August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust
Trust In Whom
by Peter Block
Emergency Room Physician
Air Traffic Controller
Trust By The Book
For the past 24 years, Mike Neumann has dedicated his life to serving the city of Cincinnati as a police officer. On a daily basis, he deals with people committing rape, homicide, battery, robbery and assault. Despite the dark side of human beings and everyday life, Neumann has a positive outlook. He has trust in human goodness. And all he asks is for people to simply return that trust to him.
What is your definition of trust?
How does trust apply to your profession?
Without trust, what situations/consequences would you
Can trust be repaired? If so, how?
Some people mistrust officers and they get upset with us for doing our job.
There is a grave misconception about police officers. About one percent of people cause most of the problems: Its the same people committing crimes over and over. In actuality a good 96-98 percent are pretty happy with the service they receive and trust the police are doing a good job.
This past year two officers were killed and the outpouring was tremendous. The support from the community was overwhelming. If you look to that, the support that the police have, is just tremendous. Unfortunately, it only came out because of that tragedy. So, you dont see that everyday, because you see the other part of society everyday: Youre going to an assault, youre going for a rape, a homicide, youre going to make an accident report or youre going to report a theft. Most of the time you see the consequences of crime. But thats only the tip of the iceberg, you never really see the larger part, the rest of the iceberg. All the good people, the good society, all the support thats out there and all the people that are happy, and trust that youre doing your job, they feel safe and as a result they dont call on you.
Being a police officer has affected my trust in people. I see many people who pay for small things. Thats the stuff I see all time. We see the one instance, and maybe they just werent paying attention, or they were having a bad day. I think thats why if we treat people with respect and fairness, even though they get arrested, if you do it fairly and you respect them, they should not have a bad attitude. They should realize that they made a mistake and they should take responsibility for their actions. If they do that, theyll see that their actions lead to this and they will understand that the police didnt have anything to do with it, the police were just reacting to something that occurred in their environment. Its hard to do. But at the same time, if youre pulling someone over and they are drunk, although they may be upset it can give them faith and trust that the police are out there trying to keep the streets safe and protect the people they serve.