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Lions Roar : March 2016
saw that a police officer can employ the gentle compassion of understanding, as well as the fierce compassion of setting boundaries to protect others. And that includes using force to intervene if neces- sary. It’s not just possible to be kind and compassionate as a police officer. It’s also safer and more fulfilling. So it pains me to see the current crisis in American policing. I WAS SEVEN YEARS into my twenty- year police career when I attended my first retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh. I had real doubts that his teachings could be incorporated into the life and work of a cop. And I was sure that if anyone at the retreat found out I was one, I would be negatively judged. Eventually, though, I was convinced. I FROM WHERE I SIT A Buddhist Cop’s Answer to the Policing Crisis Former police officer CHERI MAPLES, a student of Thich Nhat Hanh, addresses America’s crisis in policing—and how a Buddhist outlook could help. The problems are well known. The unnecessary—even deadly—use of force, racial profiling, and the militarization of police departments are increasingly the subjects of public outcry and media scru- tiny. There’s mistrust between commu- nities and police departments, a lack of strategies to address the emotional health of police officers, and the unconscious CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE ANDREWBURTON/GETTYIMAGESNEWS/GETTYIMAGES LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2016 13