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Complete public transparency

We all know that whether the officer's actions are justifiable or not depends on the totality of the circumstances known to the officer at the time of the incident


Recently, an Alabama officer was fired over a TASERing incident that happened in local jail.

Just having the newspaper article and a piece of video footage isn't enough to make a decision on whether the use-of-force in any incident is justifiable or not. As an expert witness, I know the importance of getting all the facts first, i.e. all interviews, reports, documents, videos, personnel files, internal affair findings, etc.

We all know that whether the officer's actions are justifiable or not depends on the totality of the circumstances known to the officer at the time of the incident.

The real importance of this recent news article is not whether the officer's actions are justifiable or not but rather a concept that Dr. George Thompson of the Verbal Judo Institute developed shortly before his death referred to as Complete Public Transparency.

This concept refers to the fact that everything that an officer does will eventually come out to and be reviewed in the full light of day. There are no longer any dark alleys or dark cells, for that matter, for the officer's actions to be hidden by.

Although the change had already begun more than twenty years ago, after the global media frenzy of the Rodney King Video, it has now exploded into an era of Complete Public Transparency. I posted a video showing the Rodney King video for our new officers who weren't around for this incident that for once and all changed how law enforcement use-of-force is viewed. This incident and others like it created a reasonable doubt in the eyes of our citizens that the officer(s) may have used too much force.

At no time in history has police business been more public. Police response, both appropriate and improper, is no longer just caught on the front page of a newspaper or on television. Police business is now being posted on YouTube where 100,000s, even millions of people, watch it over and over again.

Our actions are now immortal and capable of being viewed forever on the Internet. This is one of the major differences in police work from a decade ago. Never before has the need for professional police conduct been more important.

As Dr. Thompson loved to say, "You need to look good and sound good or no good." We, the police, need to be act, talk, and be more professional than ever before.

Our personal and professional survival demands it.

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