Tag Archives: Law Enforcement

Inside the Blue Line

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.

Jennifer_Davis 1

Jennifer Davis


Jennifer Davis
Human Resources Professional
Jennifer P Davis & Associates, LLC




Digging Deeper for the Balance of Fear and Crime

The topic of fear and crime has generated significant interest over the years and research has not come to any one single conclusion on what actually is the fear of crime. The fact that more people experience the fear of crime than victimization is a debatable topic. Maybe we can at least accept, to some degree, that when we separate fear and crime, fear can be summarized as an unpleasant emotion and/or perception derived from experiences felt, seen and/or heard about. Although the existence of fear is understandable yet unfortunate, fear is real and manifests itself in our wide-ranging lifestyles. These are often illustrated in numerous ways, such as how we live.  Whether it is the number of locks we have on our doors or the conservatisms’ of our spending habits to assure a “nest egg” is in place, we all prepare for and cope with our fears.

When we speak of crime, we should relate it to acts that violate written laws and ordinances intended to govern our actions as a people. Naturally, we combine crime with victimization and with the idea of being a victim of crime originates personalization that is linked to fear.  No one wants to be a victim. Therefore, we act in ways to minimize, if not eliminate, ourselves from becoming a victim.  Fear, when linked to crime, can often determine the way we live our lives. Unfortunately, too often our fear of being victimized by a crime is greater than the actual occurrence of crime in our neighborhoods. So lets give ourselves a bit of relief by saying that the feeling of fear is not our fault.

The experiences of all things good and bad are placed before us in abundance by various information outlets.  As Chief of the Gaston County Police, one aspect of my responsibilities is to provide you, through various forms of communication, some balance between fear of crime, the frequency of its occurrence and our ability to apprehend offenders who commit those crimes.  I would suggest that doing so reassures you that your Gaston County Police Department is completely engaged in the battle of reducing crime and victimization in Gaston County.  We work with diligence to solve criminal acts and reduce victimization so that it is not at the top of your concerns.

In fairness and respect for all law enforcement officials within Gaston County, when referring to crime and law enforcement efforts, the Gaston County Police Department and its citizens, the following statistics only represent the jurisdiction(s) for which your county police department is responsible.      If we took a comparative glimpse at some crime statistics that include only those North Carolina counties that boarder Gaston County with a broader scope of how we rank at the state level (North Carolina), U.S. southern states level and the United States as a whole, here is what we would find:

Agency Name Violent Crimes per 10,000 persons Violent Crime Clearance Rates Property Crime per 10,000 persons Property Crime Clearance Rates
Gaston Co. Police Dept. 24.49 88.14 130.22 44.94%
Cleveland Co. Sheriff’s Office 2.86 77.78 170.09 27.50%
Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Office 10.43 84.72 174.14 25.46%
Char-Meck Police Dept. 63.12 46.00 378.85 20.49%
State of N.C. 33.95 58.02 316.64 27.74%
U.S. Southern States 41.61 48.90 312.11 21.00%
United States 36.79 48.10 273.07 19.70%

Data for other agencies and areas is from 2013 State reporting and available at:  http://crimereporting.ncdoj.gov/ and  http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats

These statistics concerning crime and clearance rates give a fair view of how jurisdictions served by the Gaston County Police look from a comparative perspective. We could surmise by those statistics that we are doing well in the battle against crime and victimization in Gaston County.  However, it’s not enough.  Speaking as Chief, and for the members of the County Police Department, we are dedicated to analyzing and adopting practices that further reduce crime and the fear of crime from Gaston County.

It is fair to say that the frequency and types of crime that occur are predicated on many opportunistic factors to include geography, population and to some degree, the efficacy of a police departments and apathy or attentiveness of its citizens they serve.  Although the complete absence of fear and crime is not a reality, there are still fundamental ways we can dig deeper at moving forward together in an effort to reduce crime and the fear that it imposes.   I like to use the acronym T.A.L.K.             

Tell police what’s going on in your neighborhood                                                                              Attend community watch meetings                                                                                                 Listen to all sides before passing judgment                                                                                      Know your neighbors and their habits

The value of this acronym is that it encourages communication with both neighbors and police which arms both of us (police and citizens) with information and opportunities to impact the potential for crime in our neighborhoods.  As Chief of Police, I encourage you to TALK more.

James Buie                                                                                                                                       Chief, Gaston County Police