Unfortunately, too many people are perfectly happy with their hastily formed perceptions. Far too many people put blind faith in the reported perceptions of their friends and family, without bothering to consider alternatives. And far too many people draw broad conclusions from their perceptions to the detriment of meticulously honest and fair cops. We must never forget this.
So, ask yourself these simple self-evaluation questions:
- Do the words I use represent me, my colleagues, and my profession in an honorable light?
- Do my actions reflect the professionalism and honesty required of someone in my role?
- Do those words and actions, viewed by a reasonable and clear-headed citizen, favor the formation of positive perceptions of me, my colleagues, and my profession?
- Am I constantly aware of how perceptions can help, or hurt, our mission?
Banked goodwill between cops and citizens can be easily poisoned by negative perceptions. We owe it to each other to do everything in our power to hold ourselves accountable for creating our share of positive perceptions.
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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.