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Powell: Officer professionalism to be some extent of emphasis

MORGANTOWN — In accordance with the proverb, you catch extra flies with honey than vinegar. 

It’s a manner of claiming, “be good.” 

Whereas it’s in all probability naive to suppose regulation enforcement officers can use a sunny disposition to catch extra criminals, Morgantown Police Chief Eric Powell stated perspective is an extremely necessary side of police work, significantly when partaking with members of the neighborhood. 

Throughout a latest dialog with the Morgantown Civilian Police Assessment and Advisory Board, Powell stated he plans to place a renewed give attention to individuals expertise — in different phrases, perspective changes. 

“There’s a lot of points proper now with our division relating to professionalism and the way they deal with individuals and the way they speak to individuals, and I’m within the strategy of addressing that proper now. I feel that may go a good distance. It’s a piece in progress. You establish issues and also you attempt to tackle them the simplest manner you possibly can. It’s a wrestle generally,” he stated. 

Powell doesn’t consider the difficulty is department-wide. He stated he’s witnessed a latest uptick in what he calls a “bully mentality” primarily throughout interactions with “drunk children.” 

He stated an officer’s perspective and demeanor units the tone for every interplay. Establishing belief and even a form of rapport with a person, when doable, can head off loads of issues.

“It’s largely nearly how officers are interacting with individuals; how they’re approaching what they’re doing. They’re not utilizing de-escalation methods … It nearly jogs my memory of a kind of us-against-them mentality. Somewhat than making an attempt to resolve points they’re implementing issues. I don’t need that to be how we function,” he stated. “We’re making an attempt to maneuver away from it. I feel we’re doing what we’re alleged to be doing by way of monitoring it and calling it out once we see it. It’s one thing that takes time.”  

It was identified by Powell and others that law enforcement officials are like everybody else in that they every deliver unknown stressors, stress and frustrations to work every day. 

That stated, board member Bryan Church added, they’re not doing simply any job. 

“Regardless that you’re topic to the identical flaws, biases, prejudices and all these issues, you’re held to the next normal, and you have to be,” Church stated. “You’ll be able to deprive somebody of their liberty. You’ll be able to deprive somebody of their life. You might have loads of issues occurring that different individuals in jobs don’t have.” 

Powell agreed. 

“I worth the professionalism this job ought to aspire to. I at all times felt like it is best to by no means, form of, go beneath that degree of professionalism simply to have the ability to successfully talk with somebody. You must at all times be above it,” he stated. “And after I see it occur, and, like I stated, I’ve seen it occur much more not too long ago — at evening with drunk children, often — I’ve noticed it and I’ve taken observe of it, and I need it to come back to an finish. I feel there’s many instances once we aren’t approaching and interacting with individuals the best way we should always.”