ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust

An Issue Of Trust

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

All You Ever Really Need To Know About Trust You Learned In Kindergarten

Furnishing Trust And Empowerment

Eight Organizational Strategies That Build Trust

Trust In Whom

by Peter Block
Trust Columns
John Schuster

Cliff Bolster
Joel Henning
Dan Oestreich
Felicia Seaton-Williams
Trust Interviews
Trapeze Artist
Emergency Room Physician

Air Traffic Controller
Police Officer
Park Ranger


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Book Review


Trust By The Book
A Police Report on Trust

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?
There are two kinds of trust: What you expect and what you return. Trust to me, would mean faith in other people, society and that you’ll be treated fairly by them.

How does trust apply to your profession?
I think the public expects fairness from police officers, they trust you will do the right thing, that’s why they call upon you. The way you maintain trust with people is through professionalism. You only get 3-4 minutes with these people, the encounter doesn’t usually last very long, whether you’re giving them a ticket, giving them directions or taking a report. I think maintaining professionalism is the very best way to build trust. Being professional includes treating people fairly and treating them with respect and trust.

Without trust, what situations/consequences would you face?
If people don’t trust the police officer or if they have misconceptions about police it would affect us because we wouldn’t be treated with respect. I think we would encounter apathy. We wouldn’t get correct answers to questions, and even if we did get answers to our questions, we may not have actually received truthful information from the people because they didn’t trust us.

Can trust be repaired? If so, how?
You only get one first impression, if you blow that opportunity it is extremely difficult to repair trust. But the way you can repair it is by trying to treat people, the way you want to be treated. It all goes back to being professional, having respect for others and maintaining high standards.

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: It’s 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 don’t see that everyday, because you see the other part of society everyday: You’re going to an assault, you’re going for a rape, a homicide, you’re going to make an accident report or you’re going to report a theft. Most of the time you see the consequences of crime. But that’s 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 that’s out there and all the people that are happy, and trust that you’re doing your job, they feel safe and as a result they don’t call on you.

Being a police officer has affected my trust in people. I see many people who pay for small things. That’s the stuff I see all time. We see the one instance, and maybe they just weren’t paying attention, or they were having a bad day. I think that’s 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, they’ll see that their actions lead to this and they will understand that the police didn’t have anything to do with it, the police were just reacting to something that occurred in their environment. It’s hard to do. But at the same time, if you’re 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.

August '98 News for a Change | Email Editor

  • Print this page
  • Save this page

Average Rating


Out of 0 Ratings
Rate this item

View comments
Add comments
Comments FAQ

ASQ News