After you join a law enforcement agency, the idea is that as you proceed in your law enforcement career, middle class hidden rules become more and more prevalent and begin to mold the type of police officer you are and your performance in the community.
But then we take someone with middle class rule experience, we teach them the middle class rules, put them in a middle class environment at work, and then when we ask them to go out and patrol the streets of the community. Where do we put them?
Well, we put them in the areas that are generally ridden with poverty, with high calls for service. People who are in wealth do not call law enforcement for many of the challenges of their lives. But in poverty-stricken areas, you get calls all the time that are not necessarily police related.
When I was at Tulsa Public Schools as campus police chief, it was not uncommon at all for frustrated parents in poverty to call and say, “I can’t get my child out of bed. I can’t get my child to go to school. I need you to come and help me get my child to go to school.”
Some of the most personal issues within a family are presented to police officers for service and for conflict resolution. It can be very frustrating to people who exist and work in a middle class environment to go back into these areas and to understand what is happening.
As a law enforcement officer, but particularly as a law enforcement executive, I’ve really found that using the concepts related to the Bridges program as it’s emphasized in Tactical Communication that Jodi Pfarr put together really helped my people to understand better the people they were trying to serve.
Listen to the podcast to hear more from Chief Rudick. You can also check out Getting Ahead While Getting Out, a prison reentry program that builds on Phil DeVol’s Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World.