Friday, September 18, 2009

Police - Friend or Foe?

One of these days I am going to get to shake hands with the former chief of the Charleston (S.C.) Police Department. I have wanted to meet Reuben Greenberg for 15-20 years, even since I read an article about him in Reader's Digest (or it might have been Guideposts). As I recall the story, when he was a rookie cop, he got into an accident on the way to a call. It was his fault, so he wrote himself a ticket!

Imagine that!

When I was in South Carolina earlier this month, I bought his book - Let's Take Back Our Streets!

It's full of strange ideas, such as putting a stop to the cursing at citizens by police officers; requiring a written report every time an officer pointed his gun at a citizen; persuading the residents of Charleston that the police were their friends, not the enemy; going beyond the "call of duty" to help domestic violence victims.

If the police went to a house to arrest a wanted person and if property got broken in the house (let's say that the suspect was at his mother's house) or they had to break down the door to enter, the police went back and repaired the broken property and fixed the door. How's that for a novel idea? He didn't believe an innocent mother should suffer a financial loss, just because the cops had to arrest her son.

This book is a fast read and you can buy it for practically nothing on

It should be on the library shelf at every law enforcement agency. And not just on the library shelf, but also on the required reading list for every officer.

Or you can borrow it for a week from me. There is a $5.00 deposit. I'd like to require a book report, too (but I won't). If you don't return it, you own it. I won't chase you to return it; I'll just replace it.


Frank said...

Sounds like someone was smokin' somethin' when they wrote that book!

Frank said...

.......Only in a perfect world Gus!

Gus said...

Not really, Frank. It starts at the top.

When the guy at the top of the department says how it's going to be and enforces it from the get-go, things can change.

For example, we have right here in McHenry County times when deputies scream obscenities at citizens and draw their guns on people and then never include their words or actions in a report. Or maybe don't even write a report - until the report is requested from the outside.

And that is not a hypothetical situation.

whatmeworry? said...

Now all we need is someone to save us from all the paperwork and lawyers.

Another Lawyer said...

A police officer writing himself a ticket has the same impact that President Reagan had when he "took responsibility" for the loss of 200Marines in the barracks in Beruit.

It really sounds good, but what is it worth?

Gus said...

It's the principle. The officer demonstrated his integrity - a quality too lacking in some of today's law enforcement officers.