We have taken the philosophy of customer service (a square peg), and repeatedly tried to force it into the law enforcement profession (a round hole). This was a well intended idea that someone took from the world of business and tried to make it work for their law enforcement agency, and it has continued to spread. The problem: we don’t have customers as police officers. We swear an oath before God to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. That is our solemn contract with society, not a customer service policy similar to the one at your local gas station. Full Article
Let me try to explain my perspective on the difference between "Public Service" (what we do in law enforcement) and "Customer Service."
If you walk into WalMart and want a pair of pants they will happily serve you - if you have the money to pay for the pants, that is. If you try to take the pants without paying for them, WalMart will no longer feel obligated to follow their customer service philosophy. You are no longer a customer to them. But law enforcement is different - we are guardians of justice.
A LARGE portion of our citizens don't even pay taxes. They don't pay for police services of any type. In the business world that would mean they have no right to our services or protection. We could ignore their 911 calls and refuse to arrest those who would prey upon them. But "Public Service" is a higher calling, with higher standards than "Customer Service." We don't turn anyone away for lack of paying their taxes or our paycheck, because we are not a business focused on customer service. We stand for honor and integrity because we are not for sale.
Walmart provides a service to the people. If the people don’t like the service, they can go to Costco or Target. They can even go to another city's WalMart to return the item and ask for better service, but it doesn't work that way with law enforcement. When people are not happy with being arrested by me, they can't go complain to all the other police agencies until one of them drops my charges (in an obvious attempt to steal their repeat business away from me). Even if they paid their taxes and my salary - making them a customer of law enforcement - it won't get them out of trouble. That's because we are not a business wanting repeat customers. We are public servants who protect citizens, not who serve customers. You can take select areas of customer service and ADAPT them for law enforcement, but all to often they are just copied and pasted into policies.
To say that we serve citizens through customer service, like WalMart, is a disservice to the men and women who have given their lives in the Public Service to society.
Adding more unnecessary philosophies, rules, or policies will not make the square peg fit any better into the round hole. We have an Oath to God to uphold the constitution and to protect life and property, and that should be the focus for our officers. Customer service was not added to the oath when it was written over 200 years ago by our fore fathers - probably because they knew better.