Courtesy lessons for police: %$#! no
Courtesy never has proven to be an effective crime deterrent.
Perhaps that's because most crimes, by their very nature, are discourteous acts, illegal breaches of etiquette, proof of profound disrespect for one's fellow man. Rare is the instance when a thug confronting someone in a dark alley says, “My sincere apologies, sir, but my current unfavorable socioeconomic status leaves me little choice but to rob you at gunpoint.”
That's what makes Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess' proposal to spend as much as $150,000 on what amounts to a sensitivity training program for police so ridiculous.
Burgess wants to hire an emasculating outfit called the Unleashing Respect Project Inc. to forge “a comprehensive police-community partnership program.” According to legislation Burgess has introduced, the partnership pushers would do this by instructing officers “to treat everyone they encounter, including lawbreakers, with unconditional respect.”
You read that correctly. Burgess wants officers to have feelings of deep admiration and empathy for the segment of society that deserves it the least — even while trading gunfire with that frequently violent demographic.
In that regard, the councilman undoubtedly dwells in a minute minority. It's a safe assertion to make that most city residents probably don't care if police respect criminals. They would much prefer that they arrest them.
People are funny that way.
If forced to respect everyone with whom they come in contact, the interactions would be very different between officers and certain segments of the criminal element. Profound conversational shifts inevitably would occur with:
• Purse snatchers
“Let me ... catch my breath for a moment ... before I cuff you. I can't believe I was able to catch someone as quick as you, you speedy little ruffian!
“Tell me, did you run track at all in high school before deciding to put your obvious talents to criminal use?”
• Bank robbers
“I feel just awful that the red dye that teller put in with the money you requested exploded and got all over your clothes. That was incredibly impolite of her, especially after you presented her with such an eloquently crafted holdup note. I really think you should consider filing a formal complaint with the bank.”
• Spousal abusers
“Before I read you your Miranda rights, sir, let me say how admirable your restraint was in responding to the bland and unsatisfying dinner that was prepared for you tonight. Many men would have done much more than just blacken their wife's eyes.”
• Narcotics traffickers
“Z-Dog, I think too much of you to go on living this lie. I'm an undercover police officer. I've been buying cocaine from you not to snort it, but to compile enough evidence to arrest you and shut down your highly profitable drug operation. Our relationship was founded on dishonesty. I hope you can forgive me.”
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Ken man ‘holed up’ in house
- Piecemaker kiosk kicks out keepsakes on the spot
- Greensburg Central Catholic softball hopes to bounce back in Class A
- First Draft: Beer lovers at CoStar take the time to brew it right
- Hempfield softball motivated after missing playoffs
- Police arrest 4 in Pitcairn drug investigation
- Penguins notebook: Staal insists he never asked for trade to Penguins
- Bergdahl, speaking for 1st time, claims 12 attempts to flee Taliban
- Pirates notebook: Worley bounces back after rough start
- Blast collapses NYC apartments, injures 12
- Porterfield: Fish dinner benefits Normalville Fire auxiliary