Police Psychology: The Way of the World

Posted: August 24, 2017 in Mastering Resilience

Police Psychology: The Way of the World

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

It was right outside my window, in the front of my driveway.  A cop pulled over two teenaged boys on their bikes after the boys had yelled some obscenities at them and made a not-so nice gesture with parts of their hands.  A woman walking her dog stopped and asked if everything was all right and the officer said these boys had yelled some obscenities at him when he pulled them over to warn them about riding their bikes in the road.  He asked what she thought of that.

The woman laid into the boys “how dare you make obscene gestures at people who risk their lives to keep our neighborhood safe.  You are an embarrassment to yourselves and your poor families that have to live with you.”  Another neighbor came by who was working in the yard and let into them in a similar fashion.  “You don’t have any idea what these officers do for you every day.”   Finally, a third lady overheard the conversation and she crossed the street to join in and after identifying the boys she said she was going to tell the boys’ parents.  I had to check if I was still in New York where the neighbors barely talk to each other and never support their police.  I was.  And this is happening all over the country from what I am hearing from blog readers.

Not since the aftermath of 9-11 have people been as supportive of the men and women in blue.  This officer knew what he was going to get when he asked the first woman.  He was more confident than he has been for years.  Two years ago they were screaming “pigs in a blanket; fry ‘em like bacon” Now you see positives at ballgames, in the news and the cops are feeling it on the streets:  there is a new attitude about police officers.  AND IT IS ABOUT TIME.

This is a cycle of nature and it seems the cycles run faster and faster.   Love the cops, hate the cops.  Vote Republican-Democrat.  Eat more grains-eat more meat.  Market up-market down.  The cycles of the world are daunting sometimes and as you get older, it is difficult to recognize what cycle you are in.  And it happens in everything from music to clothes to politics.  The pendulum swings both ways.

What is the psychology of switching directions of a cycle.  Well the personal psychology is easier to understand.  Some people handle change well-some don’t.  With change there is opportunity but also a lot of stress.  Even good changes bring stress.  We just had carpets changed in our offices, a long-needed improvement.  It was interesting to see how people handle it.  For most – it was no problem.  Some patients brought it up ten times during a session.  Other said isn’t it great you get to clean your office when it was over.  People handle change differently.

 The world is going through some major changes now.  Everyone is adjusting for position.  Everyone seems to be angry either at the president or at the people protesting the president.  Then some seem to not care about the situation, or have been made to not care.  No one seems to be paying attention to the news anymore as they can’t trust the reporting on either side.  But strangely enough, few that I communicate with seem to be focused on the opportunities that are out there from the changes that are being made.  In those opportunities are your real futures and where you can progress toward whatever goals you have set for yourself or your department.  Ride the wave, adjust the sails and find an opportunity that the disruption of change will create for you to make life closer to reaching your goals.

The cop in front of my house would never have said what he did to a female passerby two or three years ago.  I don’t even know if he could trust the response now, but he did and used it as an opportunity to make kids understand that cops are not to be treated the way they were treating him.  Now is time when cops need to come out with a lot of positive articles and promotion about them because it will change back before too long.  These opportunities don’t come along every day, just once or twice a lifetime.  That’s nature, the way of the world. 


Site Administrator:  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

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