SEABROOK SAYS: Jennifer Davis is a Gaston native who retired from IBM. Now she is a very successful consultant serving clients in Gaston, Mecklenburg and other area counties. She is very actively helping find solutions for the common good. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?
Working with law enforcement was never on my bucket list. But, for the past 22 years or so, I have had the privilege of going “inside the blue line” and being bathed in blue. It may not have been on my list, but I have found it to be the most rewarding and frustrating thing I’ve ever done. In those 22 years, I have been fortunate to work with dozens of agencies from here to California, often in some not so pleasant times
My initiation into working with cops came during a time of tension and unrest within a department and the community it served. I was asked to explore some issues with their employees, compile results and information, and make recommendations to address. I had no idea what to expect and, I must say, was pleasantly surprised with the results. As a result of that experience, I forged relationships and friendships with officers that are still intact today….including the detectives who were assigned to us when our son, Sean, died. For me, this work is personal.
Despite the negative news that often captivates us, the vast majority of the men and women who choose to wear the uniform are some of the finest people I know. The overwhelming majority of them are kind, caring, men and women who feel “called” to this profession to “serve and protect” – especially for who cannot protect or care for themselves.
I’m not so naïve to believe all cops are good. I’ve met a few that I felt needed to quit, die, or retire. But, neither are all teachers, preachers, lawyers, managers, consultants….well, you get the picture…. good. As a consultant, I go where I am invited. Better yet, I get to decide whether or not to accept the invitation. Police go where they are called and not going is just not an option. Often their sense of value and appreciation must come from within themselves. Other than our military, who else that straps on pounds of gear and equipment every day, runs toward threats, danger, and unpredictable situations, sometimes only to find themselves being targeted, resisted, shot at or cursed.
Recently, the Gaston County Citizens and Clergy Coalition (GC3) and Gaston County law enforcement entered into a covenant committing to “work together across lines of race, creed, class, gender, and location” to create and maintain a stronger and better community. For us average citizens who have high expectations for our officers, it means we commit to work for and with them to ensure they are properly paid, trained, and equipped to keep our communities safe. It also means we do what we can to expose and remove from the profession those who do not honor their oath. For officers, it means they pledged to uphold their oath of office to support and maintain the laws of our state and nation. Together it means we will have stronger, better, and safer communities, places where we are all proud to live and work.
What can we as average citizens say or do? Respect the badge; say “thank you” to a cop; pay for a meal or a cup of coffee once in a while; pray daily for them and their safety; honor them in your churches and organizations; address negative stereotypes and generalities when you hear them; identify and encourage men and women who may be interested in this noble profession; and, sign your name to the covenant, when given the opportunity.
I am often reminded of an officer’s response to me when I asked “why, in this day and time, do you want to be a cop?” His answer: “I want to be in a place where doing the right thing is the right thing to do.”
Shouldn’t we all.
Human Resources Professional
Jennifer P Davis & Associates, LLC