The morning began with bagels, coffee and activities — stand up if you've volunteered, that sort of thing. Then speaker Kelley Szany, director of education at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, drew the attention of 113 Chicago Police Department recruits to a large pad of paper at each table and asked them to draw a line down the middle and make a chart.
"Left side, how you see yourselves as officers," she said. "Right side, how you think others see you."
That took five minutes. Then she went around the room, asking one recruit from each table to stand and read what they had written.
Cops see themselves as professional, fair, heroes, leaders, brave, respectful, loyal, sharp-looking, dedicated, motivated, honorable, helpful, caring, comical, authoritative, among other qualities.
The public, however, sees them as aggressive, unfair, rude, selfish, power-hungry, robotic, corrupt, biased, lazy, bullies, violent, drunks, racist, killers, overweight . . . plus a few positive qualities, like courageous and trustworthy.
It seemed an odd exercise, here at the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, a summer camp icebreaker, particularly when they were urged to "please use your police voices." Something soon forgotten in the grim journey the officers-to-be, all in their 20s and 30s, were about to take....
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|Holocaust survivor Aaron Elster shares his experience with Chicago Police recruits.|