Friday, August 21, 2015

Patrolling: PNP and AFP Compared

My last article generated a slew of replies especially in Facebook, both from the pros and those against allowing high school graduates to join the PNP by scrapping the college degree requirement.  Because I do not have the demographics of the persons who made their ideas known, I cannot make conclusions as to the basis of their frame of mind, their backgrounds, and the likes that may have influenced their thought processes that shaped their opinions.  But in my personal discussions with friends and peers, I noticed that those who favor the scrapping of the college degree as a requirement for entry in the PNP are those who belong to the old guards—like Ramon Tulfo—thus many of them inevitably predicate their premise with, “noong unang panahon…”  Those who are from the younger generations however, especially the criminology students, tend to gravitate towards the retention of the requirement.

Then most of the time, the term patrolling inevitably gets in the forefront of the discussion, being the most common and visible job of the police.  The pro scrapping contends that college graduates
will be harder to order to conduct patrol “unlike in the olden times when high school policemen actually pound the beat.”  Like Tulfo, the phrase, “Hindi ako grumadweyt ng collge para lang magpapawis sa kalsada!” and the contention that “most quitters in training are the college graduates” get into the fray.

These are fallacies and for this article, let me first focus on the patrolling aspect and the mis-appreciation that "high school graduates will do this job better than the college graduates."  Here are the reasons why:

The patrolling that the old foggies refer to being performed by high school graduates are those military patrols of the PC that looks like this in action:

 Like their counterpart in the Army, they move like this:

While the patrolling that is “pounding the beat” performed by the INP are performed by personnel who look like this:

A PC patrol is composed of 7 to 8 persons led by a COMMISSIONED OFFICER.  Then and now, these officers are graduates of the PMA or the OCS and the youngest is usually 21 years old.  Moreover, graduating from the PMA automatically confers to them the degree of Bachelor of Science.   This officer is the decision maker of the patrol team, being the most senior in terms of rank and educational attainment.  These PC patrols are deployed in the boondocks with the main purpose of searching and destroying the enemy.  Police visibility is not in their vocabulary and on the contrary, remaining hidden is one of the main principles of these teams, especially the PC Rangers!

Compare this to a police beat patrol.  Then and now, a beat patrol is normally composed of 2 to 3 persons, ideally on board a patrol car.  Rarely do you see INP or PNP officers (Police Inspector and up) pounding the beat together with their men.  Virtually, the patrol personnel are left on their own during their duty especially during the initial “responde.”  While this absence of the officer is not ideal, there is really nothing much that the officers can do since the ratio of PCO to PNCO is usually 1:30 thus the PCOs are most of the time on supervisory mode as inspectors of deployment and the like.  (This is VERY VERY WRONG by the way and I will make an article regarding this matter.)  Police patrol teams are deployed in urban centers and one of their foremost objectives is police visibility.  They are expected to be the face of the government not only in peace and order but in ALL incidents where the ordinary folk views as out of the normal.  Thus as early as 1936, the great August Vollmer stated:

The citizen expects police officers to have the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of David, the strength of Samson, the patience of Job, the leadership of Moses, the kindness of the Good Samaritan, the faith of Daniel, the tolerance of the Carpenter of Nazareth, and, finally, an intimate knowledge of every branch of the natural, biological, and social sciences. If he had all of these, he might be a good policeman.

Can a high school graduate do this better than a college graduate?

Well, let us go back to the law.  In history, can we find any indication that the law differentiates between the foot soldiers and the foot policeman?

First and foremost, even in the AFP nowadays, 72 units in college is a must.  While high school graduates can be accepted, they are required to possess “special skills.”  Here are the screenshots from the AFP:

But for the police, since almost 50 years ago, when REPUBLIC ACT NO. 4864 was passed on August 8, 1966 (hence the hallowed date of August 8 as the PC/INP day), these policemen from the INP, specifically those in provincial and city units, were already a cut above their high school graduate counterparts from the PC.  Section 9, item number 4 of the Act states

Sec. 9. General Qualifications for Appointment. No person shall be appointed to a local police agency unless he possesses the following qualifications:

 (4) For appointment in the municipalities he must have at least completed high school, and for provinces and cities, at least completed two years college; 

Now let us examine some modern day, real life scenarios.

Here are a couple of police intervention situations that were recorded on tape where policemen are caught in a middle of incidents where they have to make life and death decisions.

(SM Rosales, Pangasinan Shooting:  December 21, 2014)

And this is how other policemen, security guards, and ordinary folks react to another situation (SM Pampanga Shooting:  September 20, 2011):

Don’t you think that maturity plays a very important role in the decision making processes in these situations?  Forget about the training.  Especially in the second video, don't you think that common sense should be enough?

So, who are you going to trust your life with?  A PO1 fresh out of high school or a college graduate?
Well, training may have something to do with the actions of these policemen as I have discussed in a recent article.  Here it is:

What you do in training, you do in battle…

But as it stands right now, the Pilosopong Tasyos may say that it is a choice between the rock and the deep blue sea.  But it is a different story that requires an entirely separate article.

Next:  Patrolling as defined and expected by PDIR Ric Marquez, Chief, Philippine National Police

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