There has been a steady decline in the relationship between the Ameican Law enforcement community and the citizens it is supposed to serve and protect.
We can and must turn this around. There are many people at fault but to solve this problem we badly need great leaders and real useful community involvement.
These stories never get easier to read or see. The shooting of young man in Minnesota is tragic. It is important that his brave companion recorded the fallout of the incident to help us understand how the victim followed the law (concealed carry holders have very specific rules when interacting with police–I know it well).
There seems to be an uptick in shooting instead of talking to citizens by police. Why?
We of course don’t know all the details of what happened before the shootings in most cases and you can never get inside the officers heads.
But we need to work together to bring the community back together. Police should not be this on edge when they approach citizens and citizens need to diffuse the heightened stress of the interactions.
If you have never been faced with that moment of having to draw a weapon in the face of danger, give it a shot. Join law enforcement and feel that stress. You don’t always get a second chance to draw your weapon when faced by a threat.
If you have never had a police officer point a gun at you. Give that a shot. It’s scary as shit and its best to not move and not speak.
How do we fix this?
1. Vilifying all police? Not likely to help. If you are part of the group stereotyping all police as bad or teaching your children that police can’t be trusted and shouldn’t be respected…your not helping.
2. Blaming the person who gets shot and arresting the victims friends? Not helpful. If you instinctively say every police officer is in the right after every shooting before you see the facts…your not helping.
3. Marching and protesting and filming police while they are trying to work? Raises awareness but awareness isn’t a solution. You might actually make it a more volatile situation by sticking a camera in the police officers face.
4. How about governors require ride-alongs in every community by mayors, civic leaders, pastors, teachers, business owners and interested citizens. Police need to meet their citizens and spend time talking about issues. Citizens need to see what our police are facing everyday. This is hard work and it requires a community to really solve it.
5. Police training must be more realistic and officers must be evaluated more closely. It’s not a job for everyone and upping the standards is never a bad idea when the environment they a operating in gets more complex.
6. Mandatory body cameras and immediate after action review analysis every time a police officer has to draw so the entire squad can talk through the scenario and learn from every interaction. Shoot / Don’t Shoot is a hard skill to learn and you lose it just as fast as you gain it without practice and evaluation.
We must unite as a country and identify using specific language the people that are widening this divide.
Bad police officers or poorly trained ones are part of the problem. If a department has violent, corrupt, or unprofessional officers and they a not working to remove them…they are part of the problem.
Citizens that don’t respect or cooperate with police are part of the problem. If your community stereotypes all police as the enemy and works against the idea of law and order, or you raise up entertainment figures that glorify a violent lifestyle that is disruptive to peace and security in the community…you are part of the problem.
We need to be listening to the President when he says the attacks on good police in Dallas was a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.” And that “no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement.”