Book excerpt: Dharma Cop: Tales of Street Zen
THE TAO OF POLICE WORK
By Tom B. Collings
Denzel jumps up from his chair in a rage. “Why you people f - - -- ing with me?!” He is very agitated and now paces the floor of his social worker’s office, cursing loudly. As his parole officer, I am the first officer to arrive. Standing off to the side, I observe what’s happening. The worker seems frozen in fear, as she just sits there letting the guy pace around her office and curse at her. At one time my mind would have screamed, “Don’t just stand there – do something!” but I have since learned and trained myself to do just the opposite. A quiet voice says, “Don’t do something, Thomas. Just stand there.”
Just observing and listening, I realize the social worker is not frozen in fear. Her silence has purpose. With no one to argue with, no directives to defy, Denzel seems to be gradually calming himself down. The worker’s disciplined response allows the intensity of his emotion to slowly dissipate. Her inaction has allowed Denzel to vent his anger and frustration without argument. She saw the behavior for what it was: not violence, actually the opposite of violence. A harmless verbal release of pent-up energy. Noisy, yes, dangerous, no. I wish my fellow officers understood this.
When other officers arrive, they are pumped and ready for action! The sergeant says, “The call said a guy is out of control.” I gesture that things are OK. “Everything is under control, Sarg; it just got a little loud. The guy just got a little upset. He didn’t hurt anyone.” To read the rest of this excerpt from Tom Colling's Book "Dharma Cop: Tales of Street Zen" click here.