2 thoughts on “What We Can Learn From Baltimore

  1. Speaking both as a police veteran and social scientist, I think Mr. Doyle gives a spot-analysis that takes an urgently needed human performance perspective on the current crisis in American policing. Unfortunately, too much of the current response to the crisis offers ideological solutions to human performance problems. When all is said and done, police officers spend their days and nights making difficult decisions under murky, dynamic conditions. In that respect, they are no different than pilots, doctors, nurses, or a myriad of other professionals who must think and act on the spur of the moment and at peril of loss of life or limb if they make the wrong call. In comparison to most other kinds of high-stakes decision-making, the police mission is further complicated by political and moral ambivalence that no measure of social reform will ever completely remove. At present, the hiring, training, leadership, and evaluation of far too many American police organizations is simply not commensurate with the enormity of the tasks that we ask our cops to successfully complete. Mr. Doyle’s “collaborative safety” paradigm, as one might call it, is a step in the right direction.

    As it happens, my colleagues and I at Polis Solutions (http://www.polis-solutions.net/) are awaiting a funding decision from the DOJ that would create a national sentinel event clearinghouse to catalogue and analyze successes and failures in police de-escalation. We plan to incorporate some of NIJ’s definitions and protocols for identifying and analyzing situations in which an event had a severe negative outcome, but will also address incidents with unusually positive outcomes. Traditional sentinel event analyses in medicine, aviation, and other high-stakes fields focus on failures. We think it is equally important to understand the anatomy of success, particularly in the context of incidents where failure seemed likely, but was nonetheless avoided as the result of remarkably effective perceptions, decisions, and actions. We will also address the crucial phenomenon of error correction or what some medical practitioners call “good catches.”

    But as Mr. Doyle also rightly suggests, it will take a transformational evolution of police working and organizational culture to get to the point where police officers, their leaders, and commanders have a reflective, deliberative mindset oriented toward the constant pursuit of excellence in the service of justice. At present, however, the toxic mistrust between police and the communities they have sworn to serve perpetuates a siege mentality and defensiveness among many cops that only compounds a longstanding rank and file disregard for after action review as “Monday morning quarterbacking.” On top of that, police training is too often more of an executive exercise in near-term politicized panic response and litigation survival than it is a strategic organizational objective shaped by a top-to-bottom commitment to building safety, trust, and peace.

    At bottom, what is needed most to drive this and other elements of the police reform agenda is a widespread, collaborative recognition that there is no human right more basic than safety, and that the most marginalized as well as the most wealthy communities are entitled to it in equal measure. This means committing resources to sustainable reform programs that will have positive, long-term systemic effects, and not merely paper over what needs a deeper fix.

  2. The Crime rate is something for the Authories to talk about on camera but the average citizen driving or walking and is unarmed that Crime rate doesn’t mean much . The State of Maryland has very strict gun control laws and the criminals are having their guns ? Good Cops or Bad Cops ? when you are out after Midnight you are at risk from the Police and Criminals ? Iam always Armed so I can protect myself and family ?

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