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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.


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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.

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