It is easy to be cynical about LAPD officers discussing the weather with someone expecting to be rousted. However, small acts such as this can have a large and significant impact on the world view of both the officers and the civilians involved.
We define ourselves by how we act. Treating others as human beings causes us to see them as human beings. Accumulative, minor acts of kindness and friendliness toward long-time adversaries would lead to a major shift in outlook--enemies would be seen as friends. A reciprocal reaction would occur. Few people could continue to hate others who are consistently friendly toward them.
LAPD and community leaders take equal note: The opposite outcome is possible as well. Treating any group in a hostile and unfriendly way causes more feelings of animosity toward that group, and in turn elicits hostility from them.
GARY EMERY, Los Angeles