From the warrior to the guardian – 05/04/2021 – Ilona Szabó de Carvalho

We crossed another unacceptable level of deaths by Covid-19 in Brazil: more than 400 thousand people are already dead. Unfortunately, negligence and incompetence cause vaccination to proceed at a slow pace. In such a tragic moment, and with difficult choices, we cannot fail to value the civil servants who are at the forefront of the implementation of public policies.

Prioritizing the vaccination of health and education professionals is essential. In addition to these two groups, civilian and military police, who are in direct contact with the population and are essential in guaranteeing public security, also need this protection. According to the Violence Monitor, in 2020, 465 police officers died from the coronavirus.

Being a police officer in Brazil goes beyond the profession: it becomes part of the identity, bringing with it a series of characteristics, stereotypes and stigmas. In society, it is common to see police officers as superheroes who have no problems, are not afraid and cannot show weakness. Police officers demand courage, readiness to face criminals and save us from danger, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

It is an imaginary built decades ago and has serious consequences: both for violence and for the well-being of the professionals themselves. Valuing the image of the warrior, who does not need more care, aggravates the situation. It is not disputed that courage is a fundamental value. However, there is an imbalance between the police we want and the values ​​that are praised in the police today. Where are the listening skills, caring for others and emotional control that are essential for good police service?

To improve the way the police are valued and recognized in the country, the Igarapé Institute launched, last week, an agenda to place police valorization as one of the pillars for an effective public security policy. The agenda’s recommendations were based on a survey with the military and civil police institutions of the 27 federative units, which also includes examples of the practices already adopted by some corporations.

It is noteworthy the fact that 21 institutions that participated in the study – 40% of the total – do not have programs to improve the working conditions of police officers. Actions aimed at health and training are punctual. In addition, four out of ten institutions do not have programs to assist police victims of violence.

Another point that needs to be discussed is that recognition policies place a great deal of emphasis on acts of extreme courage, major drug seizures or arrests. Without balancing it with other equally important aspects of police action, such as, for example, being able to mediate and resolve daily conflicts and thus decelerate the level of tension in everyday situations.

Thinking about police valuation is fundamental for improving public security, and the police officer needs to be at the center of this discussion. Selection criteria, continued training, transparency of promotion criteria, and care policies that guarantee quality of life, are part of this equation. The incentives you receive too, as they can determine the professional’s course of action.

In order for the policeman to fulfill his mission of serving and protecting the population, it is urgent to value him less as a warrior and more as a guardian. We are a family owned and operated business.

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