Facebook Complaint – Disrupting Church Services

Some of you may have seen this post on Facebook.  It captured my attention just as I know it did many of you.  I have now had an opportunity to explore the event further.  

Policing in America is a tough job.  Often times we are dealt difficult situations and expected to perform to the highest standard.  That being said, we are human and we sometimes struggle with judgment calls.  That struggle doesn’t necessarily mean what we did was wrong, just that we might have been able to handle the situation differently.  As I often state, “I cannot improve where I don’t know that I am failing.”  I, along with my team, often inquire about how we can improve.  After all, our community expects the best from us, and my staff and I constantly strive to provide it!

As a result of this event, we [the PD] have explored alternative ways to address similar noise complaints in the future.  The officers involved also agree that alternative measures could be taken in the future and they would probably yield more favorable results.  It was never their [the officers’] intention to disrupt the worship service nor to prevent anyone from their spiritual celebrations.  Unfortunately, a disruption it was, and for that, I offer my sincere apologies to the church membership and Pastor.  Additionally, I have personally spoken with the church pastor and shared some of the changes I intend to implement, as a result of this event.  Likewise, the pastor agreed to help the PD by monitoring the volume level of their music equipment.  Lastly, the pastor reiterated his appreciation and support of the Aransas Pass PD. We’ve always had a supportive and collaborative relationship with his congregation, and we both hope to maintain that.

Modern policing requires that there be “Trust and Legitimacy,” according to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.  Within that report, police officers must transition their service mindset from that of a warrior to that of a guardian [guardian of the people].  The Aransas Pass PD took on this approach to policing over two years ago and probably before the the final report was even published. Blue Courage is a course that teaches the guardian methodologies for policing, and we have two certified instructors working within the PD that instruct it.  But what one needs to understand is, this mindset is an entire cultural shift on how police do business.  Changing police culture is challenging, but we will continue to persevere as we strive to provide nothing but the best for those we serve and cherish, our community.

– Eric Blanchard, Chief