Two Way Street

Two Way Street Image-1

I am just sitting at my computer and trying to make some sense out of what is happening in our country.

We had a police shooting of a civilian just down the road from our office. The location actually is immaterial. Except it maybe is very material because it magnified the situation. I know it shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t have happened. Not in New York or LA or Chicago….but certainly not in Falcon Heights Minnesota.


I am getting old but it used to be that many many police officers worked their entire careers without ever HAVING to pull out their gun. I always thought that was something that they took a lot of pride in. I would expect that many officers had situations during those careers where they would have been well justified to pull their weapon….but they didn’t.

I am not so naive to not recognize how much things have changed. We have to TELL people to pull over for a siren and flashing lights. We have to TELL people that they should move to the left lane when a squad car has a vehicle stopped on the roadway.

Communication skills and knowing the people on your beat. Those two things had to go hand in hand. Think about it. If you see someone on a fairly regular basis you start to acknowledge them. You maybe talk to them. You might get to know them. You could even begin to understand them. Feel for them and care about them. How different that must have been. What a feeling for both an officer and for a citizen, a member of the community, a neighbor to have an actual relationship with the police who watch over, assist and protect them. To feel comfortable talking to the officer. To maybe even….look forward to seeing the officer! WOW

It was a two way street. The officers by virtue of being there every day felt a real sense of pride and commitment and value that they added to their area. The interaction that they had allowed them to “work” with the people. They used their knowledge to occasionally make judgment calls. What I mean is that officers used discretion. They knew that sometimes people get angry, they say things, they argue, they fight, and the officers wanted peace and harmony for the long haul, so rather than making arrests, issuing citations and using other legal remedy’s those police used common sense, compassion and communication.

Everything about what has happened makes me extremely sad. A man in our community is dead. Good local people are upset and joining the national movement for change. Police are being drawn into death shoots. I do not wonder why officers are on edge. Why they HAVE to approach any stopped vehicle with caution, suspicion and holster loose. Somehow we have got to find a way to make our way back a little closer to how it used to be. Somehow we have to get to know the officers in our area and they have to make an effort to get to know us.

It is a two way street. Please meet me in the middle. I’d love to get to know your name and shake your hand.

Rob McDowell

President of the McDowell Agency  (651) 644-3880

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