TWELVE QUALITIES OF POLICE IN A FREE AND DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY:
AN INVITATION TO OUR NATION'S POLICE LEADERS
We are two former chiefs of police who are inviting our nation's police leaders, present and former, to support twelve specific policing values.
David Couper began his career as a police officer and detective in the Minneapolis Police Department and then served as chief of police in two departments, Burnsville, Minn. and Madison, Wis., for over 25 years. Michael Scott was a police officer in Madison, Wis., and went on to serve in various administrative positions in the New York City; Ft. Pierce, Florida, and St. Louis Metropolitan police departments and then as chief of police in Lauderhill, Florida. Together, we represent two generations of American policing.
David retired a number of years ago and pursued a career in pastoral ministry and has recently written a book about his career in Madison and improving police. Michael continues in the criminal justice field as a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.
Even if you do not know who we are, we would like you to know that we have devoted a good share of our lives toward improving the police profession through practice, management, writing, and teaching. We care about police. Now we feel the need to set forth a description of the critical qualities of policing in a democracy. And we ask you to join us in this grassroots effort to articulate our professional values.
We believe that police can be leaders in our nation by modeling and protecting our democratic values. We know police can do something about crime when we work collaboratively with those whom we serve. And police chiefs can initiate a new kind of modern leadership within our ranks that respects the men and women we are privileged to lead and listens to their good ideas about how we can improve policing.
We believe we are at a moment in our nation's history when police leaders need to stand up and define who we are, what we do, what it is we are trying to accomplish, and above all, to what values we are committed.
We have drafted the statement below that articulates those qualities of policing that we believe are essential in a free, open, and democratic society. We invite you who are current or former police leaders to read the statement and, if you agree with it, to endorse it by signing your name to it electronically and listing the names of the police agencies which you have led or now lead.
We are indebted to the police scholars, police officers, professional police associations, police unions, lawyers, elected officials, and citizen advocates who have also shaped our profession’s values, but we envision this statement coming from the men and women who now serve or have served as leaders in the police field.
At this time, we have no objective or plan for this statement, other than to make it. We have no political or personal agenda, only a professional one. If you choose to endorse the statement, we ask that you do so on the assumption that this is an open and public document, one with which you would be proud to be publicly associated. If it turns out that many police leaders, past and present, from across the nation, representing many types and sizes of police agencies, sign the statement, we might well consider issuing a press release about it and/or inviting our professional associations to make what use of it that they can in their own work. And, regardless of what we do with it, we invite you to use it as you see fit within your own police agency and community.