Principle number 7 in Sir Robert Peele’s Policing Principles, who is known as the father of modern policing, states to maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public is the police. The police are members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
He wrote 9 principles of policing in 1829 when he was with the London Metropolitan Police. His principles are still used today. Several police departments across the United States have adopted those principles as their core beliefs/mission statement. Here is the link.
In this day of social media, constant bombardment of news, political agendas, and certain groups, it makes it nearly impossible to have a productive conversation with any police department. Usually, it is met with hostility and us vs. them mentality. This kind of mentality is a detriment to the common good of the community.
How can we get to this principle of the police are the public and the public are the police? One of the biggest steps is community engagement. To address the root causes of issues both the public and the police must work together. The conversations have to be both constructive and not demeaning. Us vs. them mentality has no place in policing a free society.
Technology has already assisted law enforcement to engage with the public. Police Facebook pages, Instagram, Snapchat, and various other social media platforms have enabled the police to engage with their communities. Residents of the respective communities can speak directly with the command staff with social media. Police departments have become more accessible and transparent as a result. Citizens have posted law enforcement officers buy meals for homeless people, assist a motorist with changing a tire and hundreds of other positive interactions with the police.
The flip side of this is the not so pleasant videos or posts. Some of these videos that we see are truly disturbing to all officers who wear the badge but also many of those videos do not give the full story. I have been recorded in the past, not because I was acting out of character or being a complete asshole. I was being taped in an attempt to get a rise out of me. I was taped so the person who was taping me can get me in an “aha” moment to show my negative reaction to whatever situation I am put in. Many other colleagues of mine have also been subject to the same treatment.
The public is the police and the police are the public. Both have to work together to keep their respective communities safe. Both can’t have us vs. them approach. There needs to be an open dialogue between the police and the public. How are we supposed to work together if the mentality of us vs them is out there? How are we supposed to have open dialogue and transparency when certain groups are out there to destroy what we, as a nation, have?
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on July 13, 2020.
Ayman is an Army Veteran who was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and became a police officer in 2007 after 8 years of military service. He has worked in the patrol division, in a plainclothes anti-crime unit, as a Metro-SWAT operator, and as a detective in a major crimes unit, as a narcotics task force detective with the DEA, and as an operator with the DEA Special Response Team (SRT). He also helped organize SRT operations in Southern New England.
As an assistant team leader, he assisted and coordinated the planning of operations as well as conducted various aspects of training. He has investigated high-level drug traffickers, gang members, and conducted numerous operations. He is currently the Officer in Charge of the Problem-Oriented Policing Unit. Ayman is a law enforcement firearms instructor, a less-than-lethal weapons instructor, a certified use of force instructor at his police department Ayman’s hands-on experience with law enforcement operations at many different levels coupled with his compassion to save lives has brought him to coordinate “Project Sapient.”
This initiative is a joint effort comprised of law enforcement professionals of all levels combined with the Special Forces philosophy of winning hearts and minds. Ayman has found that to reach more officers and departments, it is important to share his experience with media outlets that reach law enforcement.
He regularly contributes to The Havok Journal, writing articles that provide insight into current law enforcement trends and methodologies to help officers become better equipped to handle an ever-changing work environment.
Project Sapient is currently a Podcast. Ayman’s vision of Project Sapient is to eventually train other law enforcement officers and civilians alike in stress inoculation. Something that is sorely needed in the Law Enforcement profession. In his writing, Ayman draws from his hands-on experience as both a law enforcement professional and his military service.
For years, Ayman has seen the trend in lack of training policing. Whether it’s budget cuts, political enemies, or ineffective policy, Ayman has made it his mission to bring innovation, unconventional policing methods, and to have those tough conversations and instruction to assist law enforcement to better relate with and advise communities.
He sees firsthand the need for better training and tools for law enforcement to serve their communities most effectively. A better-trained officer is what policing a free society requires.