Sgt. Cary Glazer
Sgt. Cary Glazer

Sgt. Cary Glazer with the Wayne State University Police Department in the Crime Abatement Team discusses policing passionately, but he does not claim to know the answers.

Sgt. Cary Glazer serves with the Wayne State University Police Department in the Crime Abatement Team (CAT). He has been a police officer for more than 19 years.

He always wanted that career. “As a favor to a friend, whose children attend Hillel Day School, I talked with students about policework as a career,” he said. “I would joke with them: ‘See what happens if you do not do well on your LSAT or MCAT.’ But, actually, I always wanted to be a cop since I was little.”

Glazer discusses policing passionately, but he does not claim to know the answers. “I am not an expert; I am not even cop of the year. I am always learning. I make mistakes and try to learn from them.”

Here is what he has learned:

– “A police officer is a social worker — with a gun. Generally, when people call the police, they are out of options. A police officer is usually the last person people want to see. They call on us when the situation is bad enough. Our job is not to make it worse.”

– “If you do not want to help, then you should be in another line of business. You will meet people from other cultural backgrounds as a police officer. Your job is always to serve them.

We Jews, especially, should really understand that. Nobody wanted us here in America. I am not trying to compare relative levels of suffering of blacks and Jews, but we should understand how it feels to be not understood by the majority culture.”

– We are there to serve and protect — but mostly to serve the public.” You could get a different impression from television. “There are tens of thousands of contacts per week between police and the public every day without any problem, without publicity or fanfare: Helping someone across the street or giving a driver good directions.”

At the Wayne State University Police Department, Glazer recalled getting a phone call from a faculty member who had left the building and forgot to turn off the coffee machine. “We went into the closed building, found his office and turned off the coffee pot. Is that part of policing? That is service.”

– Our job is not to make things worse. If a police officer posts support for a white supremacist group, that person should not stay on the force. To feel that way, even without going public, they disqualify themselves.”

– A police officer who beats anyone should not be a police officer. Don’t go into law enforcement if you want to do that.”

When force is necessary: “Officers do not want to take a life but sometimes are left no choice.”

– You can go from hero to zero in seconds: “In some instances, they (officers) make mistakes, whether due to lack of training or indifference to the welfare of a person. There are times I have seen video on TV where I agree with the public and I think, ‘What was that cop thinking?’ Should the other officers have intervened to protect George Floyd? From what I have seen, absolutely yes!”

– Intervening with a fellow officer “is good for morale because it protects everyone.”

Effective intervention: “A fellow officer sees an officer getting out of control, and says ‘You know what? I’ve got it. Go back to the car.’ Let go of your ego, if you have one, and get in the car. You should not have an ego if you are a cop.”

“When a person is in our custody, in our care, our control, whether they committed a crime or we are giving them a ride as a favor, we are responsible for their safety. If they complain of a health issue, it is our duty to get them health care. We have to protect them from harm, not only from us, but also from harming others and even from self-harm. It is the most important thing that we do. We take them to the hospital, even if they have committed a triple homicide. People have a right to expect us to protect; we have the responsibility to protect. It is not for us to judge.”

– “Peaceful protesters are not doing anything wrong. We have to protect them. Maybe they should not be in the street, but if they are, we have to make sure that they don’t get hit by a car.”

“Ideally, the police work with the leaders of demonstration to keep everyone safe. People have a right to protest.”

“I have seen white agitators from out of the area show up at a peaceful demonstration and commit vandalism, and loot … a few agitators can give the whole black community a bad name.”

– Perception is reality: “I can’t tell other groups how they should or shouldn’t feel, based on their life experience, when I haven’t been there. Conversely, don’t paint the police with a broad brush when you haven’t been there.”

– Communities need funds: “When people say they want to ‘Defund the Police,’ I think they are saying we need funds for other areas. I do not support ‘Defunding the Police.’ I do support the diversion of funds elsewhere to create or increase funding for things that will help the citizens and children of the communities we serve, the schools, the neighborhoods, the mentally ill. That is a government decision.”

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