Sunday, August 27, 2006

Claudia Dawkins: Angry Citizen

Monday and Tuesday of last week I did a fairly interesting, if a bit monotonous, job. It was a live role-play training session for a choice group of Gwinnett County Police officers. These were...corporals, i guess? Is that what comes before Sergeant? Corporal? who are eligible for promotion to Sergeant. So, they all take a written test, and those who pass, move on to the performance-based assessment. This particular county only had 21 officers who passed the written.

The officers came in that morning and got a 5 minute briefing on what was about to happen. Thecorporals would then enter the room, introducing themselves as "Sergeant whatever their name was," to me, angry citizen with an officer complaint, Claudia Dawkins. The whole scenario is also being watched and assessed by 3 superior officers, at a table, about 5 feet away, with notepads and checklists. The 3 in my room (all from Columbus, GA) were a nice good ole boywoman, a nice good ole boy, and a very quiet kindly african amer. man who seemed to be very sweetly suppressing an urge to cut them to pieces. He sort of graciously smiled/laughed and stared straight ahead most of the day. The lion's share of the talk revolved around Kenny Chesney, deer jerky, and how much money it would take to get them to live in the city of Atlanta (answer: no amount).

I'm Claudia Dawkins and I'm hopping mad! I was at a pizza place (The Pizza Buffet!) with my 11 year old daughter and an officer was at a table next to me saying things like, "That bitch never should've been promoted!" "Females aren't cut out for police work," "They don't have the physical abilities and aggressiveness," "women should never be supervisers, a man will always do a better job," "Put me in a room with her, and i'll show her who's boss!" It's their job to calm me down, get all the specifics, answer my questions and promise follow up.
Some came in uniform, some in a suit. It was sort of funny and disconcerting how NERvous some of these giant military-looking men with guns on their hips were. Hands shaking, dropping their pens, stuttering.... I would feel bad for some of them. Some I would not.
Each one was so different. Only 2 females, and you'd think they'd be more sympathetic with the particular scenario, but...they weren't, really. The first was a weirdo! and took hardly no time, maybe 5 minutes (they had 15 minutes maximum and a timer counting down in front of them), was sort of short with me, cut me off a bunch and kept asking me for uniform description of the officer and was asking me too many questions about his boots. After she left the room, I turned to the assessers and said, "leave it to a WOMAN to get hung up on SHOES."

The same thing over and over, 21 times over 2 days. We had to "improvise" to some degree because each person approached it differently, but they all had to have a somewhat standardized situation and treatment from the actors, so they were on a level playing field. They'd go on from me to the next room where 3 assessers awaited them with another actor playing the asshole from The Pizza Buffet! who has a problem with women. Then on to a mock "roll call" before a shift.

I guess i was able to work out a little frustration towards police during the whole thing.

But don't you feel good that the Gwinnett Co. police are being trained by me?


Blogger ablebody said...

cops?!! i love cops!! who said anything bad about COPS, MARY??!!

5:29 AM  
Anonymous N.Bumpercar said...

Aren't cops the keepers of our piece . . . of wonderfully delicious pizza pie - from the "almost famous" Pizza Buffet! - or something?!

No more typing for me to-day . . .

9:48 AM  
Blogger onthetowns said...

At least you looked purty while you did it.

5:38 PM  
Blogger cruchic said...

hey, we've got the police covered. i'm doing live role-playing for the Atlanta PD right now and two weeks ago T Futch and I did a session for the Academy. I forgot to blog about it but I will. I did not look like you did while doing either of these.

6:59 PM  

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