FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).
December 2018 (2)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (3)
August 2018 (6)
July 2018 (4)
June 2018 (3)
April 2018 (1)
March 2018 (2)
January 2018 (1)
September 2017 (1)
August 2017 (1)
May 2017 (1)
April 2017 (1)
January 2017 (1)
November 2016 (1)
September 2016 (1)
June 2016 (2)
May 2016 (3)
April 2016 (2)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (3)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (5)
October 2015 (1)
September 2015 (3)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (9)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (2)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
May 2014 (2)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
January 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (3)
September 2013 (5)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (3)
December 2012 (5)
November 2012 (2)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (6)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (5)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (3)
August 2011 (2)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (3)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (3)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
March 2010 (3)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
December 2009 (4)
November 2009 (4)
October 2009 (2)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (5)
June 2009 (3)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (2)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (3)
October 2008 (3)
September 2008 (3)
August 2008 (2)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (3)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (5)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (4)
August 2007 (5)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (5)

Treat People With Respect

A tale of a dismissed police explorer is a reminder that respect is earned, not given.

June 28, 2012  |  by - Also by this author

When Craig Boyette showed up at the annual LASD retiree meet-up, it was as its newest member: His retirement from the department had become official the day before festivities began.

Over the next couple days he had come to reacquaint himself with some old friends, and meet some new ones. But there were couple of other things that happened upon the former lieutenant's radar as well.

One was a gentlemen who went out of his way to greet Craig and expressed a seeming degree of familiarity with him, smiling warmly and asking him how he was doing. Craig regarded the man for a second, then asked him if he really knew who Craig was. The man said of course; he recognized him as they had crossed paths at some point throughout the department's history.

Craig conceded the point, for he readily recognized the man. But Craig could could go one further, and provide some actual context for the nature of their association. And so he laid out a story for the man.

The tale began in 1974, when a recent graduate from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Departments' explorer academy had found himself standing in the watch sergeant's office of the East Los Angeles sheriff's station. The watch sargent flagged down a passing deputy and had him step in from the hallway.

"This is our newest explorer," the sergeant said. "You're going to take him on a ride along today."

"Give him to someone else," he said contemptuously of the young man who he'd barely glanced at. "I don't have explorers ride with me."

The deputy then walked out the office without another word, leaving the dumbstruck and impressionable explorer behind him.

As the years passed and the explorer got hired by the department as deputy sheriff, the men's paths would re-cross with one another. Each time, it was the deputy's brusque manner that registered with the former explorer and took him back to that first day at the East Los Angeles station. But the men remained in elliptical orbits of one another, never really getting to know one another throughout their entire careers.

When Craig told the man that the dismissive deputy in the story had been him, the man was visibly taken aback and politely excused himself.

The next day, the man again approached Craig at the table where he and his wife were sitting. He asked if he could join them.

Craig welcomed him, at which point the man opened up to him. He said their conversation from the day before had really bothered him. Craig's words had given him quite a bit to think about over the course of the intervening hours and he really wanted to make right by Craig even if he didn't remember the incident. Not once did he question the story's veracity.

The man's inability to doubt Craig's recollection of the events is perhaps testimonial to the man's knowledge of a general attitude he'd once embodied. But his current sincerity was not lost on Craig, and whatever resentment or hurt that he had been feeling towards the man dissolved and no more was said about the matter. The men parted on good company.

I was glad to hear the story for multiple reasons. At a very selfish level, it was because I could relate to what Craig had been feeling all those years. It is in my nature to internalize slights, particularly as I have almost always found them to be needless affronts. And my sensitivity on the matter is such that I could gratefully receive 100 letters of commendations and awards and various nods of approvals—not a one will resonate with me so much as that snide or cutting remark made by some jerk.

For it is this latter sentiment that I will latch onto with the tenacity of the pitbull's 2,000 pounds PSI bite so as to be found swinging around its tethered links for weeks thereafter. Even the gentle reminder of "consider the source" does little to balm the pain and is testimonial to my thin-skinned nature and horribly skewed priorities.

But if there is a saving grace to my posture, it is that I rarely get kicked in the teeth twice.

That Craig, 38 years on, still remembered this incident reminds me that I am not alone. Nor do I think that ours are particularly novel experiences. I believe that the greater part of humanity is a constituency of walking wounded that internalized all manner of needless hurts and slights throughout the courses of their lives.

There is nothing either wrong or weak in treating people with kindness and respect. There is always recourse for those who misinterpret the overture as weakness.

Unfortunately, there have always been those who cannot deign themselves capable of such acts, particularly as they relate to subordinates. My experiences with them is the reason I refrained from attending either Craig's retirement or the round-up. I don't want to see these particular irritants again.

Now, people can accuse me of getting my panties in a bunch and perhaps that's the case. I am, however, left to wonder what Craig's acquaintance might have thought if he'd given the young explorer more of a glance back on that day. If actually looking at that young man's face might have caused him to register its likeness with some sense of context. How might he have felt about his conduct some time later when Craig would double back into a house in a bid to rescue Jack Miller who'd been shot seconds before? Might Craig's heroism have made him regret his dismissive attitude?

I don't know. But based upon the remorse he expressed to Craig at the round-up, I suspect so.

For my part, I try to limit my hypocrisies and pieties. My penchant for being a mercurial prima donna is well established. But if there was a saving grace to my overly sensitive nature it was that I tried to treat everyone with good natured respect. I never shied away from having citizen volunteers or explorers ride with me and I like to think that most had a good time with me. Several have gone on to become deputy sheriff's themselves.

I like to think that if I ever should attend a round-up, I will not have some former explorer reminding me of the time I treated him badly.

I hope that you will have that same peace of mind.

Comments (10)

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10

Walt Kaiser @ 6/28/2012 4:54 PM

I worked for 30 years in Law Enforcement, the BEST advice I ever received was from Sgt, Ralph Person, Mountain Vie PD, that was "always treat people the way you'd want to be treated if you were in their shoes". This advice has served me well, both personally and professionally.

blair smyth captain do @ 6/28/2012 5:14 PM

When I went to Jail I will always remember my MOthers advice

They are jsut men who made bad choices and mistakes and maybe you can help them to relearn life

I followed that advice for 22 1/2 years Did me well

FireCop @ 6/29/2012 4:21 AM

My motto has always been to treat everyone with respect until they prove they do not deserve it. Every man regardless of where he came from puts his pants on one leg at a time, and when cut bleeds red blood. I didn't get in this business to be pre-judgemental internally or externally. Good article. Be safe.

Capt David-retired LA Cou @ 6/29/2012 9:05 AM

Yes, nothing worng with ' yes sir'...Courtesy, even to an idiot may keep the situation from exploding.

Leonard J Wolons @ 7/1/2012 9:44 AM

I have been on the job 30+ years, I had the pleasure of coordinating my Dept.'s Exployer programe some 15 years ago. to this day I have officers from local Departments (that I do not recognize) approach me and tell me how much they learned doing ride alongs with me. I have also meet a County prosecuter who was one of my explorer's tell me he knew he didn't want to be a police Officer and a T/S wear I fought with an arrestee.

DaveSAM25G @ 7/4/2012 7:55 PM

Well Done solid advice! Use the same lesson you learned coming up and how people would talk at you not to you! You didn't like it don't expect other to either (The Golden Rule).

Jack Betz @ 7/8/2012 11:36 AM

Please and thank you sir or madam. No charge.

Police uniform shirt in my day 22.50

DO the math people.

Nimrod #1 @ 7/8/2012 9:30 PM

"I like to think that if I ever should attend a round-up, I will not have some former explorer reminding me of the time I treated him badly."

You will have a former explorer, however, thank you for all the ride-alongs and solid advice that came along with it...and all the unfortunate times you locked the radio car windows while deploying 'gas'.

ALL those times. Yeah...thanks for that. (lol)


Dean Scoville @ 7/9/2012 11:59 AM

I will never acknowledge having any idea of what you write. Or the legacies of fine dining establishments once frequented.

Ima Leprechaun @ 9/14/2012 3:58 AM

Respect and dignity is all anybody wants but it rarely comes from Police. When someone is smart enough to use respect and dignity it comes back to them in so many positive ways but few cops are smart enough to understand this.

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Politics Trumping Tactics: [Don't] Sit Down… You're Rocking the Boat
Elected officials have one underlying goal that informs and influences all their other...
Foot and Hoof Patrol: Meaningfully Connecting Cops and Citizens
Foot patrol is the essence of community policing—officers on foot create opportunities for...

Police Magazine