Police Chaplaincy Academy

Tuesday 24 March 215

We are near the end.  LTC Russell asked the senior chaplains to bring in the uniforms which have been issued to them.

Mr. Paul Bannach, director of the Academy, gave a presentation on the use of force.  He talked about preception and blood pressure under stress.  You need to identify how stress affects you, he told us.  He also gave us a list of factors to consider.  This list is not all-inclusive.  He ended with two cases, namely Graham vs. Connor, 490U.S. 386, 109 S. Ct. 1865 in 1989 and the Garner Test from a Tennessee case. 

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts then spoke to us.  LTC Melvin Russell told him that we have 12 different denominations here.  Some of them are Lutheran, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Baptist, and United Methodist. 

The commissioner said that he is trying to build a police department based on service.  When he goes into a city, he addresses very tough problems.  He is up front with saying that Baltimore has a race problem and asking why aren't we talking about it.  He wants people to engage.  He is asking us not just to heal our Police Department, but to bring them closer to the community. 

He also said something that I think that we all know, namely that our faith based congregations are segregated.  He did not say why.  I am often criticized by black Americans for being an Orthodox Christian.  The first question that many of them ask me is, "How many blacks go to your church?"  This is the wrong question.  A numerical answer tells you nothing.

The commissioner also said that the Baltimore City police officers are the lowest paid in the State of Maryland.  We were able to get them a 19% pay raise.  He also wants them to get out of their cars for 30 minutes every shift.  In addition, he is pushing a literacy program and he is directing his command staff to lead by example.

Sgt. Doug Dayton talked to us about suicide.  The two charts below tells us the story.  Twice as many police officers die because of suicide than for line of duty deaths which is twice the rate of law enforcement homicide.  Suicide is selfish and it is a bad permanent solution to a temporary problem.  "How do you tell a seven-year old that he did not want to live any more?"  When he signs up, every police officer knows that his job is very dangerous and it is important to have friends outside the police department.

Presenting with Sgt. Dayton were three chaplains from the Philadelphia Police Department.  Chaplain Floyd Stedley III said, "Do you know that African Americans have racial problems with each other?" 

Those who know me know that I detest the term "African American" because I am proud to be an American and I am not a partial American nor a hyphenated American.  My friends who just became American citizens within the last few years are referred to as Americans, not some type of partial or hyphenated Americans.  So why should I be referred to as such when I'm at least fourth generation?  I know almost nothing about Africa and have very little interest in the continent.  Most of the foreigners whom I know are from Eastern Europe. 

When I worked in the warehouse at Comcast I felt very keenly what Chaplain Stedley said.  One woman told me, "You don't know who you is."  After admitting that I was the only black person at my church, a man asked me, "Don't you feel out of place there?"  My reply was no and that this [work] was the only place where this is an issue.

We have one more class of the abbreviated course and we are expected to come back and finish all the classes that we will not have now.  I will miss next week's class since I have a Bishop's Council meeting.  But I am excited about finishing all the classes and getting out on the streets. 

 

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Officer Green and Rev. Tillman

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Paul Bannach

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Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts

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z. Nottingham-Lemon

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LTC Melvin Russell and Sgt. Doug Dayton

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Chaplains Dave Crawford and Floyd Stedley III from Philadelphia

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Chaplain Lou Centino from Philadelphia

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