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  • #16
    Still, shadows, this board of working cops has said it...there is NO "role conflict." Any and every cop I've worked with, who was worth their salt, who wasn't washed out after a few months, or left LE after a year or two when realizing it wasn’t for them, has no difficulty in figuring that one out. There are times when we must use some serious “people skills” but a modern professional officer can revert between these personas easily, and doesn’t have the opinion he/she is a social worker, or SHOULD be a social worker.

    As several said, we have never even heard of the term or the issue-evidence someone who wrote the textbook or curriculum is trying to over think the issue-a common trait of the non-participant. This is not a slam on you-I encourage you to continue your study and make the best grade possible, as more and more agencies look for “education” (which of course, to them, has been oversimplified to simply mean “college”.) But afterwards, BE A PARTICIPANT! Of course, it sounds as if that’s your plan. I also applaud you for asking and verifying for yourself the things they are filling their textbooks with-with that mentality, you will go far, in education and law enforcement, as well as life. I personally loathe anyone who BLINDLY follows four years of curriculum and then assumes they “know” more than anyone who doesn’t have the degree. In other words, don’t get into LE and take up anyone’s time telling them that the poor little inner city kid is more prone to crime and violence because of the angst he feels from growing up in poverty and without a positive male role model…blahblahblah. We all know that…but we are problem solvers, not academics. The knowledge is fine, but IRRELEVANT on the street. Many choose to try to mix the two…maybe that’s where the “social worker” image still tries to manifest itself! Most of the guys and gals I know admit that the degree is useless on the street. DON’T share this with the professor-he’ll just say I’m an uneducated “hick” and don’t know what I’m talking about!

    I have seen some officers that wanted to delve way too far into the personal lives of customers and go out of their way to try to be the "social worker" but most don't last in the real world of modern LE. They usually leave for various “personal reasons.”

    Bear in mind here that the "social worker" image and stereotype originated many years ago when there was no such thing as mandatory arrest or a “pro arrest policy” for domestic violence. Being the “social worker” THEN was just good police work, and officer survival, since the female victims almost never pressed charges, so the cycle repeated itself often, with no end in sight, so officers tried their hat at being shathouse social workers, in attempt to try to limit their exposure times on repeat calls.

    Now, I find that walking in, arresting everyone who took an offensive part does a TREMENDOUS job at reducing repeat calls. It was like night and day in 1994 when my agency, acting on advice from the State Attorney General, and following the lead of other agencies in the area, went to a mandatory arrest policy on DV, regardless of whether or not the victim cooperated or pressed charges. At homes where we had seen calls every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, we walked in and took Bubba to jail (here it is a mandatory 48 hours at “no bond” and then bond is set AFTER 48 hours.) Bubba goes to jail on Friday night and sits there until about lunch Monday, misses half a day at work, has a court date with the OFFICER pressing charges for Assault on a Female, and all of the sudden, it dawns on him, “You know, I better not do this again…” I’m not saying it stopped them cold-I’d be a liar. I did however personally see repeat calls at the same homes drop to nil, and the severity of assaults drop, after word got out.

    I know DV still happens, but modern day laws help us act in the role we’re REALLY trained for and paid to be, AND reduce exposure time for me, my guys, and my fellow officers. Some people actually argue with them, saying they’re “too harsh” or that now the women are afraid to report it, knowing he’ll go to jail-OH FREAKING WELL! I can take it longer than they can.

    So to summarize, yes to people skills at times (patience, sympathy, empathy, calm dialogue, sincere desire to help WITHIN THE PARAMENTERS OF LAW ENFORCMENT AND ACCEPTED POLICE PROCEDURES) and NO to the notion that any modern (even “educated&#8221 working patrol officer or supervisor has any “difficulty” in “role conflict.”
    People have more fun than anybody.

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    • #17
      While I disagree somwhat with the term "role conflict", the phrase is used to refer to conflict in role expectations or divergence (twenty dollar word for the day) in what we see our role as and what it actually ends up being.

      The key is not what our role really is or isn't, but rather what we and others believe our roles are.

      What I think of most in terms of "role conflict" are, say, when you're working a rape case. You're job is to find the perp and put him away. But you always find yourself dealing with the victim's emotions. Being sensitive to them and their needs.

      I'm not sure I really consider this a conflict as I consider this part of the job. You need to interview them and work closely with them and part of that will include not telling them, to "shut up" about how they feel. That would be extremely unprofessional. They certainly wouldn't feel comfortable describing the details of the assault to you if you act like an uncaring [email protected], y'know?

      And this is why I am more comfortable with the term "role expectation conflict". I've seen many officers, myslef included, who inwardly felt a little frustrated that we end up in those situations without better preparation for them. I've heard officers say things like, "Man, that isn't my job.", or, "I'm not supposed to have to do that.", or, "That's not my job to do so I am not doing it."

      When we view our own job (our own role expectations) as investigating and prosecuting criminals and do not view our roles as including a little hand holding, then this can help to creat additional stress for us. We resist the responsibility and when forced to accept it, we are still reluctant which causes more frustration about it.

      OTOH, when victims naturally turn to us because we are symbols of strength only to hear that we don't want to hear about anything but "facts" of the case, then they can become frustrated.

      Being the police, our job is to respond to, prevent, and prosecute crime. Nowhere in our job description is it mentioned that you will counsel with the needy.

      As another example, I'll offer this. We've all had to do death notifications, but how many of us had any training in how to do it? How many of us were told, "You're going to have to do this. This is the way you do it."

      If we received a call of "somebody is depresed, go talk to them" you'd say, "are you nuts, that's not my job" But when you are on a case or a call sometimes, you end up doing just that only it's in the context of soething else.

      We are there to gather facts and evidence, but we end up dealing with emotions, and people naturally turn to us for other advice relating to the offense. This is, from my understanding, what is refered to by "role conflict".

      I've usually heard it only in the context of talking about officer stress. You'll hear officers talk about how frustrated they are that people look to them to solve or help with certian problems which are not their responsiblity or job.
      -Sparky

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      • #18
        Id like to thank all who replied and helped me out with my questions. I found it very interesting to see the night and day differences between what actual experience birngs to answering my questions compared to what my text book actually trys to explain. BTW I checked out about the author...I dont see anything about police experience...Dont ya think a book titled "Law Enforcement" should be written by someone with experience?

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