Officer Matt Friday, grandson of the legendary Joe Friday, is a six year veteran working the streets of Pekerwood PD, a fairly large city of 500,000 racially and ethnically diverse inhabitants spread across the economic, political and social spectrum. He has experienced patrolling a well respected university, a country club enclave, a thriving skid row, and a sprawling chunk of low income “underserved” turf with all the social trimmings that requires the majority of Pekerwood PD’s attention and resources.
Today, he prepares for a day in the life of a typical law enforcement officer in the year 2032.
Matt has just finished dressing for briefing in his culturally designated locker room, as mandated by legislative action in the year 2031 and which provides safe space for officers to retreat when overwhelmed with the pressures of the job. Special rooms are separated to permit stressed or dismayed officers of the carefully formulated workforce to associate exclusively with members of their own race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual persuasion, gender affiliation, and physical challenge.
The Pekerwood PD uniform of the week is pastel, a product of extensive blue ribbon committee research to select the least offensive color to the community. He quickly checks his “Irreversible Provocation Device,” which carries four rounds of low velocity ammunition as negotiated with the National Lawyers Guild. It is secured out of sight in a zippered hip pouch trip wired to an electronic security tab that records each removal in real time and alerts the entire chain of command as well as the mayor, council, and on call representative from CUFIT, the Community Unjustified Force Investigation Team . A felt inner liner protects sensitive settings on the grip designed to record hand pressure, blood pressure, and heart rate. All of which are instantaneously translated into an algorithm that determines outcome probabilities linking an officer’s psychological intent to the race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, income level and clothing of all persons in close proximity to the Device when it is removed from its pouch.
Matt quickly finds his assigned briefing chair, strategically placed (and adjusted annually according to the Stravinsky-Liepiert psychological evaluation scale) in harmony with the emotional profiles of others on his shift. In a few moments, the “Managing Team Associate” enters followed by the daily allotment of community G.I.B. S. (Guys In the Back Seat) to be assigned to ride along with every patrol unit. Today, Matt draws Melton Furbish, a local attorney for “Community Eyes,” a nonprofit, grass roots group that organizes roving undercover surveillance operations of cops and firefighters. Furbish adjusts his briefcase full of officer evaluations, incident evaluations, updated policies, and citizen complaint forms and takes his place in the observer’s section of the room in order to isolate and prejudge Jake’s body language and facial expressions.
Briefing notes were then read by the “Supervising Field Companion.” First item of interest was an update on the search for a new chief, now in Phase 23. Yet to be completed was the candidate blood test to determine any historical or family heritage issues that could cause discomfort to any community group. After the elimination phase, the survivors would undergo an empathy level exam, an eight point smile composite, a digitally invasive judgment probe, and a three day compatibility analysis that would finally result in a list of pre approved leaders from which the city politicians could massage into their political profiles before giving the final certified list to a local coalition of special interest groups for final selection.
The daily training film was from the highly acclaimed series entitled “Insensitivity and Law Enforcement,” produced by the Commission of University Philosophy Professors and based upon insights gathered during their role playing workshops that evaluated actual law enforcement incidents so that they could determine effective tactics and alternative approaches to violent street encounters. As a bonus, a short presentation was made by a nationally renowned, twenty-five year old deputy chief from an out of state agency marketing his innovative law enforcement deployment model (and lucrative consultant business) entitled “Friendship Policing.” His core concept “ask ‘em, ask ‘em, walk away” (a derivative of the professional model “ask ‘em, tell ‘em, make ‘em) had been labeled by NASLEE, the National Association of Sensitive Law Enforcement Leaders as the greatest developing paradigm change in law enforcement since Herman Goldstein’s community based policing model became the profession’s standard a half century ago.
Briefing was momentarily interrupted by the station wide broadcast of a pursuit in progress of a homicide suspect near the civic center. The Managing Team Associate quickly scanned his deployment calendar and rolled his eyes, cancelling the pursuit and placing the officer and his GIB back on track for their panel discussion at the Green Street Community Center, one of the most politically active locations in the city.
The Diversity Leader from the Public Empathy Division followed up with a short presentation on progress of the Chief’s Community Language Assessment Committee. After careful consideration, the phrase “officer needs help,” was finally determined to be an unnecessary risk to the community and an unfair tactical disadvantage to an uncontrollable “client.” It was now replaced by “officer could use a hand” and was required to be broadcasted by the officer being “overtly disagreed with” in a non-judgmental, low decibel manner so as not to impair the client’s fair trial standard. The officers were also reminded to refresh themselves on the current “citation table,” a list that linked various racial, ethnic, economic, sexual and age groups in the community with the traffic violations that could or could not be cited according to their latest census distribution patterns and “hardship” index. The “misdemeanor arrest table” was due out in another six weeks. No plans were progress to extend the selective enforcement plan to felonies before the end of the fiscal year.
Before briefing ended, Matt Friday was given his mandatory assignments. Right out of the gate, he and Melton Furbish were going to represent the agency at the backyard barbeque of Mayor’s Public Employee Regulation Commission. After two hours, they were due at the Bow Street Block Club meeting to discuss the dangers of psychologically unfit cops, then a courtesy visit at the home of a resident who had phoned in a complaint of cops using uncomfortable radio codes, followed by a quick game of basketball with a highly diverse group of ex-felons, parolees, and post sentenced offenders awaiting completion of their redecorated rooms at the county lockup. Other officers on mandatory overtime would be there to fill out the police team.
Finally, the uniformed group was called to attention and the mandatory “Pekerwood Community Pledge,” written by the Mayor’s Community Action Coalition, was recited by all present. As usual, no time was left to brief any crime related information, so as the group rose to leave the room, the Supervising Field Companion reminded them of the following:
- To increase their output of “HATS” (Hands Across The Street) contacts, which required the spontaneous personal greeting of a minimum of ten citizens during their shift. Photo confirmation was mandatory and signed verification forms were recommended.
- To catch up on “Good Deed” log entries and remember to break them down by the diversity categories as listed on the recently updated memo.
- To start thinking about the “Disadvantaged Lawbreaker Program,” and finding at least two paroled felons willing to become adopted by the officer and his/her family for rehabilitative purposes.
- To quickly embrace one of the seven local high schools and become a “Life Advocate” to one or more students who have been “failed” by their school experience.
- To remember that all meal breaks were to be taken with the GIB in order to stimulate meaningful dialogue of current issues.
- To refrain from interrupting a Supervising Field Companion for any reason until his or her follow up citizen surveys on officer community contacts had been completed.
- To remember to use the designated contact protocol DURING any crimes in progress to allow adequate response time for the on call Mental Health Defense Team to evaluate the client, the Matched Community Representative to offer personal empathy with the client, and the city risk manager to give approval to the tactical response that would best align with liability issues and possible political blowback.
- To standby on the upcoming patrol reassignment change. The Mayor’s Police Staffing Committee was stalled on the concept of matching officers to patrol beats on the basis of physical appearance, DNA, and score on the Bobobski Sensitivity Assessment Scale. The officer’s blood tests had been mislabeled, thus rendering parts of the assessment invalid.
- And finally, a reminder that most neighborhoods had made their choices concerning the door logos to be used by patrol cars assigned in their areas. So far, the most often cited logo was “Pekerwood PD, We’re Sorry For Everything” followed by “Pekerwood PD, A History of Indifference, A Future of Apology.” The revision of the city seal was still under investigation by the Mayor’s Historical Empathy Team trying to determine if the small tree in one corner cold be linked to the forest outside of the city where an unpleasant social incident occurred in 1826.
By the end of the day, Milton Furbush had managed to solicit two additional complaints against Matt Friday, necessitating future appearances before the Community Reconciliation Board. None of it surprised him. He had long ago learned that law “enforcement” was now a bloated expression full of subjective additives, emotional margins, and slippery guiding principles subject to the level of social media fixation in various voting districts. Tonight, after a beer and a burger he would again retreat to his man cave and watch reruns of Grandpa Joe Friday actually doing police work.