I learned today that in Japan, they don’t sling shiny new cop badges to just any ol’ donut-eating mope whose daddy was a popular desk sergeant thirty years ago. No, these dudes are legit. First they need to score a black belt in judo and other ancient arts of submission and self-defense. While that’s pretty hardcore, their badassery quotient soars when you learn that these officers also receive training in calligraphy, poetry, flower arranging, tea ceremonies and flute lessons — in order to promote sensitivity and empathy with society. As somebody with extensive exposure to American law enforcement personnel from a wide spectrum of departments and bureaus, I promise that this attitude is a far cry from the “us versus them” attitude that permeates most big city police forces. But does Japan’s sensitive police guy system work? It all comes down to the numbers – Tokyo has one of the lowest crime rates of any major city on the planet.
So if you’re a big city commissioner and you’re reading this blog, take another pass at the annual budget and please consider buying a shitload of Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost.