The Acting Administrator of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, released a memo earlier this week instructing his employees to disregard the president's recent admonition to police officers to not be "nice" to suspects any more and instead rough 'em up a bit. Director Rosenberg directed DEA personnel to always adhere to the "Rule of Law, Respect and Compassion, Service, Devotion, Integrity, [and] Accountability" in their interactions with the public, whether they be an arrestee, suspect, witness or victim.
I couldn't agree more with Mr. Rosenberg. I was a police officer for nine years before I went to law school, two years as a sheriff's deputy at a county jail as transportation officer and director of the medium security unit, and seven years as a State Trooper, working nights on solitary patrol in remote parts where back-up often was 20 or 30 minutes away.
Mr. Rosenberg's pithily-stated directive is a much more efficient, productive and humane model for police work than the crassly stated screed of our president at the Suffolk County Police Academy graduation ceremony last week, with its the throwback appeal to bygone times. Its successful application, as a first and foremost approach, acts to calm situations rather than escalate them, and I ought to know, that's how I conducted myself, to the best of my ability, those several years when I was a peace officer on patrol, tamping down heightened situations during scores of DUI and warrant arrests and several high speed chases and one gun discharge situation, and I never had a fight nor fired my weapon, except once to dispatch a grievously injured deer when no animal control officer was on duty.
I know Mr. Rosenberg personally and he is is no partisan advocate on one side of the political spectrum or the other. He was in my small section at law school and I had many long conversations with him there, and I ran into him earlier this year and spoke lengthily with him then, and he is a devoted, apolitical public servant imbued with principles, who swears fealty to no man, loyal only to institutions and the truth.