Community Policing – How important is it? By: Larry Lawton

What is community policing? Community policing is when the police work with the community in a friendly open way to show the community they are human and want to help, not just arrest people. Community policing is the best way to fight crime. If the police have the community working with them, instead of against them, it makes for a great community with less crime.

On August 16, 2013, Larry Lawton became an honorary police officer for the city of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri.

Community policing affects all aspects of a city. Study after study shows good community policing reduces crime. With less crime people want to move to the city and that helps the tax base. Businesses are more apt to move their business to a place they know their employees will be treated right. People living in harmony is good for everyone.

Larry Lawton is available to police departments and organizations interested in community policing. CLICK HERE or call 321-327-2921 and speak with Larry on how to help your police department.

There are a percentage of people who will never like the police and there are a percentage of people who will always support the police. Let’s work on the middle percentage who can go either way. These are people who had bad experiences with law enforcement, but are good people.

Here’s two examples of people I know. My mother, here is an 80 year old woman who is the nicest, most law abiding citizen you will ever meet, but doesn’t trust the police. My mom was a nurse for over fifty years and had some bad experiences with police and patients. Mom respects them, but doesn’t trust them. My girlfriend who is a teacher, born in Iowa, a country girl, but had a few bad experiences with the police and she is now scared to even call them.

The two examples above are not uncommon. Here is why it is bad. My mother speaks to her friends while bowling, on the phone, etc., and my girlfriend speaks to everyone at work, at parties, etc. If people like my mom and girlfriend speak negative of the police, it becomes a snowball rolling down a hill effect.

Then you get a small percentage of police officers who get bitter and have a, I don’t care attitude. That is a recipe for disaster. The US against THEM mentality.

It’s all about leadership, training, spending dollars wisely. City leaders and chiefs of police need to think outside the box.

If the Trayvon Martin cases has taught us anything it is that the police need the community and community needs the police. Communications and better community policing would have went a long way in Sanford.

Here is community policing at its best….

While at the courthouse the other day, I was speaking with a few police officers outside a courtroom waiting on a case.  As we were talking an 89 year old lady walked by and started talking to us about getting a ticket for not having her handicap placard up. She was obviously confused and needed direction. Her handicap placard fell on the dashboard and she was wondering what to do.

It was quite obvious the lady was handicapped and she was a very nice lady.¬† The officer explained that the person who wrote the ticket probably didn’t see the placard. You can see that explaining to her how to fight the ticket was very difficult. While I was talking to the lady the officer went away for a second, made a phone call and came back and told the lady to head to the police station and they were going to expunge the ticket.

To see this ladies eyes light up and her grab the officer and say “You are a wonderful young man” she was so happy and thankful. That made me smile so much.

Yes, any judge would have dismissed the ticket but this officer made that lady a police supporter instead of a police hater. You could see her attitude change. It was all how he communicated with this lady.

Larry Lawton is available to police departments and organizations interested in community policing. CLICK HERE or call 321-327-2921 and speak with Larry on how to help your police department.

Here is community policing at its worst….

A resident in an upscale apartment complex calls the police after an off-duty police officer contracted by the complex bangs on her door due to a noise complaint that was falsely placed against her. She wouldn’t open the door because she didn’t know it was a police officer at the door, so she rightfully called 911 and asked for assistance.

Three uniformed police officers came and didn’t want to take the time to listen to the lady who called 911. The person who called the police felt intimidated to the point she was scared if she said anything else she would be arrested.

If the police officers understood community policing they would have made the woman who called them feel comfortable, secure and safe. Instead, they made a good person feel threatened, unsafe and never wanting to call the police again. It is sad because a great community policing opportunity was wasted.

Larry Lawton is the founder and president of Lawton911 and the Reality Check Program DVD. He is the author of Gangster Redemption and works with police departments and community policing around the country. For more information on how Lawton911 can help your police department, city or business, contact info@lawton911.com

On August 16, 2013, Larry Lawton was the first ever ex-con sworn-in as an honorary police officer for the city of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri.

Larry Lawton is available to police departments and organizations interested in community policing. CLICK HERE or call 321-327-2921 and speak with Larry on how to help your police department.