Police Reconsider Dialogue ################# port acknowledged what most of the public had decided already that the police were not properly prepared to deal with mental pa tients. Hightower promised to correct this deficiency at once. The next day his boss, Cookingham, issued a separate report stating that the incident had revealed the “effect of insufficient training, planning and supervision.” Cookingham also admitted, but not in his report, that the incident had demonstrated a lack of understanding of social problems. Enter Rapfogel At this point a Fort Worth physician, Dr. Rapfogel, entered the picture. Quietly he visited the police chief and volunteered to help prepare a training course in what the doctor calls inter-group relations. Hightower was highly re\( eptive. Like his men, the chief was confused and hurt by public criticism: he was wary, too, of possible race strife. Rapfogel is a well-known advocate of civil liberties. He has been an officer and active worker in he B’Nai B’Rith Anti-Defamation League. He telephoned Theodore Freedman of Houston, the director of the league for the South-. west, who has acted as a consultant to other police departments on race problems. Freedman en-, gaged the assistance of Dr. William Carmack, the director of the Southwest Institute for Human Relations Studies at the Univereity of Oklahoma. Together the three men outlined a course of eight two-hour lectures to be given at weekly intervals in October, November, and December. Meanwhile the police scheduled two lectures by Fort Worth psychologists on mental health problems. Four of the Freedman-Carmack lectures have now been given. All ef them are being tape-recorded, and Freedman is digesting them for a training manual that will he required reading in the regular police training program and will 1w made available to other police departments upon request. Policeauthorities in several Texas cities have asked for copies when they become available, and an inquiry about the program was received recently from Richmond, Va. Rapfogel said he and Freedman exa mined training manuals from other metropolitary police departments but found them too parochial and superficial. They hope and believe that the Fort Worth tudies will become, upon publication, the best material of its kind. ‘Automatically’ The first lecture was preceded by a dinner. Rapfogel and Freedman invited the police department’s 64 supervisory officers and city councilmen to attend. Local B’Nai B’Rith lodge members paid for the dinner from their own pockets. Hightower spoke. with a few words signifying his own awakening to a problem his men and many of his fellow citizens had only dimly perceived before. “Police officers throughout the country are facing increasingly difficult. highly complex, and sometimes explosive situations involving divergent groups of cid, zens.” he said. The role of his department is law enforcement, he said; but he added. “We are beginning to realize that the turmoil created by population growth, industrial de elopment, and social changes is creating for the police officer an THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 November 23, 1962 urgent need for knowledge and skills 1 which have not been part of traditional police training.” Therefore, he continued, his department was embarking on an advanced training program so that his men would understand “those complexities that can and often do result in conflict and hostility.” He and his men, he added, realized their obligation to deal impartially and fairly with all citizens, “without regard to their differences in social, economic or racial origins.” Then abandoning his prepared speech, the police chief told his men they were going to hear things at the lectures they would not like, but that they were under orders to pay attention and to pass along what they learned to the rank and file. “This,” he said, firmly, “will he our program.” Dr. Vernon Sisney was a fortunate choice for the first lecture. He is an ex-policeman himself, a veteran of seven years service with the Oklahoma highway rtrol. He is now the chief of the psychological section of the Veterans Administration hospital in Oklahoma City and has served as a consultant to that city’s police department. Sisney delivered a talk called “The Policeman Looks at Himself.” In an earthy rhetoric his listeners had no trouble in understanding, he punched some holes in the police officer’s psychological mask. He discussed the common prejudices and urges in the men behind the badges which contribute to what he called a characteristic mentality, the policeman’s. He said minority groups like the Negro were easily recognizable by typical physical appearances and mental attitudes, and then surprised his audience by asserting that police were a minority group, too, as easily recognizable by their own physical and mental uniformity. A lively exchange followed during which one officer told Sisney, “I know it is wrong when I use the word ‘nigger.’ but I was raised in the South, and the word comes out automatically.” Sisney replied that it was not as important that he refrain from using the word as that he recognized it as wrong. Rapfogel remarked later that the first lecture set the tone for the program and indicated progress. “We don’t expect the police to rid themselves of all their prejudices,” he said, “but now they are becoming aware at least they have prejudices. This is a beginning.” Although Sisney’s lecture and the discussion were to last only two hours, many of the police stayed around for a third hour to talk with Sisney. One patrol supervisor told Rapfogel he had been reluctant. to enter the course but now would pay for the privilege; and another said It was the fastest two hours he had spent since joining the force. Freedman, in his talk the next week, discussed police handling of minority problems in other major cities. He reviewed the police work in Dallas and Atlanta that prevented violence during racial de-segregation of schools in the two cities. In each city, he said, the police thoroughly prepared themselves, secured community support, and declared there would be no nonsense, and there wasn’t. It was a subject well chosen for Fort Worth. A suit to de-segregate the public schools here is pending in the courts. On the program with Freedman was the Rev. C. A: Holliday, pastor of the St. .Tarr.cs Baptist church, one of the city’s largest Negro congregations. Although he is one of the few Negroes sitting on city boards and is well acquainted with many of Fort Worth’s white leaders, Holliday was perturbed about appearing before police. One of the police chiefs had told him, “We want you to come down here and tell us what’s bugging the Negroes in this town.” He began by saying that Negroes generally believe, from long experience, that police, nearly all of whom are white in this city, are brutal, and especially brutal to them. The police replied they were rough with prisoners only when necessary to subdue them and that Negroes were treated impartially. Holiday said another thing “bugging Negroes” was the word “nigger,” used by nearly all police Officers, and, until just recently, by police radio dispatchers in their broadcasts, on which Negro suspects became “nigger male \(or roon eyes.” Whether the police themselves recognized this as an example of what Sisney was talking about in his definition of a police mentality and stopped the practice themselves or whether some higher-up quietly told them to cease is not known, but the practice did stop about the time Holliday spoke. Holliday himself said he was genuinely surprised to learn from the police that they hated the word “cop.” After a blunt exchange. he assured the police he Would pass along their views to his community. Chief Hightower invited him to return at a later date and address the rank and file. No Noisy Gaggle Dr. Robert Stoeltz of Southern Methodist University delivered a talk the next week on mob psychology. The psychologist revealed how so-called respectable citizens are drawn into mob violence. He recalled how curious townsmen had first gathered on the fringes of a small core of agitators at the scene of Mansfield, Texas, school desegregation crisis in 1957 and how their emotions gradually coalesced into hatred and violence. Stoeltz said the first duty of a police squad at a scene of unrest should be to move along all spectators to prevent the transformation of a crowd into a mob. He did not mention the Scott incident, though doubtless he evoked memories of that noisy gaggle of neighbors who had stood behind the police ranks and urged Scott to defiance and death. Four subjects remain to be presented. They will deal with juvenile delinquency and the anti-social behavior of young gangs; inter-group communications; minority groups and the law, and abnormal psychology. The course on aunormal psychology will be conducked in two periods at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Fort Worth. Dr. Sherman Kiefer will show the policemen patients who are common psychotic types; his staff will conduct a demon , stration to show how violent patients are handled, and the officers themselves will take part in a workshop in which they will practice these techniques on each other. The city manager and the police chief are pleased with the results of the training program so far, particularly with the enthusiasm shown by the men themselves. Cookingham and Hightower believe it will be of longrange value for the community. “It is not just our problem,” said Cookingham, “but one that every city in the South must face up to Sooner or later. I want us to stay ahead of change.” Gonzalez Replies In response to your article, “Texas Politicians and Nuclear Times,” in the November 16, 1962, Observer, I do not want to make a judgment or be strongly critical of you. However, I do want to point out that you used fragmentary comment from me and had you seen this comment with the entire text, you would have suspended your judgment of my words. Please know that I fully sympathize with those who seek peace and I feel that every sane and healthy American does not want war. Both the United States and England did not want to fight when Hitler kept gobbling up every piece of the world that was not able to defend itself. We do not want to find ourselves in the position of Hilaire Belloc’s “Pale Ebenezer”: “Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight; “But, Roaring Bill, who killed him, “Thought it right!” Henry B. Gonzalez, M.C. from San Antonio, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. Unswerving Humanity Your article, “Red-Tinged Algebra Cleared by Committee” \(Obs., cious. funny, frightening, heartbreaking, and mad. It is the Observer at its best. It is the voice raised in the wilderness: only the unclean would fear it. I can read other periodicals for political intelligence. I value yours for its unswerving humanity. John Igo, Route 2, Box 175, San Antonio, Tex. A World Without People Barry Goldwater wants to fire all the leaders in the U.N. and the State Department, accusing them of being “soft on communism.” No doubt Khrushchev’s enemies have accused him and his administration of being “soft on capitalism.” When the other side warns of their nuclear capability, it is “rocket rattling” or “atomic blackmail.” Both “sides” have atomic submarines capable of destroying the large cities of the earth. A large hydrogen missile is just as destructive in Russia or West Garmany or France or England or Turkey as it is in Cuba. The time has now come for a halt to the arms race. Men must sit down around the table and learn to live together, or else we will all go down in nuclear flames. I am proud of President Ken-. nedy, Adlai Stevenson, and Secretary of State Rusk because they have removed all the big rockets from Cuba and saved the world from atomic war. Nero burned Rome to kill the people! What good is a world without people ill it? A veteran of many combat missions in ‘World War II Tully B. Lucas, Jr., 210 So. Bradley St., McKinney, Tex. One Never Knows Our country was settled by nonconformists, escaping from religious and political persecution. Today non-conformists who oppose dealing with international controversy with annihilating force are dubbed half-criminals, half starry-. eyed idiots. . . . Let us not throw our non-conformists to the lions. Frequently history has a way of proving them right. Lucia Trent, 1009 Maufrais, Austin, Tex. Necessary Many thanks for publishing the remarks of professors Radkey, Shattuck, and Schmitt on the now mercifully coaling Cuban missile crisis. For the most part, Schmitt was my spokesman. Unlike Radkey and Shattuck, I thought we had a crisis going. . . . Certainly, the President would have done better had he made the blockade a joint O.A.S. action in some way. He did miss a good chance to hammer home the grim facts about our vulnerability when he had the nation hanging on his every word during that icy calm. But I file such muffed opportunities under the heading, “desirable but not necessary.” I put under “desirable because necessary” the action he did take. Harris Green, 243 W. 107, Apt. 4-R, New York 25. A Switch I regretted reading that the Observer’s financial difficulties have once again become acute. I am enclosing my check. In the past I have weekly fallen prey to reading someone else’s copy. I enjoyed your review of the election results in Texas. I feel like a bewildered Englishman in 1939 putting on a gas mask and wondering what in the hell the world is coming to. David Minton, 2643 Powhatan, Arlington 7, Va. Enough’s Enough . . . we subscribers are assured of a continuation of the Observer
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