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Community Policing: It Is That Simple

Community Policing:  It Is That Simple

Photo Courtesy:  Facebook/Montebello PD, Officer Robert Josett walking with a 92 year citizen to the DMV to help him renew his ID.

In the Courageous Leadership Seminar that Law Officer recently partnered with, one of the sections I was impressed with was the issue of Courageous Community. “What does it really mean to engage with the community,” Major Travis Yates declared to those in attendance?

Yates details that the issue of Community Policing is both confusing and misinterpreted by many.  “If you have ten people in the room and ask them what community policing is, you will get ten different answers,” Yates said in a recent seminar I attended on behalf of Law Officer.

As Yates points out, you can boil down community policing into two specific definitions.

“Treat people the way you would want to be treated and see those you interact with as people rather than problems.”

It sounds simple and that is the point.  It’s as simple as what we saw in Montebello (CA) this past week.

After the Montebello Police were called to a Bank of America for a disturbance, they encountered a 92 year old man who was trying to withdraw money from his account but his California Identification was expired and the man was upset.  Bank policy required a current identification, which is exactly what Officer Montebello Police Officer Robert Josett (above) could have said.

“The problem is that you don’t have current identification so the bank wins and you lose,” which frankly is what some in law enforcement would have done but if you believe in Courageous Community, more must be done and that is exactly what was done.

Much more….

When officers arrived, Officer Robert Josett took the man to the Department of Motor Vehicles and he helped him renew his identification card. Once renewed, the man was taken back and was able to take money from his account.

As the Montebello Police Facebeook said,  “He thanked Officer Josett and went on his way.”

The pundits, politicians and even some police administrators may say that isn’t good enough.  Police need more programs, more people and more funding when the reality is, we don’t.

While it is true that some activists will never be satisfied until we never make another arrest, that is not the answer.  We see the answer right here in a small city just east of Los Angeles.  The city of Montebello Police Department and Officer Robert Josett  get it.

It is really that simple.


About The Author


Robert Johnson is a 20 year veteran law enforcement officer currently working at a large metropolitan agency. His assignments have included narcotics, gangs and training. He joined Law Officer in 2017 as an Associate Editor.


  1. Pepe Le Pew

    I understand your point, and this was very nice of the officer to do this for the elderly man, but how far do you go, to please the general public? I’m sure something like this will make a difference with REGULAR citizens, but it seems like no matter what LEOs try to do to please citizens, there will always be “those groups” out there, who will find fault on every move you make. I’m 60 years old and when I was a kid, I attended at least ten LEO funerals from about age 14 to 23. I thought things were bad back then because of so many LEOs on the same dept. being murdered left and right it seemed.

    Fast forward to now: 2017. These times seem very different to me – worse than ever. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s my attitude. I do have PTSD and I have seen things most citizens haven’t – or at least that’s what people keep telling me. So maybe it’s just me, but I see a darkness and pure evil these days. Sometimes I think it’s just me that sees it, until I get texts from others, asking me what is this world coming to – and sending me a flyer that’s going around in attempts to incite not only riots, but total chaos in November. I tried to add a pic of it, but couldn’t upload it.

    I think it’s very commendable what you are suggesting, and I do think it will help somewhat. I just wonder if it’s too late.

  2. LegalBeagle

    While I agree with the officer’s conduct here as likely the best path and least likely to cause more problems, it would also have been a good idea to take the bank manager aside and suggest that they need to be less rigid with a well intentioned policy that as applied was .. well beyond stupid and chickenshit at best. The policy is there to protect the customer, got it. Obviously, a way out of date ID could be a problem with some as we age and look different, but the odds of this 92 year engaging in fraud are so small that the policy was poorly applied. A 10 year out of date photo for him is not like one for someone in their 50s.

    Community policing in general: cops need a chance to meet and get to know their community and their problems, but in a lot of places, call volume and laughable staffing make that a fantasy. Once the cops do get a chance to know their patrol areas needs, people need to understand that responses will and must include a variety of responses, including vigoorous enforcement. The primary agency in the jurisdiction in which I live has done a good job in addressing some problems (like one street on which anyone trying to drive at a lawful speed was at constant risk of being deep trunked), but in the area immediately adjacent to the college campus has engaged in substantial neglect. It is a rare day in which a thirty minute dog walk does not reveal 4-8 significant violations (including by those pustules on bicycles) that place pedestrians at risk, but enforcement is illusory. Stop signs are suggestions; cell phone and turn signal violations are a constant, etc. In fact, one officer had his tint meter taken away for writing too many tickets. That’s unethical and stupid. I’m waiting for a pedestrian to get killed as a result of these practices.

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