"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Training for Peace Officers, Not Law Enforcement

Throughout the 1800's all the way into the decade of the 1960s, "peace officer" was the term most often in America to refer to sheriffs, constables, troopers, marshals, and any officer of the state or nation responsible for upholding the law.

Today the old moniker of "peace officer" has been almost eliminated in popular usage, replaced by “police officer” or even the more prevalent “law enforcement officer.”

Sheriff Andy Taylor of The Andy Griffith Show is perhaps the best example of what it once meant, at least to most Americans, to be a peace officer. Of course, the Andy Griffith show was fictional, but it was based on the reality of how Americans viewed officials tasked with upholding the law and keeping peace within a community. They kept "the peace" by being a "peacemaker."

Just a few decades ago, most Americans would point to the character of Sheriff Taylor as the ideal for what we call "a law enforcement official." 

Unfortunately, the professional criminal element in our nation (bank robbers, drug dealers, enslavement rings, etc.) is now so-well armed that our local peace officers have had to resort to obtaining guns and gear normally reserved for the military.

Die Hard (1988)
I can remember the first time I ever thought "Wow! The police look more like the military than they do Andy Griffith." I was watching the movie Die Hard for the first time, and the Los Angeles Police Department came to a crime scene in a tank. Of course, in the movie, the LAPD was battling what they believed to be terrorists who had taken over a high rise in Los Angeles.

The point being,  police now have riot gear, heavy weaponry, masks, and bulletproof vests, and often see themselves as forcing submission on citizens rather than upholding peace in communities.

The militarization of peace officers, turning them into law enforcement officials, is not all the fault of law enforcement agencies. Not at all. Culture has changed. 

When television celebrates crime and criminals, churches are considered irrelevant, God is taken out of schools, and a do-as-you-please philosophy reigns, one can't help but expect that crime becomes more lethal.

I am a defender of local police and understand the incredible stress police officers are under today. That said, America could do better training our police officers to see themselves as peace officers instead of law enforcement.  Keep the peace first. That's the goal. If people are running away, let them go and look for them through old fashioned detective work. Only pull your gun if you feel you are facing imminent harm or death. Otherwise, only think about how to keep the peace. The enforcement of law should be secondary, not primary.

There are still a few individual models of what a peace officer should like in America, peace officers that work in America's major metropolitan cities.

My Facebook friend Kiki Cherry introduced us to one via her Facebook post.

She shared the story of what happened Friday night, July 28, 2017, when Kiki met Fort Worth Peace Officer Sergeant B. Halford. This encounter with Sergeant Halford beautifully demonstrates for us all the best qualities in a local peace officer. 
We had a very cool encounter last night with one of our Fort Worth police officers.
Doug and I were down on Magnolia street, meeting with one of my awesome young Compassion volunteers at a coffee shop there.
 Afterwards we were loitering in the parking lot and saying our goodbyes when we were approached by a panhandler.
She began telling us a woeful story about being homeless, and sounded truly pitiful and distraught. Just then a police officer walked up.
 He greeted us, then turned to the woman and asked if she needed a ride down to the shelter or help getting some food.
Suddenly her whole demeanor....and even her voice....changed, and she abruptly walked away.
He then turned and explained to us that she is an addict and was looking for money to go get her next fix.
 He spent the next ten minutes sharing with us the plight of the homeless in that area, and how we could engage them in a way that would be genuinely helpful but still compassionate.
I was impressed with his servant heart. He knew each of them by name, and seemed to be well acquainted with their stories. Yet he cared enough to not want to enable them in their addictions. He explained to us how giving money can be one of the worst responses to have and can hurt more than help. He also encouraged us that the best thing to do is to volunteer and invest in local churches and organizations that minister to the homeless.
We found out that when he was off-duty he routinely volunteered, even picking up food to take where there was a need and giving rides to shelters. He also owned a small construction company, and would often hire people he encountered and actively assist them to get back on their feet.
We asked him to tell us some practical ways that we could help. I had one of my Compassion business cards on me, and gave it to him so he could send us some information.
By the time we got home, there was already an email in my inbox....with attachments listing organizations that helped the homeless, and practical tips for how to engage in our community.
Thank you, Sergeant Halford, for your service to our city, and for giving of your time to educate us last night. You are definitely one of Fort Worth's finest!
Well done, Sergeant Halford. May your tribe of peace officers increase!

Note: This piece was originally published in 2017 but is particularly relevant today. 

38 comments:

CM said...

I would argue that the transformation from Peace Officer to Law Enforcement is much more complicated than this article.

First, cities, counties, and states begain to use police as revenue collection agents for the state (Ticket Quotas anyone?) rather than merely enforcing laws.

Second, beginning with the quagmire and ill-fated adventure known as the War on Drugs, police begain to become militarized. No-knock warrants started and went from exceeding rare to quite common, especially for situations that did not require it.

Third, because of #1 and #2, civil asset forfeiture became the norm for decades. It took the SCOTUS decision of Timbs v. Indiana, 586 U.S. ___ (2019) Incorporate the excessive fines clause of the Constitution's Eighth Amendment to state and local governments in the context of asset forfeiture. Only since then, can this corrupt practice can began be rolled back.

Power and money corrupts, and since the state has a monopoly on coercive force one can see why we are no longer in Mayberry.

There are many other reasons as well.

CM said...

Also,

The disatrous and invented practice of qualified immunity means that it allows public officials, including police officers, to violate your Constitutional rights without fear of recourse, if those rights have not been spelled out somewhere by a preexisting court precedent. IOW, until a court specifically says in X situation otherwise, you are automatically assumed to have it.

Other thing is even if the LEO who murdered Floyd is found guilty, the taxpayers will still be on the hook for his pension:

https://reason.com/2020/06/13/the-former-cop-who-killed-george-floyd-will-get-50k-annual-pension-even-if-convicted-of-murder/

"Conservatives" and Christians say one is personally responsible for their own actions, but in the case of the police, it really looks like the taxpayers and everybody else are the ones responsible.

RB Kuter said...

Things have changed, that's for sure.

I think of how most police calls these days involve people who are crazed, with no sense of logical rationale about consequences of their behavior as they are mindlessly hampered with drugs. When a person is high on drugs, meth, coke, and any number of combinations of hallucinatory and mind altering varieties, killing another person is a matter of their being in a dreamlike state of fantasy. They are not intimidated by a badge, the thought of spending the rest of their life in a prison, being shot to death, or any other threat that comes with homicidal behavior.

I have close acquaintances who killed another person while in the foggy craziness of drugs. They would never have done that in a sober frame of mind, but it wouldn't have made any difference at the time if it had been a policeman, a parent, sibling, or anybody else who might have pushed them in the wrong direction. Really. Zero sense of rational thinking process.

This is the state in which many, if not most, people are in which the police must deal with on calls. That's one huge difference in today's police service compared to times past.

The other is the weapons held by the people the police are called upon to contain and/or arrest. Machine guns, armor piercing bullets, probably grenades and explosives. So what? Police are to approach them with a 9 mm issued pistol? Right.

Pretty much madness, I would say. I honestly don't know how we can continue to enlist any sort of person to work as a police officer. The pay is so atrociously low that they usually live under the poverty level. Seriously. And yet we are ALL so dependent upon their continued presence to give some level of order and acknowledgement of laws.

But little acclaim and appreciation is expressed for them. Yet once a minute percent fail, the entire planet expresses outrage and conceit for them all. The winds blowing in society these days are anti-order, anti-structure, and total non-accountability to any authority. The disdain for ANYONE proposing maintaining the enforcement of law has rendered politicians to cheer on those anarchists trespassing, stealing properties and confiscating entire sections of cities.

I anticipate the movement toward disdain for civil law enforcement to soon expand to a return of hating our military service personnel as we had in the Viet Nam and subsequent era. Madness.

Rex Ray said...

CM,

Your mentioning “Ticket Quotas”, reminded me of the story of a policeman telling a man he had stopped that since he had his required Ticket Quotas, if he had an excuse for not stopping when he turned his siren on that he had not heard before, he wouldn’t give him a ticket.

The man said, “Last week, my wife ran off with a policeman, and I thought you were bringing her back.” (He didn’t get a ticket.)

RB Kuter said...

HA! GOOD ONE, REX RAY!

CM said...

RB Kuter,

I notice you conveniently did not reply on the no-knock warrants, asset forfeiture, and the use of LEOs as revenue agents of the state. Spoken like a true statist.

At least Rex Rey understood the bit about ticket quotas and responded accordingly with a humorous ancedote (HT to you Rex BTW).

Christiane said...

After watching the video that showed the murder of George Floyd, which was unconscionable; and then seeing a drunken man wrestling with police and stealing a taser from one of them and running away, and the TURNING to fire the taser, I am thinking that some other way must be found for containing non-cooperative people than a knee on the neck or two bullets in the back, sure.

We still expect our police to be able to do their jobs and, when their authority is challenged, and to use other methods of stopping suspects. I do know that tasers are one way designed to halt aggressive and non-cooperative behaviors. But there must be other 'ways', choices, that from a distance, can stop a criminal without being lethal
. . . and I hate to suggest it, but would a tranquilizer gun, like those used to get black bears out of trees in suburban neighborhoods,be a prototype of a new technology which stops the person but brings no lasting harm to them ????
Tranquilized bears relax and fall out of the trees and are not killed. Then they can be examined and cared for and set free in an appropriate natural setting far from town. No harm done.
We take CARE of our bears in this country, yes. It's our people and our police we have sadly failed.

Christiane said...

Of all the good stories about police that I have ever heard, and I have heard many,
this is the one that holds a special place in my heart:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-VjyxgWNoo

Bob Cleveland said...

CM: You are wrong s wrong can be about "ticket quotas".

I have some knowledge on the matter. I spent several years as a Reserve Police Officer here, and also 4 years on the City Council.

RB Kuter said...

CM, not sure how you would have me comment. Do you have a question?

CM said...

RB Kuter,

I dunno. You could say that civil asset forfeiture and no-knock warrants are generally bad ideas or say they are awesome ideas or whatever. Or say you don't know anything about civil asset forfeiture and qualified immunity.

Bob,
Fair enough. You are speaking and confirming that it does not apply to your city, locality, and region.

All you people realize that taxpayers are on the hook in most cases for paying out pensions for crooked cops right (even if they go to prison). I find it fascinating that so-called conservatives rightly criticize the teachers' unions for shielding incompetent and bad teachers, but are strangely silent about the police unions. It is like they suddenly have amnesia and forget that the primary reason and purpose of a union is to protect its members at all times no matter what. And once again it confirms their hypocrisy.

Now before someone plays the "It's a dangerous job" card about police, here are recent Labor Statistics on workplace deaths per number of workers employed:

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

LEOs are not even in the top ten. I can pull up the actual rates for LEOs and you will find that roofers are 3x more likely to die at their workplace than police.

CM said...

Here is a very good article from Reason.com about this:

https://reason.com/2020/06/19/the-war-on-drugs-drug-spurred-americas-current-policing-crisis/

For those of you who do not know, Reason.com is far from a left-wing, socialist, liberal website. Remember John Stossel, the former ABC reporter who most everyone here probably liked? He is a regular on Reason.

CM said...

Bob,

Your right. LEOs don't have ticket quotas. Rather than tickets, they just use civil asset forfeiture to seize the car of someone. I wonder what you have to say about that.

From the article I linked to above:

"Today, the old speed traps have all too often been replaced by forfeiture traps, where local police stop cars and seize cash and property to pay for local law enforcement efforts," wrote two federal officials who helped create the program, in a 2014 Washington Post column. "This is a complete corruption of the process, and it unsurprisingly has led to widespread abuses." It's led to widespread anger, too, as police mainly seize poor people's cars rather than cartels' assets."

That's MUCH better. /sarc

Unknown said...

The comment by Rex Ray re. bringing the wife back is totally in bad taste and demeaning to the sacredness of marriage. Marriage and the failure thereof is not an appropriate subject for such jokes.

Wade Burleson said...

Unkown,

I personally know Rex Ray and his beautiful, sweet wife. Rex dotes on her with much love and affection. I will let your comment stand, with the caveat that “to you” what Rex said is demeaning to the sacredness of marriage. I much prefer gauging Rex’s view of marriage from what I see and know to be true and not what others assume and imagine to be true.

Byron Allen said...

Wade, I did not, and without personal acquaintance with, intent to imply anything critical of Rex Ray and his domestic relationship. Rather, I assume from his frequent comments on your blog that he is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. I too, regularly read, with great enjoyment, find your blog to be very excellent. I just believe that such jokes could possibly contribute to the low opinion with which our society views marriage. I offer my sincere apologies to both you and Rex Ray. Please forgive any offence I might have caused.

RB Kuter said...

CM, sounds like you need to be more actively involved in your local politics given that most of your problems lie in laws passed by YOUR local politicians. Quite typical of many who go through life looking for things to complain about and do nothing to improve the situation. Kind of like sticking your finger in pot of boiling water and yelling for someone to come pull it out for you.

Christiane said...

Hello UNKNOWN,

I did not find REX RAY's story to be out of line, I thought it was very funny. Is there some thing you need to talk about concerning marriage or its breaking-up, as a reason for your 'reaction' to his story? If you are troubled personally, this is a good blog for you as Wade and his wife are people who care about healthy relationships and might be able to help you with your trouble.

I can assure you that REX RAY tells great stories which I enjoy very much. I was married for fifty-one years, six months, and three days, and when my husband passed away from cancer, REX RAY and Wade and some good people here prayed for me. If you want to accuse someone of maligning marriage, you've got the wrong person in REX RAY. He is one of the really good people out there, although I may not agree with his politics. :)

If you ARE a troubled person concerning marriage, people here are not unkind or mean-spirited, no. You would be heard and prayed for. It's that kind of blog.

Wade Burleson said...

Byron.

Apology unconditionally accepted.

Thank you.

Christiane said...

sorry, BYRON ALLEN, I did not see your comment above before I wrote my response to your criticism of REX RAY.

Rex Ray said...

Byron Allen, I’m like Christiane in not reading six comments before I wrote what’s below:

Unknown,

You’re right that marriage is a sacred union ordained by God. I was married 55 years. I cried my eyes out when Belle died after 5 years of dementia. Two years later, I paid an agency to find out if a former girl-friend was alive. We’d not communicated in 57 years.

July 4, 2020 will be our fifth anniversary. Her name, Judy, is on her husband’s headstone 90 miles from here in Dallas, and mine is on Belle’s headstone ½ mile from here.

I’d carved Judy a jewelry box that had her name and 1956 on it. She still had it and my picture was inside.

Anonymous said...

For the record: I am a 90 year old retired Baptist pastor. I am retired and live alone. My first first wife passed away after 31 years and five children. She had cancer. My second wife passed away with Parkinson’s with Levy body dementia. We were married 36 years and I was her sole caregiver for 11 years after onset of illness. I am not in need of marriage counseling. I spend my time reading and studying the Bible and have self-publishedfive books, two since the decease of my wife. I read W@de’s blog for its good content and seldom add a comm3nt. Thanks for the offer of help!

Christiane said...

if I may assume that 'Unknown', 'Byron Allen, and 'Anonymous' are the same person, I would like to thank you for sharing this with us, since it was me who wondered if you needed some friends.
At your blessed age, you deserve respect and privacy, and I acknowledge that your 'for the record' reassures that you are not someone who is floundering. My bad to be so intrusive, but I was concerned for you, so please forgive. Just to let you know, Wade also gives a Sunday sermon over on the Wartburg Watch blog, which you might enjoy hearing. :)

Rex Ray said...

OFF TOPIC
When I was 15, our father was 50. He’d been a chaplain in World War II, where he took on all challengers in wrestling and never lost.

A lot of us were swimming in Red River. Swimming with the current, I’d crossed where it was deep and fast. He was down the river and decided to join me, but swam against the current.

I followed him as the narrow part changed to wide, but the current was still too strong. We were so far from the others; they didn’t hear him command: “Help me!” He called again: “Please help me!”

The current took me to him real fast. He kept his hand on my shoulder. Alarmed that I started swimming downstream, he shouted: “GO TO THE BANK!” (It was 80 feet upstream.) I yelled back: “I am!”

After 200 yards, we reached the bank where he laid a long time without speaking. He finally said, “I wouldn’t have made it without you.”

P.S.
CHRISTIANE,
I believe you’re right.

CM said...

Rex Ray

Here is something I thought you mind find interesting:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-lancashire-45366213/long-lost-lovers-to-marry-60-years-after-they-first-met

They reunited after the long lives marrying someone else in the same assisted living complex.

Unknown said...


Again, I apologize for causing such adverse reaction and confusion by my statement re. a statement apparently intended to only be humor. I have been identified in the interchange as both Byron Allen, and 'Anonymous'. That is my fault for not taking time to better follow the identity section of the blog. I am "Byron Allen." I wish to express thanks to each person responding during the exchange of ideas and to Wade for his patience with my poor use of his blog. God bless all of you as you freely and helpfully exchange ideas.

Byron Allen said...

Sorry to have trouble getting identified as Byron Allen.

Rex Ray said...

CM,

Thanks for the good story.

CM said...

Rex,

Not a problem. On a sad note, Vera Lynn died on Thursday at the age of 103. To the remaining British Tommys of WWII, she is still their "sweetheart".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsM_VmN6ytk

Rex Ray said...

Byron Allen,

Parkinson’s Levy body dementia was what my wife, Belle, had. She was the ‘smart one’ in the family with a Master’s degree. It started at midnight when she asked where we were and couldn’t find the bathroom. I took her to the hospital thinking she had a stroke.

Several times she called 911. We had a tall slide and used a small mattress to go down. One day I heard her screaming and crying. She was holding the mattress thinking it was me dead. After five years, she died in a rest home refusing to eat or drink

Christiane said...

so very sad, REX RAY, how it can be that we cannot always help the ones most dear to us in their last sicknesses, that sometimes we don't even know what is wrong . . . that last day my husband was home, at the first sign of his trouble, I also thought he was having a stroke

as for, this:
"P.S.
CHRISTIANE,
I believe you’re right.
Sat Jun 20, 02:29:00 AM 2020"

REX RAY, something I have learned of late is that what is most important is not about 'me' being 'right' or that 'the other guy' is 'wrong',
but that what is MOST important in our faith is not about 'me' at all

talk about an epiphany !

God is good.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I don’t know how the last part of my comment didn’t show up. This is the rest of it:

Several times she called 911. We had a tall slide and used a small mattress to go down. One day I heard her screaming and crying. She was holding the mattress thinking it was me dead. After several years, she died in a rest home refusing to eat or drink.

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,

your ending WAS there !!
take another look

so sad when those we love come to that place and time where we cannot do much for them except to try to be 'with' even if they are not fully conscious of our presence, I always think that a 'part of them' knows we are there for them anyway

I keep thinking what I might have done differently if I knew how little time was left with my husband, but we lived day by day and I never thought about 'a last day', but it came.

Your story about Belle at the end is heart-breaking.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Yes, it was there; my bad. Did I tell you that two years after she met Jesus, I found on out computer, a story she’d written about when we’d been married six weeks?

She gave it a title: A Bear Story from a Woman’s Point of View. It’s a funny story how my brother and I were trying to kill a bear. She watched the ‘process’ and thought she was going to be a young widow.

Christiane said...

REX RAY, that must have been some bear . . . the bears around the town where my son lives in Alaska are almost tame, but you wouldn't want to go near a mom-bear with cubs, nope. :)

Good to remember the funny stories. It's too easy to think only of 'loss' and grief, but even then, it is good to be able to speak of it at all:

""Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break."
(William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.3)

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Have you heard of a Baptist preacher, Jerry Clower? He’s noted for telling funny stories. The link below has many.

https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk00LsWScY_3gb40iyOI5GnS130BiRA%3A1592887493923&source=hp&ei=xYjxXuz0NYiQtQWip4zgDQ&q=jerry+clower+rat+killin&oq=J&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQARgAMgQIIxAnMgQIIxAnMgQIIxAnMgQIABBDMgUIABCRAjIECAAQQzIECAAQQzIECAAQQzICCAAyBQgAELEDULwfWLwfYNQ-aABwAHgAgAFmiAFmkgEDMC4xmAEAoAEBqgEHZ3dzLXdpeg&sclient=psy-ab

“The rat killing story” won’t be as funny as he tells it, but I’ll give it a try.

A small boy killed a huge rat and dragged it in the house to show his mother. He started talking, but didn’t see the preacher on the other side of the room.

“Mama, mama! See what a big rat I killed! I hit him with a stick, jabbed him with a pitch-fork, jumped up and down on him! (sees the preacher)

Put his arms around the rat and held him to his chest; “And then the Lord called the poor thing home.”

CM said...

Rex,

For humor, here is something from the bear's point of view:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/469359592389661865/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/44684221274362321/

CM said...

Rex,

All I know is you need to keep your picanick baskets safe and secure.

https://cheezburger.com/1025891072