A visit from across the pond

U.K. con­sta­bles visit D.C., tour sher­iff’s of­fice dur­ing po­lice week

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @An­drew_IndyNews

For Na­tional Po­lice Week this year, the Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice hosted six con­sta­bles from Cam­bridgeshire, Eng­land, at­tend­ing the an­nual can­dle­light vigil for fallen of­fi­cers in Washington, D.C., be­fore open­ing its doors to them for a full tour.

Dur­ing the cer­e­monies last year, Det. Juan Mo­rales met his Bri­tish coun­ter­part, Det. Con­sta­ble James Howard. As it turned out, they both in­ves­ti­gate bur­glar­ies and were fas­ci­nated by the sim­i­lar­i­ties in their work and the strik­ing dif­fer­ences.

“We met dur­ing the sur­vivors’ es­cort dur­ing po­lice week last year,” said Mo­rales, adding that sev­eral of­fi­cers from the CCSO honor guard wanted to get pic­tures with “the Bob­bies.”

“We’re both po­lice of­fi­cers, just sep­a­rated by the ocean. About the same age, es­sen­tially do­ing the same job, just dif­fer­ently,” he con­tin­ued. “They are just syn­ony­mous with po­lice work. When you go to po­lice week, its one of those things, you look for these guys. They’re rock­stars in the po­lice world.”

Ear­lier in the month, Mo­rales spent about a week with Howard, tour­ing Eng­land and the Cam­bridgeshire Con­stab­u­lary. Then, the con­sta­bles flew to the U.S. for Na­tional Po­lice Week.

Among them was Det. Con­sta­ble Antony Har­low, a first-time vis­i­tor to the United States. Dressed in full uni­form, when the con­sta­bles first stepped out onto the streets of Washington, D.C., a group of peo­ple eat­ing out­side greeted them with a stand­ing ova­tion.

“I love the place. It was bril­liant,” Har­low said. “As po­lice ser­vice, the wel­come we’ve had from the mo­ment we stepped off the plane, and the mo­ment we walked through Washington, D.C., the re­cep­tion we’ve had ... has been ab­so­lutely pos­i­tive. We have thor­oughly en­joyed ever y mo­ment.”

“We don’t have the loss of of­fi­cers that you do,” he added. “It was quite as­tound­ing dur­ing the can­dle­light vigil, the names that came up. You could feel the emo­tion; there’s 50,000 peo­ple around us. That was quite awe-in­spir­ing as an English po­lice of­fi­cer to ex­pe­ri­ence that, and I’m go­ing to walk away with very pos­i­tive mem­o­ries from what I’ve seen and what I’ve felt.”

Af­ter the memo­rial ser­vice in Washington, D.C., Mo­rales, other CCSO of­fi­cers, and the con­sta­bles toured White House be­fore tak­ing them to the sher­iff’s of­fice, where the con­sta­bles met Sher­iff Troy Berry (D), par­tic­i­pated in a pa­trol ride­a­long, tested the firearms sim­u­la­tor, par­tic­i­pated in a K-9 unit demon­stra­tion, vis­ited the de­ten­tion cen­ter, toured the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Di­vi­sion, get­ting a feel of what po­lice life is like in Charles County.

Of course, the big­gest dif­fer­ence in com­par­i­son is that the con­sta­bles do not carry guns, be­cause it is not needed.

“Firearm crime is very, very low,” Har­low said. “I feel I have the lux­ury of not hav­ing a gun. I don’t have to worry about a firearm when I turn up to check a car … when I go to a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dent … when I stop and speak to some­body on the street for maybe a bur­glary in­quiry.”

“It’s right at the bot­tom of my list of things I need to worry more about,” he con­tin­ued. “I worry more about a knife, a dog ... Trust me, I’ve been chased out of gar­dens be­fore, and it’s not too much fun when you’re go­ing over a fence.”

Howard noted that in Eng­land the con­sta­bles have greater au­thor­ity when it comes to en­ter­ing homes and con­duct­ing searches when there is prob­a­ble cause, but he was im­pressed with how Amer­i­can po­lice ef­fec­tively stream­line ju­di­cial pro­cesses, such as ob­tain­ing a war­rant from a judge.

“I think there are a lot more re­stric­tions around what these guys can do,” Howard said. “But the pro­cesses in which they do them are stream­lined, they’re very slick, and ev­ery­thing works really well within each other.”

De­spite the cul­tural dif­fer­ences, the con­sta­bles pointed out that they face the same uni­ver­sal crimes, such as cy­ber-crime, fraud, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, child abuse, drug abuse, and more re­cently, is­sues stem­ming from so­cial me­dia.

Aside from learn­ing about Amer­i­can law en­force­ment, the con­sta­bles learned more about ev­ery­day Amer­i­can life.

“Ev­ery­thing we could ex­pe­ri­ence, we tried,” said Howard, adding that they vis­ited sev­eral mon­u­ments, tourist sites, and restau­rants around the Washington, D.C., area.

“We got to ex­pe­ri­ence the Washington Metro, that was quite in­ter­est­ing,” Har­low said, chuck­ling. “We got to ex­pe­ri­ence some in­ter­est­ing driv­ing on the way back from Washington as well; that was quite in­ter­est­ing. Sig­nals seemed to be op­tional at cer­tain times.”

All jokes aside, Har­low said when he gets back to Eng­land, he is go­ing to en­cour­age more of his fel­low con­sta­bles to make the trip next year.

Hav­ing vis­ited the United States on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, “I was ex­cited to see what their re­ac­tion was go­ing to be, and it was great,” said Howard.

“Things are lit­tle dif­fer­ent over there, but the broth­er­hood is the same,” Mo­rales said.

Cpl. Re­nee Cuyler watches as Con­sta­ble Lewis Busby pets her K-9, Coni, who won a gold-medal at the 2015 Po­lice/Fire World Games for ex­cel­lence in de­tect­ing ex­plo­sives.

PHO­TOS COURTESY OF THE CHARLES COUNTY SHER­IFF’S OF­FICE

Sher­iff Troy Berry (D) tries on a cus­to­dian hat as six con­sta­bles from the Cam­bridgeshire Con­stab­u­lary in Eng­land visit the Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice dur­ing Na­tional Po­lice Week.

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