Partnering with the Police is Always Productive

By Stephen Owsinski

One of the easiest things to do is spread hate and spew spittle at people who have a dirty job to do. Just ask any cop. The stories abound and will have you speechless…maybe even wondering, Is this a joke?

The reality is, many bad things happen in our society, and law enforcement officers are the go-to guys and gals from whom we expect wrongs are made right. Despite the outlandish tsunami of those demanding defunding and/or abolishing the police, cops push on against that unrelenting nonsensical wave.

It may not be pretty out there, and roll-call rooms waft read-outs revealing atrociously graphic scenarios requiring police attention. Yet as per usual, cops do their darndest to “protect and serve” and keep the peace. Thankfully, there are pro-police persons who not only model civility but also support LEOs in formal and informal ways.

The most optimized efforts toward leading happy, healthy lives in a democratic republic stem from partnerships, whereby police officials responsible for maintaining law and order are exceedingly successful by virtue of citizens co-opting with cops to ensure contentment and deserved destiny for all.

Depending on where you click, social media platforms can be either harmonious and joyous or grossly angst-ridden, terse, and troll-ish.

I frequently explore the net for what seems ripe with mutual dividends–seeds sprouting with greatness after nurturance is invested are everywhere.

Recently, I scrolled/landed upon a brief video thumbnail depicting a uniformed policeman and a civilian seated at a café table. My gut told me this would be worth my time. I clicked on the thumbnail to discover a duo who met long ago in a high school setting where there was mention of a “Second Chance” program.

The duo we are referring to is comprised of Des Moines Senior Police Officer Mike Moody and a man named Will Keeps, a rapper.

Officer Moody brought his guitar-playing skills and singing ability, and Mr. Keeps synched his vocal and song-writing talents.

(Screenshot from Will Keeps YouTube channel performance.)

According to the Des Moines Register, this dynamic duo recorded the video at “the Starts Right Here non-profit” in downtown Des Moines, “home to Keeps’ educational and mentorship program for at-risk youth.

What was the impetus behind this cop/citizen collab?

A chance meeting at a school event in which Officer Moody heard Mr. Keeps’ message delivered to students, dissuading the youngsters from bad influences.

Officer Moody approached Keeps and suggested melding together their efforts by producing a visual message emphasizing unity. Moody stated he plays guitar.

As Mr. Keeps told the media, “At first, I was like, ‘OK, a lot of people can.’ But then I saw him playing online and I was like, ‘Wow, he can really play!’  Mike had told me he wanted to do something together, and I was like, ‘Let’s make this happen!’”

Geared toward solutions and not fueling the fire like those barking anti-police messages, Keeps and Officer Moody set their own score, with melodic modifications of the Bon Jovi hit song performed by the rapper.

“Everybody was pointing fingers, but nobody was doing anything!” Officer Moody said about the climate of blame-game and zero action.

Keeps echoed Officer Moody’s sentiments and purpose: “I don’t keep talking about the problems, I go for solutions. I want to find the solutions of how we can come together, how we can figure this out together. And that means building that relationship.”

Per Officer Moody, “You have to take that first step in building a relationship and letting other people know exactly who you are, what you are, what you’re about. Because sometimes it gets really blurred out.”

Talk about two people being on the exact same page.

It’s no wonder Officer Moody was blown away when he heard Keeps’ lecture to inner city youth at the school.

Des Moines Police Officer Mike Moody and Will Keeps joined forces and posted a brief musical/message derived from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Mr. Keeps’ vocals and partially ad-libbed lyrics synched with Officer Moody’s guitar-strumming formed a duet nugget portraying what materializes when at least two folks get together for goodness.

And, frankly, this sort of organic growth involving police officers and citizens is transpiring all over the nation, albeit ill-reported.

Of the same growth mindset, Keeps’ organization called “Starts Right Here,” has a mission statement which reads:

“The movement derives from the notion that whatever the adversity presents itself in the urban core, thereby can also be the epicenter of that positive paradigm change that brings about an overcoming narrative for lost kids and families.”

Police agencies have tons of constructive programs for their constituents to take advantage of; conversely, law enforcement leaders embrace community-based organizations and co-opt efforts to enhance quality-of-life principles.

Taking a supportive stance, Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert put his brass where his mouth is and bonded with Mr. Keeps, who said, “I will stand with this man until the end of time! He has been my friend, my mentor, my board member and my Chief, Love him to death!”

Indeed, it sometimes takes a village. As Matthew 18:20 informs: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” I suspect these two right here live that verse:

(Photo courtesy of Will Keeps, creator of Starts Right Here.)

According to the Des Moines Police site, they employ a contingent of 362 sworn cops and 103 civilian support personnel serving a population of almost 211,000, equating to a decent-size army fighting for goodness.

Definitely starts right here, and they’re getting it done!

To button-up this message of collaboration, partnership, and fundamentally being there for the community, traditional principles of policing are underscored by yet another portrayal of a cop whose professionalism, keenness, insights, avowed constitutional objectives, and personal talents manifested for those served by the law enforcement institution.

These stories and their fruit-bearing outcomes abound!

LEOs are multifaceted folks. Fair to say Officer Moody was playing for Keeps, and the collaborations displaying the good to come from cops and citizens banding together always lead to productive sessions for all to enjoy, planting seeds of unity when others sow division.

As my police chief reiterated, “No fighting, no looting, no riots, no burning things down…no hidden agenda and no nonsense.” Just two guys livin’ on a prayer and offering a powerful message.

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