Law enforcement officials say they are expected to do 'everything for everybody'
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texas law enforcement is discussing their unique role within the community.
Speaking after the Dallas ambush, Dallas police chief David Brown suggested that police are expected to do more now than they ever have before.
"We're just asking us to do too much," said Brown. "Every societal failure, we put it off for the cops to solve. Schools fail, give it to the cops. 70 percent of the African American community is being raised by single women. Let's give it to the cops to solve that as well. That's too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems."
"When people are frightened many times, they just know call the police," said Tyler Junior College Assistant Vice President. "Serving people never changes, no matter where you are."
It is the evolving expectation of police that has law enforcement leaders speaking up.
"Chief Brown hit the nail on the head," said Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith. "I saw what he said about law enforcement now is expected to do everything for everybody and that's really the way it feels. Everything everybody else doesn't want to do, it gets pushed down to law enforcement. It could be remotely connected to law enforcement and get pushed upon us."
TJC Police Academy Director Lieutenant Herbert Hayter agreed and said, "You might call a police officer for anything."
These officers said they're dealing with a much wider range of responsibility in the community.
"The academy I attended was only six weeks," said Hayter. "This one is 22 weeks. There's a lot more material in there, but everything has changed over the years."
"It is an awesome responsibility on the street," said TJC Chief of Police Randy Melton. "You're having to make split-second decisions that the courts and public opinion can take many months and years to digest."
Melton said molding their academy cadets to be compassionate to the people they serve is of the utmost importance.
"Chief Brown in Dallas is one of my new heroes," said Melton. "You don't want to embarrass the badge or embarrass your department or embarrass your community in decisions you make every day."
These law enforcement officials said those men and women, who seek to serve in the decades to come, will find their duty as police constantly evolving.
"They're not expected to know everything when they first come in, so it's important to know the academics, but they also have to know what to do in different situations," said Hayter.
At the end of August, the Tyler Junior College Police Academy will graduate 12 cadets from their program.
One of their main focuses this academic session has been an emphasis on community policing.
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