardless of differences of opinion. Black lives matter no matter who is responsible for taking that life. To only protest and show disgust when a life is taken by a member of law enforcement and ignore all the other lives lost due to insignificant reasons is a tragedy in itself. We have to learn to communicate with each other a little better and show a mutual respect for all, in addition to learning to not sweat the little things. So what, that you don't like the shoes I wear, the person I date, the job I have, how I looked at you, LET IT GO!

All lives have to matter! We should not view all police officers or every police/citizen encounter in the same light. Each incident should be analyzed on it's own merit. The police are necessary to maintain order and enforce the laws of the land. There are flaws that can be addressed by community calm, collective and organized community involvement. Those laws ELECTED officials drafted and voted for. We should not judge an entire law enforcement community by the actions of a few. There are great officers serving the citizens of our communities. Understanding the job these officers do, being able to understand what is expected, being able to communicate effectively and listening is paramount in a citizen police interaction.


To my fellow law enforcement personnel. We took an oath to protect and serve the public, the entire public, not just the ones we like or the ones we understand, but everyone. Let's put any biases away and continue to uphold the laws we vowed to uphold, with honesty, integrity and zeal. The country needs us whether they realize it or not. We have come to a difficult hurdle with public perception, with increased deliberate training in effective communication, an increased understanding of criminal procedure and best practices in addition to increased training in de-escalation tactics we can do our part in eliminating the gap in police citizen relations. Let's continue to work hard for the citizens, I mean isn't that why we got into this business? There are great citizens who comprise the communities we serve, don't judge entire communities based on the actions of a few. I have listened to “community leaders”, attended numerous forums and seen only blame. Let's agree there is a problem and move towards solutions.

This letter is not meant to call out, degrade, accuse or address any particular incident but simply on my heart to express it. Education knowledge and understanding is the key!


Written by B.L. Brown Author of The Justice Academy What You Should Know


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