In an op-ed piece appearing in the Tulsa World , Chief Chuck Jordan of the Tulsa (Okla.) Police Department shared his take on police officers' role in their communities:
Recently, the President's Commission on Policing in America released a paper that outlined many suggestions and policies for police departments across the nation to implement so that they can better be part of the communities that they serve.
The command staff of the Tulsa Police Department is certainly on board with the commission's recommendations and philosophy, and much of the way we do business is already in lockstep with the findings of the commission.
Since the release of the commission's paper, the Harvard Law Review published a commentary that delved into the so-called "warrior mentality" of modern police officers and suggested it be replaced with the "guardian mindset."
First, make no mistake, I subscribe wholeheartedly to the philosophy that police officers ought to view themselves as guardians of their community. I would expect no less of them. I also expect our officers to display the respect and cooperation with the community that the term guardian implies. I expect them to jealously watch over and protect their fellow Tulsans and indeed, be guardians.
What has been lost in this discussion of warriors and guardians is that our officers often are thrust into the role of warrior to fulfill their obligation as guardians.
We teach our officers to survive encounters using the minimum force necessary but the offender himself makes the choice of what response we must implement, and often that choice must be decided on and deployed with blinding speed and unerring efficiency. They must be warriors who at times both survive and protect our citizens.
Read the entire piece in the Tulsa World.
Chuck Jordan is the chief of the Tulsa Police Department.