‘Don’t want po­lice in face, obey law’

Record Observer - - NEWS - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

QUEEN­STOWN — Queen Anne’s County NAACP Branch 7024, which re­newed its char­ter in 2016, held its sec­ond an­nual Free­dom Fund Schol­ar­ship Ban­quet at the Bay Coun­try Moose Lodge in Queen­stown Satur­day af­ter­noon, April 29. The key­note speaker was Col. Ste­wart W. Rus­sell, chief of the For­est Heights Po­lice Depart­ment, lo­cated just out­side south­east Washington, D.C.

Rus­sell, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer with 40 years ex­pe­ri­ence, 35 with Mary­land State Po­lice, who also reg­u­larly heads se­cu­rity for Dr. Ben Car­son and his wife dur­ing their an­nual schol­ar­ship ban­quet in Bal­ti­more, was blunt in his pre­sen­ta­tion.

“There needs to be an un­der­stand­ing be­tween the po­lice and com­mu­nity. If you don’t want the po­lice in your face, don’t vi­o­late the law! It’s that sim­ple,” Rus­sell said. His state­ment was fol­lowed by ap­plause.

Rus­sell said, “Po­lice need to un­der­stand their com­mu­nity, and the com­mu­nity need to un­der­stand the po­lice. Po­lice have so much to con­tend with. Re­spect what they do.

“Most po­lice have a spe­cial call­ing in their heart — to serve and pro­tect the peo­ple of their com­mu­nity. Lots of great things po­lice do are to­tally ig­nored by the me­dia. I do know that a lot of peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate what we do.”

He added, “I teach my of­fi­cers: ob­serve, re­act, ad­just. The pub­lic needs to un­der­stand, if you get pulled over in your car, the of­fi­cer doesn’t know if you are po­lice friendly or not. He trained to watch your move­ments in the car as he ap­proaches the car. Keep your hands on the top of your steer­ing wheel and don’t move. Tell pas­sen­gers in your car to keep still, If as he ap­proaches, you ap­pear to be fran­ti­cally mov­ing around, he doesn’t know if you’re reach­ing for a gun, try­ing to hide some­thing, or what?”

In other words, your move­ment in­side the car can be an alert some­thing is wrong.

Rus­sell took the mi­cro­phone from the podium and walked out into the au­di­ence as he spoke. He also used hu­mor, telling sev­eral funny sto­ries.

“I’ve found there are two types of wives. One, who when you come up to the win­dow of the car, says, ‘He was speed­ing, what’d you pull him over for?’ and the other will say, “Of­fi­cer, I told him to slow down! I’m glad you pulled him over.’ What type wife do you have?” he asked, draw­ing laugh­ter from the au­di­ence.

He also said, “You know, po­lice of­fi­cers have heard it all when peo­ple get pulled over for speed­ing. The one ex­cuse heard the most is, ‘I’m sick, and was driv­ing my­self to the hos­pi­tal.’ When­ever I’ve been told that, I say, wait a minute, let me call you an am­bu­lance, I don’t want you be­ing sick and run­ning into some­one else. Sud­denly I hear, ‘Oh no of­fi­cer! I’m feel­ing bet­ter now!’ It’s amaz­ing how well some­one gets so quickly.”

Rus­sell had a doc­u­ment to hand out to help ed­u­cate the pub­lic fol­low­ing his talk. The doc­u­ment was ti­tled “Cit­i­zen’s Guide to Rights and Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.” It listed such top­ics as “If Stopped For Rea­son­able Sus­pi­cion,” “If Stopped For Prob­a­ble Cause,” “How To File A Com­plaint,” “If Ar­rested Or Taken To A Po­lice Sta­tion,” “You Should Never” and “If You Are Given A Ticket.” The doc­u­ment cov­ered the ba­sics of how to con­duct your­self in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions.

Fol­low­ing his talk, Rus­sell was thanked and pre­sented a plaque by lo­cal NAACP Trea­surer Phyl­lis Brown.

For­mer ed­u­ca­tor Wil­lie Pauls pre­sented the Free­dom Fund Com­mu­nity Achieve­ment Award to life­long Queen Anne’s County res­i­dent Charles Emory “for out­stand­ing ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice above and be­yond the call of duty to the com­mu­nity.”

Two $1,000 col­lege schol­ar­ships were also pre­sented, one to Ahmad R. Gray, who is at­tend­ing Coastal Carolina Univer­sity ma­jor­ing in Math­e­mat­ics, and the other to Brieanna Robinson, who is at­tend­ing Univer­sity of Mary­land Eastern Shore ma­jor­ing in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The pro­gram be­gan with the au­di­ence singing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” by James Wel­don John­son, and ended with the singing of “We Shall Over­come.”

Din­ner for the ban­quet was by Helen Todd Cater­ing of Cen­tre­ville.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Part of the large au­di­ence that at­tended the sec­ond an­nual Queen Anne’s County NAACP Branch 7024 Free­dom Fund Schol­ar­ship Ban­quet, Satur­day af­ter­noon, April 29, at the Bay Coun­try Moose Lodge, in Queen­stown.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

From the left, Queen Anne’s County NAACP Branch 7024 Trea­surer Phyl­lis Brown presents key­note speaker Colonel Ste­wart W. Rus­sell, chief of the For­est Heights Po­lice Depart­ment, plaque fol­low­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion, Satur­day af­ter­noon, April 29, at the Bay Coun­try Moose Lodge in Queen­stown. Also pic­tured, Branch NAACP Pres­i­dent Eric Daniels.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Re­tired Queen Anne’s County ed­u­ca­tor Wil­lie Pauls, left, presents life­long county res­i­dent Charles Emory a plaque from Queen Anne’s County NAACP Branch 7024 for “out­stand­ing ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice above and be­yond the call of duty to the com­mu­nity” dur­ing the an­nual Free­dom Fund Schol­ar­ship Ban­quet.

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