Arnaudville Police Department
The Chief's Blog
The Chief's Blog
The Tide Will Turn
The Tide Will Turn
November 17, 2021
As we enter the holiday season – the season of “giving”, I reflect on the last year as your Chief. It has been a challenging year, both professionally and personally, but because I am a man of faith, I have to believe that my Maker is ultimately in control.
As a Police Chief managing a small rural department, my biggest challenge has been recruiting and retaining quality personnel. Arnaudville suffers the same fate and the same struggles as almost every other law enforcement agency in the country. We must recognize those elements that are impacting our efforts, and fight against some of the negative attitudes and perceptions we get from some of our citizens, from municipal officials, and from within our own ranks. We must acknowledge that there exists leadership that does not have the best interest of our citizens in mind; leadership that often turns its back on the brave and committed men and women who carry the badge and wear the uniform. There are invisible forces behind the scenes who would change the fundamental direction and values we have fought for for generations.
My over two decades serving in law enforcement has obviously been met with moments of challenge – Hurricane Katrina, big city crime, facing the tragedy and sorrow of fallen officers, meeting families of victims, and more – all to be anticipated as a police officer. What I never anticipated was a national movement that vilifies, disregards, dismisses and destroys the lives and livelihoods of decent, honest and hard-working law enforcement officers. A top-to-bottom movement that ultimately results in more crime, more disorder, and more chaos in communities and trauma to innocent citizens. As in every such movement, we always see a course correction, and I am optimistic that we will see the tide turn.
As I reflect on a personal level, I count the many family and friends who have been touched by a global pandemic that left us nowhere to hide and no immunity from devastating loss. My own brother succumbed to Covid-19, as did many of his fellow nursing home residents. Otherwise healthy family members, young and old did not escape the clutches of Covid. Attempting to understand the rationale for restrictions, mandates, and closures left more confusion, division and distrust. Covid took lives, but also took much more from us – our compassion, tolerance, empathy and trust. We are left as cynical, suspicious and mistrustful citizens choosing sides, and isolating and ostracizing those who dare to contradict or question.
But, as we move through all of this, we are left with our faith. Faith that tells us that while we are all on borrowed time, the best is still ahead of us. Life is constantly renewing, evolving and transforming into something better. We only need to wait, because the course will be corrected. The pendulum will swing the other way.
For those who can never see beyond their own selfishness or greed, or who fail to believe life is about giving and not taking, I have pity for them. The misery and hurt they inflict on others will come back to rest on their own souls. For the majority of us, the holiday season - the season of “giving” is but a time when our challenges, our pain and our struggles are overshadowed by the good we can do for others.
Happy Holidays, Arnaudville!
|Posted on August 19, 2015 at 10:59 AM|
When a law enforcement officer receives praise from a citizen, it is not only flattering, but it serves to bolster confidence, validate their career choice, and create a desire to even do better. One of Arnaudville’s citizens, Mr. Carl Lagrange’s comments on social media did all of the above. I proudly and humbly include it in my blog.
Mr. Lagrange writes:
“I can't say enough good about this man, our chief Eddy J. LeCompte. And, frankly, I could care less if some disagree. I respect his philosophy of law enforcement. Simply put, he has the wisdom few subscribe to. An officer's job is not to oppress the people by inflicting upon them the letter of the law regarding minor infractions, but to maintain the peace, rather, by use of police discretion. Hence, the phrase "keeping the peace by use of relation with the people he and his officers swore an oath to uphold rather than being tyrannical with the power bestowed them." The job of an officer is to see to it that the law abiding be reminded of the rules we all in our imperfect humanity are for our good and that officers being people too understand that and have no compunction to make our lives harder than they already are. Therefore, not every encounter is necessarily one his officers are adamant be a punishment. More often, only a civil and respectful discourse informing we civilians to be more conscious of our societal contract and after be on our way. The letter of the law is reserved for those individuals who have no respect regarding that contract and so are deserving the legal system hold them accountable. Such is the wisdom regarding his philosophy in that it promotes good will and a positive relationship between those who serve our interests and the people. Well done, chief. Society could use more public servants with this mindset.”
Speaking as your humble servant, I can take little credit for Mr. Lagrange’s claims – about wisdom – it comes with age! But, aside from the age, it comes from listening and a willingness to admit fault, change direction, and learn the lessons that failures bring.
What Mr. Lagrange refers to as my “philosophy of law enforcement” caused me to reflect. I have never defined a “philosophy” per se. I just operate out of instinct and gut, under the inducement of the “law”. Taking an oath is one thing, but applying that oath to common sense, respect for the citizen, empathy in some cases, and confidence in the training and experience makes for a good cop. There is a theory that cops tend to be “alpha males”, choosing a career that allows them to demonstrate authority, aggression, and sometimes brutality – all traits that are enhanced by, and sometimes protected by a badge. But, in my experience, the good ones effectively balance authority with humility, aggression with heart, and harshness with a desire to help. At least, this describes the majority of the officers I have known. This kind of value system is essential for a Chief or Sheriff who leads a department because he or she is responsible for creating a culture within the system that ultimately is felt and is visible on the street and through the eyes of the public.
Regarding the references made to “the letter of the law”, we should know the letter of the law, use that knowledge as a baseline for discernment when faced with a “law-breaker”. We are human, fallible and subject to mistakes. Our officers act within the parameters and structure of the laws they are obligated to defend and uphold. Using a stop to correct behavior is also an opportunity to educate, to engage the citizen, and to create a positive image – not only for themselves, but for the department and for the town of Arnaudville.
Mr. Lagrange, I appreciate your words, but more than that, I appreciate that your post lent itself to further reflection. And just as your post served to commend me, and the work I’m doing, I trust that you will be just as willing to point out when we fail to achieve your expectations.
Categories: The Working Chief