My buddy J. sent me this podcast from Covert Contact, where former CIA case officer Patrick Skinner is interviewed regarding his switch – at age 46 – from working CIA counter-terrorism cases to working the beat as a rookie cop.
The observations on “action bias,” on the applicability of the skillsets honed in his old work to his new job (and vice versa), and his views on the daily job are fascinating.
This is exactly the attitude police reformers are seeking, though heaven forbid we began recruiting former CIA investigators to work the streets of the USA; the hue and cry would be deafening, even though the practical reality is exactly the kind of tweaks we need to be implementing: Compassion, and an appreciation that bad luck and bad decision making or poor substance abuse management does not equate to evil. Discretion in most enforcement decisions. That 80% of the calls he goes to as reported as crimes, though no crime occurred, and no, nobody needs to go to jail…
…and that yes, some of the people police deal with are purely evil and are de facto terrorists in their communities.