Experience will always guide police culture
Re How ‘informal,’ veiled culture affects policing, Opinion, May 25
(Former Toronto police board chairperson) Alok Mukherjee writes about bias and an informal culture shaping a police officer’s “working personality.”
Police culture will not be changed by academics or by policies created through transformational objectives. Police culture develops from the experiences officers acquire in the performance of their duties.
Officers who serve in a high-crime area and experience more contacts with adversarial individuals and answer calls where there are higher incidents of violence more than likely will refer to the instigators as a--holes, while those who work in areas where the crimes are primarily non-violent reflect a somewhat different culture.
Being apprehensive and suspicious are normal qualities for police, since many people give their own version of events, and also because the officer has to determine whether there is an element of danger to themselves.
Mukherjee’s comment about whether formal interventions alone — laws, rules, policies, training and education — can get at the invisible phenomenon is purely academic. The real training and education is obtained by the officers in the field and by their experiences.
Perhaps, as a society, we should be more concerned about the culture of those who are the instigators of problems, whether they be anti-social or criminal, rather than police culture. Norman Gardner, former chairperson, Toronto police board