|Oddly, during the last three days of the survey, it seems as though the people with poor experiences weighed in heavily. Roughly 36% of all respondents reported having a good experience with members of the police department, while a surprising 54% indicated they have had a poor experience.
While I recognize the survey instrument was far from comprehensive or scientific, I am somewhat astounded by the number of people that indicated they have had a poor experience. Perhaps they merely received a citation and were unhappy that a warning was not given, or they weren’t happy with the way a call for service was dealt with. It could be that they simply had a poor enough interaction to complete an anonymous survey, but not poor enough to seek out Chief Finn or I. Regardless of the reason, we intentionally make ourselves available to hear about our officers’ performance, both good and bad. We enjoy nothing more than hearing from citizens that report outstanding performance and we truly appreciate those that take the time out of their schedule to report conduct that did not meet their expectations. Not only do Chief Finn and I make ourselves available during the normal work week, but we have meetings in the evenings and on weekends if need be. We also meet the third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Starbucks with anyone that would like to stop by.
I am writing this on May 15, 2009, a day devoted to the police professionals throughout this fine Nation that have lost their lives serving their community. The next time you see a police officer on a traffic stop, at a call for service, or patrolling your neighborhood, take a moment to ask yourself where we would be as a society without the fine men and women who are dedicated to protecting you, your family, and your property. We have a difficult task before us, one we take very seriously, so much so that in excess of 18,662 police officers throughout the United States of America have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their community.
Until next month, stay safe!
John Chase can be reached via his e-mail address at Jchase@bcnv.org.