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Respecting Police Officers as Individuals

A letter from Kristen Roman (MET’08) on trusting police officers was published in Newsweek.

Kristen Roman (MET’08), a police lieutenant in her hometown of Madison, Wis., was strolling in the park one evening with her five-year-old son when she was approached by a neighbor and admonished for police misconduct on a national scale.

“How I was left feeling after that interaction was that [my neighbor] was taking out his frustrations on me,” says Roman. “As hard as I tried to have a dialogue with him and insert commentary from my own experience, he was not very receptive and held to his generalizations and opinions.”

Roman was so frustrated with the man’s lack of respect for law enforcement officers that she sent her thoughts on the matter to Newsweek, which recently published her article in its “My Turn” section, a spot where readers can submit essays about various social topics. Her piece, “The Officer’s Pledge: To Serve and Deflect?” asked the public to trust law enforcement officers as a whole, judge police misconduct on an individual basis, and eliminate the “‘us vs. them’” mentality that she claims has alienated many police officers from their communities.

Roman says she used her negative experience with her neighbor as a springboard to write about her profession. “As a law enforcement professional, I am keenly aware of the trust placed in me by the community,” she says. “I think that sometimes perspective gets lost, and when you look at the profession as a whole, the majority are doing an excellent job.”

Roman, who takes courses online from home, is working on a master’s degree in criminal justice at Metropolitan College. “In the long run, what I hope to do is apply the knowledge I’ve learned to what I do every day,” she says. “Then I think that beyond this career, when I retire, I’d like to apply it to teaching,”

Brittany Jasnoff can be reached at bjasnoff@bu.edu.