Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

05 July 2017

Do They Teach That In The Academy?

If you head to Tampa from Daytona Beach, you will most likely pass through a city called Lakeland.  

I have to admit that I'd never heard of it until my parents moved to Florida.  Then it became a name on the weather map of the local television newscasts:  The temperature in Lakeland would be shown, along with those of Winter Haven, Titusville, Daytona Beach and a few other locales in the middle of the Sunshine State.

Since then, I've learned that the headquarters of Publix, one of the largest regional supermarket chains, is in Lakeland. (If you've spend any amount of time in Florida, you've almost certainly shopped in a Publix store.)  I have also learned another interesting fact about the city:  The canine unit of its local police department is regarded as one of the best in the United States.  One of its dogs, Nox, took first place in the annual USPCA Police Dog Trials (the largest event of its kind), while another one of its police pooches--Bruno--won the event in 2012 and 2013

Knowing about their canine unit got me to wondering how the police officers themselves are trained.  Something told me that their training must be pretty good . After all, studies have confirmed something I've always suspected:  Developing a rapport with an animal helps people in their relationships with other people.  Now, I realize that a police officer doesn't have the same sort of relationship with a German Shepherd in the unit as a civilian has with a pet poodle.  But I think that the ability to communicate with an animal requires intuition, which is certainly useful in human relations.

I got to thinking about those things when I came across a story about a police officer in Lakeland who helped a little girl fix her bicycle chain.  Items like that catch my eye, in part, because you would never see them in New York Metro Area media.  Also, according to the story, the girl calmed down from the temper tantrum she lapsed into when her bike chain jumped off its sprocket.  That's not a reaction one normally associates with seeing police lights flashing here in New York, especially if one is a member of a marginalized community.

I couldn't help but to wonder whether her reaction--and, for that matter, the fact that Shane Stinson stopped to help the girl--was a result of training, Officer Stinson's personal qualities or the community's relations with the police (which are probably a result of those other two factors), or some combination of them.

Whatever the answer, Officer Shane Stinson of the Lakeland, FL Police Department should be commended.

It also has me thinking about whether they should teach bicycle repair in police academies--and elementary schools!

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