I heard an interesting discussion on the radio the other day that the problem with modern policing in the urban core today is not only the matter of Pretend Police replacing real officers, but also one of the police distrusting the general public by considering everyone a danger instead of innocent, ordinary, people.


If we extrapolate the argument that everyone is guilty in the eyes of
law enforcement, we begin to realize a serious disconnect between those
who are paid to protect and serve and the rest of us who are being
criminalized by default instead of being loved first.

Yes, I believe the police should love all citizens — just as I have
argued here in the past that all medical doctors must love their
patients and not be standoffish or cruel or disinterested — because to
not love us actually makes their jobs harder and less fulfilling.
It is easy to argue the police should hate the citizenry first and
never love us — but loving does not mean one is foolish or unprepared
or less vigilant.

Love is tough. Hate is soft.

Love must become a base reaction that lives in respect and, when freely
given, earns love and goodwill back into the community — and the urban
core craves admiration and honor but we don’t get there through
enemizing the general population.

What must it be like to walk a beat or ride in a patrol car and imagine
everyone “out there” is against you and breaking the law? That tiring
stance must quickly make one miserable and lonely and there is no escape into happiness or joy
in a job that is required to condemn civilians before criminality is
confirmed.
What do you think?
Are you treated fairly and kindly and with love by the police; or is
there an air of tension and mistrust when you interact with the police
under general circumstances?

Do you feel watched and threatened by the police as you walk in the
urban core?
It is proper for all police agencies to look at all of us with a
suspicious eye instead of a loving gaze?
Does a prejudicial scrutiny against us protect us — or are we in
placed in more mortal peril by a police force that fears us?
How can we be made safer in our homes if we are criminalized on the
street?

38 Comments

  1. David,
    The police here are pretty benign on the streets, especially in urban spaces. maybe it’s because firearms are heavily regulated in India?
    you make a good point about the need to train the police to look at the citizenry with kind eyes. and such training will have to survive a career of facing the cold, hard facts of everyday criminality and the savagery that the human heart is capable of.
    it can’t be healthy for a society to populate its streets with an armed police force that is mistrustful and prone to suspect without just cause. Is it just about the threat of terrorism or is it something else? i don’t suppose it’s always been like this.

  2. Hi Dananjay!
    Thanks for the excellent insight into policing in India. I am happy to hear you do not feel watched or threatened by those protecting you.
    I think loving first and hating second is the only way to try to live a cogent modern life. If we look askance at each other by default, then we get back what we’re looking for — if we can learn to turn around and be kind to each other first things might get better.
    The old “beat cop” who used to walk a neighborhood was the original effective form of community policing and we need a return to that calmer time. The policeman was your friend and your ally and he watched out for you as you watched out for him.
    Today, since 9/11, you feel the cold and steely eye of the panopticon watching every inch of your being. It’s quite a change from “you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you” to “I know you’re going to bother me so I’ll hit you first” feeling that permeates policing in the urban core.

  3. David!
    i couldn’t agree with you more. and one way to negate the hate is to peacefully walk away from those who may not see eye to eye with you. we can only hope that blessed with enough pain and suffering they will turn into better humans.

  4. Right on, Dananjay!
    The only problem with walking away from the police if you sense tension is that they may not let you get away clean. 😀
    I agree we need to begin by being kind to each other. That example will salvage us all.

  5. Hi Dananjay —
    I think you’re right we need methods to try to deal with the default suspicions. I would hope we wouldn’t need to get anyone in trouble to find a remedy though — but sometimes that strike back into reality is necessary.

  6. Hi Katha —
    Yes, I think the issue of open hostility is found more in the urban core than in rural or smaller communities. In smaller cities you have a bit more goodwill to share between the police and the civilians, but in the multi-ethnic urban cores where there is much more chance of a terrorist strike, law enforcement is much more on edge.

  7. How can we eliminate hatred when certain sectors of our society have known nothing but hatred and for whom hatred is the norm?
    How can you teach kindness to those that have only known unkindness ?
    Some of this hatred is new – but some of it has existed for generations. Likewise with kindness – there is a whole new generation of children out there who do not understand the meaning of the word – the poor, the black, the mentally and physically disabled and to some extent the elderly. And we have a new breed now, the obese, the smokers , the drinkers, the asthmatics and the diabetics .
    I would so love to hear your plans for stopping the hatred – and how you would implement them.

  8. Hiya Nicola!
    Hatred is part of the world.
    We can’t change that fact but we can change our own behavior in that world.
    If some of us are incapable of not hating for some genetic or physical or psychological reason we should accept that fact and deal with it — but those people should not be police officers.
    I’m just saying police officers should not have hate or suspicion be their first instinct when dealing with the everyday population and if they must hate because of culture or being or personality, they should be removed from any sort of protection process that includes value judgments where that hate would be tasted.

  9. «If we extrapolate the argument that everyone is guilty in the eyes of law enforcement, we begin to realize a serious disconnect between those who are paid to protect and serve and the rest of us who are being criminalized by default instead of being loved first.»
    You’re right, and that kind of approach from the police is simply incompatible with the “serve and protect” maxim. Who are they serving and protecting if the premiss stands that we are all guilty? It would be like they’re protecting themselves from us instead x) starting from the point where we are the danger and only then, do they separate the wheat from the chaff.
    However, we must allow that being in law enforcement is a very stressing profession. Look at the suicide rate among police officers! I read a very disturbing article revealing that psychological support for police agents is not only insufficient, but avoided: I was shocked to learn that police officers refuse to be examined (I don’t know if it is compulsory in other countries, but here it isn’t) for fear of losing credibility and ultimately their job. So there they go on to the streets, with a weapon and nerves on edge.
    Racial and ethnical factors weigh greatly on that general suspicion as well. Very regrettably, because that sort of prejudice feeds much hatred and only serves to unbalance even more the dynamic between police and citizens, in a world ever more global and with increasing mobility. It’s like we have two worlds in collision instead of cohesion.
    The police here in Portugal is, as far as I know, generally kind to citizens and more than willing to help even in the simplest things as giving directions. (Thankfully the institution has gradually freed itself from the prejudice and hatred people felt against them before the revolution of 25/04/1974. Up till then police was in the service of fascism and therefore had a very bad image.)
    What I do notice is some remaining conservativism in their regard to citizens that don’t conform to simple norms (not necessarily breaking the law), and this may be something as inocuous as simple indumentary: if one dresses more eccentrically the police gives you a funny look, may not treat you so considerately, and yes, they may even suspect you. Given that such a person isn’t doing anything suspicious, the criteria they use to single that person out as a potential criminal is forcefully an unjust one. So I think the police here is not necessarily suspicious, but is very judgemental of citizens. I think the police need to stop seeing difference as a threat, this is not the way of the modern world. And this should be part of their training.
    As for hatred, I can understand that in countries that suffered so much with the new post 9/11 terrorism suspicion still runs high. But allow me to disconstruct the idea that the police doesn’t cast a “loving gaze upon us” into rather the police’s will to protect us may be so urgent that in their over-zeal they end up doing harm. They may have protection in mind and not necessarily hatred. I’ll not say this is the rule, because Portugal is not the hustle and bustle of the USA East coast 🙂 but a totally different scene, and as you said (David) in smaller communities police probably takes it more kindly to citizens. (We are more directly affected by ETA, discovered to be operating in Portugal, than the Al-Qaeda, except perhaps if we host an event of international interest.) I just mean that in the USA of today it may be partly over-zeal mixed with paranoia, to some extent, that engenders that hostile environment of suspicion between police and citizens, rather that hatred indiscriminately targeted at citizens.

  10. By the way, and speaking of the police, did you know they have specific criteria on how to deal with an INTJ so as to determine whether they are just an INTJ or a psychopath, as they consider the two have numerous affinities in character? Do you fell offended by this reasoning? ( ” D)
    What do you make of this article?
    http://www.policeone.com/writers/columnists/DorothyMcCoy/articles/91372/
    I don’t know if I should post this here, as you already have a post about INTJs, but since we are addressing the issue of police and suspicion… x)

  11. Fabulous comment, iris! You make many excellent points and I appreciate your international take on this important matter.
    There is a great fear in police departments to seek out help for emotional or psychological reasons because we live in a lawsuit-happy country where any perceived weakness in someone will be exploited for fun and profit and so — to keep their guns and their jobs and their respect — cops keep it to themselves and try to work it out with each other and off-the-record.
    Going on-the-record with a psychological problem is the quickest path to getting your gun taken away and having desk duty as they remove you from the street to avoid liability.
    Policing is a vicious loop and a thankless job.

  12. Your link is great, iris, and certainly on topic.
    I do not like her argument or her advice and her list of INTJ traits indicates she has no idea who we really are and the fact that she is making such a rotten comparison is rather sad if it weren’t so maddening and seriously dangerous!

  13. Indeed, I didn’t identify much with that list either. She is obviously not one of us. INTJ have high moral standards, and that certainly doesn’t equal twisted morality, which is usually prerogative of the psychopath.
    Perhaps this is yet another example of the police’s over-zeal+paranoia? Along with misinformation. They fear difference.

  14. iris —
    Yes! Her list constructing us is certainly demonizing and, frankly, cruel. She does not comprehend us, so why does she attempt to even to try to define us in print where the default assumption of many on the internet is to take at face value is is published online?
    I think the point of her article is to be funny. She finds pleasure in pitting a personality type against a mismatched psychological evaluation.
    Are police officers supposed to make these kinds of psychological value judgments in the field?
    What is the point of her article?
    She should be helping officers learn how to deal with a variety of people instead of pitting people against each other for her pleasure.

  15. «the default assumption of many on the internet is to take at face value is is published online»
    Yes, you’re right. I didn’t think of that implication! She has a kind of social responsibility by publishing that article (especially on that site) and it slanders the INTJ to the ones that are unfamiliar with us.
    And I hope the police in the field don’t take these assumptions so implicitly when dealing with INTJs, that would be terribly simplistic not to mention potentially dangerous.

  16. Yes, iris, that’s it! She condemns us while she “educates” the rest of the police world to be against us.
    Her responsibility is to the truth, but reading her work and her writing style I don’t find her to be terribly convincing or terribly cogent in her argument but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have cause and effect on her side in the publication of her work being assumed as being as vital and correct by common readers.
    She does put us in danger and drives us away and into hiding. I have learned now, thanks to you and that rotten article, that if asked if I am INTJ by a police officer that I should be extremely cautious in choosing to answer that inquiry or not.

  17. That’s right x) I hope you’ll never have to!
    And I can’t help but think that, in al probability, if you tried to explain to the police that you were aware of their suspicion towards INTJ the faster they’d bust you, then and there! – Obviously instructed by such psychologists to expect the INTJ to be reasonable and argumentative… x)

  18. David just pointed me in the direction of this. I really must learn to go back and check the previous days posts.
    Her list of INTJ traits is disturbing ……….. and slanderous. It does not come anywhere near the accepted standard listings.
    I shall give a dumb look if asked and say pardon ?

  19. That’s an interesting question, Nicola! And actually a serious one because in the USA it is illegal to lie to a police officer.
    I guess I would choose to remain silent and not answer if asked — at least we still have that right… for now!
    I agree that article is awful. It should be removed because it damages people and gives the police really bad information.

  20. Maybe it would be good to put that link up in your INTJ post David, many people searching for INTJ info reach that post through search engines, and it’s good to let them know, particularly if they live in the USA.

  21. Ew!
    I hate that article, Iris! 😀 I really don’t like giving her wider purchase in the INTJ article or anywhere else here. I want her to be ignored and to go away instead of encouraging her hatred.
    That said, if you still feel getting her link out there is important, go post a comment on the article with the link and then I’ll comment on your comment and re-condemn the link.