The writer is an 8th Precinct neighborhood police officer in Northwest Detroit. This is adapted with permission from two Facebook posts Saturday, plus a few earlier reflections at his page there.
By Baron Coleman
Scare from a four-legged surprise
Working today with a city board-up crew, I checked vacant houses to make sure nobody is inside -- alive or deceased.
As I went in one home and announced "Police" several times, a very large orange cat suddenly stormed at me. My finger was near the trigger, instinctively, before the feral animal turned at my feet and bolted out the door.
I back-pedaled two quick Matrix steps and it was gone as fast as it came out of nowhere.
No dead cat to report, but a brother's adrenaline was racing. Those damn squatter cats.
Showing respect to earn it
I drive through neighborhoods that look pretty beat-up. When I see folks standing around and enjoying the street, I try to make eye contact and nod my head or wave.
If time permits, I pull over to make conversation with pleasantries. I find it simple to break the ice and give them a greeting or a fist bump. When an officer does that, it can change the mood of those who may not like police.
It takes the right person to police in the black community -- someone who respects that community. Everyone who lives in a poor community is not bad and everyone who lives in a well-to-do community is not all good.
I have earned respect as a police officer because I will never look down on those who live in Detroit, where my family and friends also live. We train to help, and I try to show residents how much I care about Detroit.
I proudly police in the City of Detroit, and not just as a job. I can work anywhere. I do it because my people deserve so much better. They do not deserve BS or any hatred -- the world already gives plenty of that.
One thing I constantly preach to our youth is to be respectful. I also preach the same to young officers -- respect the community and you will have a lot of success on your journey.
Policing in Detroit for me is not hard. I feel like I am actually making a difference, and that feels pretty good.
So wave at the next officer you see. It could make for a different experience.