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Sheriff Reform Task Force Reports comment free

Hospitality vs. Security

Hospitality is probably the best word to describe the other side of the balance with Security. Hospitality is not painting on a silly smile and taking abuse. Rather, hospitality calmly clarifies the rules, privileges and options, whether in your home, your office, your street, your neighborhood, your nation or your jail. Hospitality balanced with security is what most folk want to expect from our public servants. Helping folk straighten out stupid situations usually opens folk up, better than intimidation. This balance is the basis of ‘good cop, bad cop.’

Indeed, the earliest religions dealt heavily in stories that model the balance of hospitality and security. Many told cautionary tales of folk who missed the balance. Isolation is rarely healthy. Friends and relatives both close and far help keep the peace and a healthy social life and growth. Trade usually brings in what is locally scares and makes for a better life and more peace. Most anthropologists agree the very earliest cities were trade centers. As they became storage centers and greed was easier, then raiding and warfare raised walls. Cities as industrial centers wasn’t a conscious goal until the Greeks. Yet the hospitality and security balance is still important.

Working the hospitality and security balance takes training and experience. This also takes leadership. Training takes money. Leadership may also be in short supply.

Classroom management research is where we first saw the four factors that soon emerged in office and business management. Recognize that management of classrooms, offices and businesses sets up the conditions for learning, getting work done and efficiency. Good outcomes follow good management. These four factors are:
1. Clarity of rules
2. Consistency of rules
3. Basic caring attitude
4. Stop problems before they start
Our laws are often mentioned as an example of bad management. Many laws are not clear. Many people feel law is applied even less clearly than laws are written, with factors like wealth, class and race adding mud. While jailers and police have long been enforcers and a haven for bullies, the lack of clarity and consistency cloud the caring attitude of many officers. Even Simonet could not always stop problems before they start.

Denver aligns with other cities in payout damages. Yet as an economic multiplier, for every dollar spent on prisons, police, military and security, on $0.75 comes back in taxes. Social programs return $1.25 on average and education returns $1.75 to $2 for every tax dollar spent. Yet we know that prisons, police, military and security are necessary for our economy to run. Partly we know that the most abused laws are drugs and traffic. Colorado is turning the corner on drugs and already making some tax profit. Traffic could use a major rethink, even cops don’t like traffic duty, but I’ll outline that elsewhere.

The balance between hospitality and security is the larger part. We have seen that the “Broken Windows” theory [] has proven well over the last 3 decades. People trash more trashy areas and vandalize more dilapidated neighborhoods. Politely warning people, that their walks need shoveling or tomorrow is their watering day, or they may be fined, works.


For Jailers:

Especially in a jail the importance of the four factors of good management is extreme. Overcrowding has proved sufficient stress to drive people and any species crazy. By this measure people are one of the most pacific animals on the planet. With the ongoing problems our jails stumble over we can clearly see that the current rules have not worked for a very long time.

While jails as holding cells is convenient and short term, note that historically, privileged folk were usually treated better. The same often held true for jails as punishment. Seems we’ve made the conditions given to the second class citizens as our norm for most, but still not all, when better conditions for all would be less stressful. Can we agree that overstressed people get themselves in trouble most? Stress reduction is a first principle if we actually want to help prisoners straighten out their lives.

Indeed the whole idea of jail as a place of punishment is suspect. Most people think jails are more appropriately termed schools of crime. The first step in treating people like people is the hospitality and security balance.

If jails are to be rehab centers, then behavior can warrant privileges of work and play, additional therapy above mandates, education of every level and good behavior time. Food, clothing, shelter and warmth are required and comfort is a privilege. Like outside life, striving to success in work, play education and such, may themselves be rewarded with greater privileges.

Violence is the last resort of the incompetent. And deputies, like officers, are supposed to be competent. Giving or taking privileges, in general, works much better. Restraint needs enough help to insure deputies are not hurt.

“I hope your stay with us is a pleasant one, for both of us,” both sides covered. Then privileges and duties, perhaps with a flier. If the prisoner is in cuffs or more, will they agree no violence.

Denver Cares is often called Denver Doesn’t Care, not a very hospitable reputation.

Arguing with drunks is usually silly. Obviously drunks are often oblivious, but second, argument is not calm control. Still, you should give them a chance to comply if only because it’s less work. An inmate who describes how he enjoyed your mother or the lurid things he is going to do to you, is obviously thinking and not reeling. Calmly comment that he is lucid so failure to comply is willful, now move.

Actually, a cup of coffee may give you a wide-awake drunk, and any water will help lower their blood alcohol and improve their control, assuming testing has been done. Really, when a person is hitting their sleep cycle their blood sugar drops, which combined with alcohol leaves them to buried anger, confusion or out of control. Coffee does raise their blood sugar and food can also really help your job.


For Cops

The cool, dispassionate, “Just the facts, ma’am,” Sgt. Friday of ancient Dragnet, works well with a open, frank, pre-super growth LA population, as Who Framed Roger Rabbit impugns. In a population that has grown guarded with the Denver Gestapo causing riots, dressed in black for intimidation, unwarranted government wiretaps, endless war at great profit for a few and holding cell beatings and deaths, an invitation to frank openness is called for. “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you in the court of law. But you seem in control of yourself, so I think we can probably clear this situation with a minimum of fuss. Tell me about it.”

Couple issues here. Miranda calls folk to think about the whole situation, rights, law and reality. “But” helps clarify the here and now. “You seem in control of yourself,” establishes rapport, for objective reports, hopefully, with an objective, open-minded police officer.

An educator, I assess actions and intentions. Young children can’t account for intent and adult drunks may have great intent but have knocked their mental and physical action down a couple levels. I also use ‘positive then negative’ to establish rapport then reality, “You may have meant well, but you really blew it.”

A cop pointing a gun at you will definitely get your attention. A cop with a good double grip but pointed in the air, signals there might be room to talk. A gunman with a slowly rising piece likely wants suicide by cop and gives the cop time for a second shot to the large body if a wing shot with nothing behind it misses. Of course the cop must be calm and experienced or trained to this split second decision. A step aside the gunman’s line of fire may create another fraction of a second.

We want cops, not pigs. Many veteran cops have never fired a shot. Again, the hospitality side of the balance with security very often clarifies situations.

Denver aligns with other cities in payout damages, better than the days of Denver Gestapo. Yet more can be done to train and offer regular feedback to balance hospitality and security.

If Michael Hancock wants to reform the Sheriff’s Department, he has a repository of local academics who can assess organization behavior. We can put words and policies to vague intent.

Walt Geisel
#710, 3130 Louisiana
Denver 80219

cc: Open Forum
cc: Mayor
1stt paragraph read 2014:September:23 Public Meeting: host appreciated but not a lot of reaction

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