Policing By J.R. PHiLLIPS

The major social teachings that apply to police officers in particular are the social teachings of solidarity, dignity in work, care for creation, and human dignity. These four Catholic social teachings are inherently connected to the profession of policing in a many ways.

The Pope talks about how people should have solidarity and stand with your fellow person and moreover the Jesuits say you should be men and women for and with others, this quality can translate very well in to the world of law enforcement. Law enforcement officers are excellent examples of how people can show solidarity and be a man or woman for and with others in everything that they do, they show this by helping people who are in need every day like women or men who are being abused in a relationship by their significant other. This is showing solidarity on the officer’s part because they are standing up for the person who is being mistreated in the relationship and is also making sure that they are protected and the perpetrator is told of their mistreatment and is either punished or is warned of the penalty’s behind their actions.

Another way that police officers show solidarity is with each other in their time of sorrow or in their time of need. This can be seen as the characteristic “blue wall of silence”, in this the police officers stand with each other and understand all of the pain and suffering that they go through on daily basis and when one officer is in need or has a “bad call” they all band together to support the officer and help them deal with whatever is bothering them or they are struggling with. In this way, the officers are showing solidarity for each other by helping each other so that the stress of the job doesn’t become too much for them and they don’t become burnout.

Law enforcement officers have dignity in their work because every day they go into work, they are tasked with helping people and interacting with the general public constantly in positive interactions like playing basketball with local kids and also in negative interactions like when they have to arrest someone for violating a law.

police officers help change a tire for a motorist on the side of the highway

If the officer didn’t have any dignity in his or her work they would not come in and patrol the streets like they should or they would not stop to help the stranded motorist on the side of the freeway because they would say that it is not their job to drive around the neighborhoods and make sure everything is ok, it is rather the citizens jobs to make sure their houses aren’t being broken into or it is the tow truck drivers job to help get the stranded motorists vehicle back in working order.

There are countless videos on the internet depicting law enforcement officers stopping traffic on a busy freeway to help a momma duck and her ducklings make their way across the roadway safely, or the police man helping keep the loose cow safe from other cars and keeping it calm till the rancher can come and recover it. All of these events are depicting how police officers exhibit the Catholic social teaching of care for creation throughout their daily activities in executing their job.

Other ways that police officers can show care for creation is through their enforcement of animal mistreatment laws and care for animals that may be lost or have been abandoned. The officers will go into areas or homes where animals are being mistreated and will rescue these helpless animals from their abusers and the people who are causing unnecessary pain and suffering to these innocent animals. These people who mistreated the animals are typically fined or arrested and charged with the offenses by the criminal justice system.

This social teaching of human dignity can also be seen when the officers respond to someone who may be naked, injured, bleeding, or covered in feces, instead of the officer saying that they can’t or won’t touch the person who may be in need of their help the officer preforms his or her duty and helps them even though the officer may not want to do that. This shows how the officer is respecting the person and their dignity by helping them even though the officer may not feel comfortable with dealing with that situation.

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