No Animosity, No Violence, Only Respect. Officer Shows What it Means to be a Good Cop
Elgin, IL -- Respect and compassion are ingrained in our beings. While some people never fully develop these qualities, others embrace them as a daily ritual.
Even in a profession characterized by brutality and disrespect of civil rights, individuals can buck the norm. In a video uploaded to Facebook, Sergeant Erickson, of the Elgin Police Department, demonstrates this with a refreshing display of civility, becoming a role model for police-citizen interactions.
A large group of young adults were hanging out and talking about cars at a parking lot in Elgin, when someone apparently complained about speeding and possibly loitering. As the area is private commercial property, the owners have the right to make non-paying customers move on.
Many cops would have approached the scene with antagonism and brimming violence, demanding ID's and making arrests, but Sgt. Erickson chose to view these people as his equals who deserved respect. Instead of using the incident as an opportunity to generate revenue and ill will, he laid out the situation and asked them to comply.
“Please. They will call and they will complain. The chief will get on me again. Then I'll get on my guys again and I'll have to do stuff that I don’t want to do. For example, write everybody for everything. I don't want to be that guy.
I didn't [inaudible] when I was a kid, and I really don't want to give [tickets] to you young kids that are just having fun.
So we need to keep it safe in Elgin, cool in Elgin. We can't loiter here unless we're buying something.
We can't turn it into loitering. If the store people put up signs and tell us they want to enforce it. I'd rather come here and treat you like adults and say, guys, please don't loiter.
Is that cool? Does anyone have questions?”
The equally respectful people seem to have no problem with this, and go on to banter with Erickson about how fast his police car goes.
He jokes back, “I drove better cars when I was younger.”
When respect is deserved and given by both parties, the outcome can only be good. It tends to break down stereotypes and chase away irrationality. Let’s hope there are more cops like Sgt. Erickson, and that they can spread this mentality among their colleagues.
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He finishes by saying, “I'm addressing you like adults because you are. Now if you show me a little respect back I'd really appreciate it. If you grab your food and do your chat and kind of break off, that'd be great.”
This is the kind of attitude that can bring about reform in the system.
In the comments section on the video, Sgt. Erickson's behavior is met with a warm reception, illustrating the power of treating people with respect instead of threats and intimidation.
Kristy Perez: Furthermore, much respect to the Sgt. for his respectful approach towards everyone. Give Respect, Get Respect.
Christina Shirley-Robledo: Great job Officer Erickson
Faith Taylor: I like the way he handled the situation giving the people the rules with the opportunity to be mature and responsible for their behavior.
Sebastian Rivera: Always fun when cops come by we always respect them. Give respect to get respect approached us like we are mature an not
Kids. Had a sense of humor while explaining. Not all Elgin cops are dicks I respect this guy
The Free Thought Project recently interviewed another law enforcement officer who possesses a sense of respect and rational thought and is active in promoting reform on behalf of citizens.
Officer Stephen Mills of the Apache, OK police department said to us in an exchange:
“People tend to only see things in relation to how it affects them, and dismiss any argument that doesn't fall into line with what they want it to be. In an investigation I call it the theory trap. You need to develop a theory of what you think happened and then try just as hard to prove it wrong as prove it right. Otherwise you are only going to recognize evidence that fits into your theory.
Everybody needs to be open to an opinion that isn't their own. They don't necessarily have to wind up agreeing, but they should at least have an open enough mind to look at it from a different perspective.”