Don’t roll your eyes, but authority figures get a bad rap. Hopedale police officers, for example. To serve and protect and defend thyself against thine angry mob… Wait, what?
Part of creating our own happiness is advocacy for our local communities! Don’t get me wrong – some truly evil people have taken horrible advantage of their positions of power and used that authority to abuse citizens who were in many cases respectful, law-abiding, and black. And that is in NO way okay.
That having been said, there are evil people in the world. Some of them are police officers, some of them are teachers, some of them are lawyers and doctors. And then there are non-evil people – like the Hopedale Police Department. I have lived in this town for two years and have probably called the nonemergency police line 10 times to report excessive speeding on my street. The speed limit is 30 and it is thickly settled, plus our house is unfortunately close to the road. I worry for the safety of the drivers on our street, my neighbors and my family. And also I’ll admit, I’m a little offended by it! I love our home and our little neighborhood and I want to others to respect its sanctity as well. Okay well maybe nobody else has to respect the sanctity of our street, but still – people shouldn’t speed in neighborhoods!
Anyway 🙂 – my point is, I’m a nut about speeders and bug the police a lot. Every time I have called, the dispatcher very politely asks me the same required questions and tells me that she’ll let them know. And then she does, and the police spend a little more time here and/or put up a speed radar sign. In fact, I had a lovely talk with Police Chief Mark Giovanella this morning after I left him a message asking him to consider putting up additional signage or let me know how I can help. He called me back promptly and very politely ensured that he was pronouncing my name correctly before sharing his sympathy about speed limit violations not only on my street, but on two or three other nearby streets.
Chief Giovanella said that the flashing speed signs freeze up in the winter, so he’s stored them away – he also shared that the police are currently slightly understaffed.
To me, it did not sound like excuse-making. He was simply sharing the facts of his work. And I, as a neurotic and attentive citizen, appreciate his honesty and earnest hard work (his Chief’s Corner section of the Hopdale Police website says “Our focus as an organization is customer service, and giving back to our citizens. We are committed to service excellence, and value you as our customer” and I have to say, he and his officers live up to their commitments with this Hopedale resident.)
Here’s the thing – some cops are bad. Like racist, murderous, BAD bad bad. But my question is, what can WE do about it? Well, lucky for me, I’m a middle-class white woman with a good job and no arrests under my belt (I plan to keep it that way, for the record – I’m reading Orange is the New Black). When I was a 21 year old bank teller and frustrated as hell with the bureaucracy, my Mom told me “you can fix a lot more from the inside than you can from the outside.” And she was right!
Here are the two morals of the story –
1. Authority figures can be wonderful (I happen to be married to a bank manager – he’s the best guy I know), and
2. We might find mutual benefit in respectful, persevering partnerships with them! Chief Giovanella told me (when I said we want to help make Hopedale better) that he could always use more support for the police force at town meetings.
So if you find yourself frustrated, confused or infuriated by an authority figure (or even better, anyone at all), consider their perspective. Consider their restraints. And consider that, just like you and me, they are just doing their best and some days are better than others – so you and I can do our best as well, which sometimes means….as admittedly brown-nosey as this sounds, raising your hand for the protection of yourself and those around you, and stepping up to partner with others who believe in what we do.
I think the best days of all are when we consciously connect with ourselves and those around us. Thank you for reading, and please let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I’m so honored to share this community with you 🙂