Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I'll take honey over vinegar any day

I spent my day yesterday intervening in a DV crisis involving two of my students. Yuck.

But there was one good thing about the situation--an encounter with a really good cop.

The school resource officers I've worked with in the past leave something (tact, professionalism, empathy) to be desired. They barge in our office like they own the place, harumphing their way around, making us feel incompetent and violated. I heard from a student about how they harshly questioned her after a violent rape, and it made me furious.

When I first called in the campus police to file a report, the two guys described above (harumphers) barged in, and although they lowered their usually loud and authoritative voices slightly, I heard them ask my student in an accusatory way, "so did you ever abuse or hurt him? was it mutually abusive?" Like it makes a difference. They might as well have said "Oh! So you pushed him off you, and dug your nails in his arms while he was choking you? Oh, well that explains it! You totally deserved it, worthless human being."

So when they got called out to another emergency, and the new cop came along, I was very glad. First of all, he stood quietly and unassumingly in the front lobby, asked if he could come in (versus barging in and acting the fool), and very gently and compassionately approached the student. Just his presence in the room felt like a breath of fresh air, rather than the feeling imparted by the other guys, as if the four walls would come crashing in at any moment.

The rest isn't as important. What matters is that he was different. Better. Empathic and encouraging and non-blaming.

I saw him today on campus and after following up on the case I told him how much I appreciated him. I told him that his actions with the student were amazingly professional and caring. Being the humble guy that he is, he just thanked me and shrugged his shoulders, saying "I've just found that honey works better than vinegar."

He couldn't have said it any better. If officers #1 and #2 were vinegar, he was pure, sweet honey.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Have y'all seen Crash? Sometimes it's easy to point the finger at Law Enforcement Officers for being harsh and assuming. The Crash movie depicts a single day in the life of two LEOs. These folks risk their life for folks who could care less..

Crash showed me how easy it is for us to take for granted how dangerous law enforcement really is.

talk to you later..

Ben P.