Under the Microscope

Words matter. We write often about how words matter in relationships and insensitive or intemperate words risk harming them. They matter just as much in our profession and how the public we serve perceives us and what we do. Their misuse carries serious...

But then read further between the lines… Mayor Bower is really just scapegoating the ACLU for her inability to legally limit the event, or the unwillingness on her and the city council’s part to search for legally justified solutions to the problem, in the face of public outrage. Either way, she throws that organization under the bus for political cover, over something there is no evidence they weighed in on in the first place! A distinction Nyberg misses completely.

Should regular 4th Amendment restriction on police be suspended for the UBW and its attendees? Should there be a skin pigmentation-based litmus test for how police respond to tourists in a city whose economy relies heavily on the tourist dollar? Should a city be allowed to creatively and preemptively reinterpret the Constitution for one weekend a year? There is a solution and it is enforcement-based… and able to stand up under the strictest legal scrutiny. Mayor Bower just needs to trust her cops and their supervisors to implement it.

The peril of imprudent words

Now is the time, Matti, to flip the ACLU a bird… (Now is the time, Matti, to flip CIVIL LIBERTIES a bird…)

Is that what Ramesh Nyberg meant? It’s time to give civil rights the finger? I don’t think so, but consider how those who distrust or dislike us might grasp onto his words as an example of “jack-booted thugs” out to strip society of civil liberties. Think of how quickly information spreads in this current age, and how words are twisted.

Mayer Bower, tell the ACLU that they can go hang out with their friends Raymond Herisse and the rest of the scumbags who invade your city every year…

So now the ACLU is not merely an organization that protects civil rights, it is “friendly” toward and on equal footing with “scumbags?”  

This is not to defend or support the ACLU, nor is it to condemn them; they do what they do and sometimes miss the mark and irritate us. We can’t control what anyone thinks, says, or does. We CAN control our thoughts, words, and actions and, by doing so, represent ourselves and our profession with honor… and without stoking the fires of our detractors.

Ours is a profession under the microscope, and not everyone with their eye on us are fans. Many look for any ammunition against us – to twist our smallest words and actions into proof of their worst perception of what we are. We owe it to the profession, and all who practice it, to choose the words we use in front of a watchful public with extreme care.


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About The Authors:

Althea Olson, LCSW has been in private practice in the Chicago suburbs since 1996. She has a Master of Social Work degree from Aurora University providing individual, couple, & group therapy to adolescents, adults, and geriatrics. Althea is also trained in Critical Incident Stress Management & is a certified divorce mediator.

Mike Wasilewski, MSW has been with a large suburban Chicago department since 1996. He holds a Master of Social Work degree from Aurora University and has served on his department’s Crisis Intervention & Domestic Violence teams. Mike is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern College.

Mike & Althea have been married since 1994 and have been featured columnists for Officer.Com since 2007. Their articles are extremely popular and they now provide the same training and information in person throughout the United States. This dynamic team was recently featured at the at the 2010 & 2011 ILEETA Conference & Exposition.

Out of their success has come the formation of More Than A Cop where the focus is providing consultation and trainings on Survival Skills Beyond The Street.


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