by Ian D Scofield
There have been a lot of stories about businesses that are refusing services to law enforcement officers recently. While it is well within a business’s rights to refuse service to anyone, banning a whole population of people goes against creating an inclusive environment. One company has gone a step past refusing service to individual law enforcement officers.
EAV Barbell Club in Atlanta, Georgia has gone a step beyond refusing to make food. Instead, this company specifically bans law enforcement and military types from joining their gym. Jim Chambers, the owner, believes that having people who work for either group will dissuade and/or scare minorities that use his facilities.
According to Chambers, the gym has always had a ban on police officers that he refers to as a “No Cop Policy”, so why are we just hearing about it now? Chambers decided to try posting a new rules sign that would offend any population. Here’s what it said:
I grabbed this from a news segment as his sign has now been removed and replaced with one that is more nicely phrased.
11Alive had an interview with Jim Chambers in which he says he wants a space that isn’t a “aggressive hedero-jock space that is dominated by cops and soldiers.”
As you probably know, not all cops are hedero-jocks. Assuming that a huge population is all bad or is all one type is a huge error. One that can harm you in any industry. This is especially true in law enforcement, if one were to assume all people are one way, it becomes incredibly hard to do the job.
This news story that has been surfacing around the internet highlights a big problem in law enforcement, the negative stereotype that officers face every day. It also shows us that officers that community policing is more important than ever.
Getting out and showing people that law enforcement are more than people with badges and guns is a hard task, but it is something that you can achieve. Start working with your fellow officers and making community corrections. It will not just make your job easier but every officer around the world’s.
Talking with your department and building community engagement activities is a great way to start changing people’s minds. It is all about giving people time to interact with officers on a more personal level. Each officer has their own personality, their own likes, and their own hobbies, and it is hard to see that when all people see is a uniform.
More importantly, it is important not to take any actions like the sign written above personally. It may be hard, but taking it personally can only hurt you. Instead, turn it into fuel to make the world a different place, a better place.
In a day and age where social media and other resources are available, it is possible to repair the view of many civilian’s views on law enforcement. Making connections and repairing views has to start somewhere, so let it start with you. That way, signs like the one mentioned in this article and the constant stories of non-service can start being reduced.
Stay safe out there.
About the author:
Ian graduated Seattle University with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice. He has held positions as an Auxiliary Public Safety Officer, a Security Patrol Supervisor, and as an in-house security officer for a major medical center. Through all of this he has picked up a wealth of experience, training, and education that he is happy to pass on to others. Ian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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