In a national mood of potential renewal, I invite not only police to be tangibly present in our neighbourhoods as officers on the beat - but to be encouraged to learn more of what keeping the peace actually means.
For the presence and demeanour that we demonstrate communicates atmospherically. Everyone is part of keeping the peace to the degree that we share a presence of acknowledgement and respect. But like anemones - we communicate fear or threat by being drawbridged and evasive.
In focusing on the mindset of looking for trouble(makers) - the role of 'fighting crime' substitutes for keeping the peace. This role needs to be activated when appropriate and deactivated when no longer needed. A mind alert and at rest - in connected relationship founded in a genuinely felt shared purpose - NOTICES - and shares much more than the mind engaged in predatory mode.
To the mentality that only considers symptoms, my words may seem irrelevant or whimsy - but sooner or later it will be realized that fear based actions raise the level of fear. This could be called the level of distrust and a fragmentation of society into private egos - often without a real sense of community or belonging.
Of course policemen and women are to use proportionate means to uphold the law - but the way in which this is done often tends to an institutionalized lack of respect or disregard for actual members of the public they are supposed to serve.
Alas in our 'terrorized state' - and with civil unrest increasingly likely - our policemen are more and more felt as agents of the state rather than protectors of the community with powers accorded them by the state.
Law and order is a symptom of true social health - and this is not something that the police can 'do' - but a culture of trust and communication can replace a culture of blame and exclusion.
Adversarial politics results in the pursuing of selfish interests at the expense of the common good. But selfishness need not be reinforced as the truth of human beings - even if the consumer economy 'insinuates' a 'getting' mentality as fulfilment.
There is ALWAYS a deeper level than the symptoms suggest - and this is not dealt with by budgets but by the courage that can only come from valuing the presence peace above one's own private sense of self interest.
The only time that such a cultural renewal can 'take' - is when there is `an opportunity such as we are in - when a sense of inspiration and hope opens a greater sense of possibility than the old programs.