Three Rivers Chief of Police Tom Bringman shares his perspective

‘We are doing the best we can to protect and serve’

THREE RIVERS — Tom Bringman has been a member of the Three Rivers Police Department for 43 years. He served as a police officer for 33 years and is currently in his 10th year as the chief of police.
Bringman said he realized that he wanted to be a police officer when he was studying to be an accountant at Glen Oaks Community College.   
“I was going to [Glen Oaks] to become an accountant and I changed my mind because I did not want to sit at a desk all the time,” he said. “I chose to become a police officer because I wanted to do something interesting, challenging, and something that wouldn’t be the same thing day-after-day.”
When Bringman graduated from the police academy in Jackson in 1974, he joined the TRPD for the purpose of helping the community he grew up in.
“Being a police officer is a way to help people,” he said. “[The department] deals with a lot of negativity and by negativity I mean we see people at their worst, typically. When you deal with the negative day after day, it can take a toll on you. The way we can survive that is knowing that we are helping people [deal with] the negativity.”
For Bringman the hardest part about being a police officer is experiencing that negativity firsthand.  
“It is sad to see the things that people do to each other. Very rarely are people the victims of crimes that do not involve somebody they know. Growing up you think it is always a stranger and stranger danger is definitely something to be aware of, but most of the crimes involve someone you know; neighbors, relatives, or friends. That was a big shock for me to realize,” he said. “It is too bad some people don’t realize how they should value one another.”
As chief of the police force, Bringman said he emphasizes human dignity.
“One of the things we talk about here is treating people the way we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes,” he said.
“You can arrest somebody and treat them with respect and feel good about them, knowing that you are doing this because it is your job, not because you think you are better than them or anything along those lines.”
For Bringman, communication plays a key role in how he operates in the police force.
Please see Saturday’s Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.

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