The Business of Ethics
Just before Thanksgiving, Gallup released results from its annual poll on how much Americans respect police officers. In this poll, Gallup asks people to describe their level of respect, ranging from a “great deal” to “hardly any” at all.
Before I tell you about the results, please take a moment to reflect about what has occurred during the last few years.
Because of smart phone cameras, body cameras and in-car police cameras, the public is exposed to more police activity than ever before. Mainstream media and social media outlets reach huge numbers of people with their videos that feature police shootings, pursuits, and use-of-force incidents.
It seems now, more than ever, civilians are demonstrating against what they believe are injustices. They’re second guessing how police officers do their jobs, and they’re vocalizing their frustration about these police-related incidents.
Yet surprisingly, in the midst of this bad news about police officer activity, 76 percent of Americans who responded to the Gallup poll said they have a “great deal” of respect for police officers and the jobs they do, and only 7 percent were dissatisfied or said they have “hardly any” respect for the officers who serve their communities. In small towns and rural areas, police officers scored even higher marks, receiving a “great deal” of respect from more than 80 percent of respondents. In rural and metropolitan areas, these numbers reflect the highest overall ratings of respect for officers in almost 50 years–since 1967.
As you can imagine, I am extremely proud of our officers and dispatchers who selflessly serve our communities so we can remain safe. In fact, I’m super-duper proud of the important work of all our first responders—police, fire, medical and dispatch. These people truly make our communities better.
Especially with such a vigorous national debate and emotional public demonstrations about how policing should occur, it is refreshing to know that here in our small town, the majority of community members are proud of our officers and the fantastic job they do.
Having public support is extremely reassuring and it makes the sacrifices required of our officers a little easier to accept. Between January and December, 137 U.S. officers died in the line of duty (11 died right here in California). That’s a 15 percent increase from last year. When we know we have our community’s support, it’s easier to face the danger and take the necessary risks to keep people safe.
Here in Ukiah, we pride ourselves on having officers who perform ethically each and every day. In fact, before officers are allowed to join our department, we make sure they understand that policing is an ethics-based profession.
To do this, we train new officers on how to use our core values every time they make a critical decision. We also use these core values during hiring and promotions, and during annual evaluations.
These are the values we developed years ago, and that we continue to promote every day:
Safety: We value human life and strive to enable our citizens to be safer and less likely victimized by crime.
Professionalism: We value dedicated, highly trained personnel with a commitment to the standards of the law enforcement profession.
Community Service: We value the privilege to provide effective, efficient and equitable service. We respect the members of our community, the importance of a combined crime prevention alliance and the opportunity to provide a united policing effort.
The New Year always seems like a great time to establish new goals, and here at the Ukiah Police Department we are committed to continuing to work to earn your respect. We are extremely grateful for your support, and we feel there is no better time than now to re-commit ourselves to our values.
Thank you for supporting our department! Happy New Year.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.