Why Police Reform Won’t Die Under Trump

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Samuel Walker

Pessimists need to take a time-out, says one of the nation’s top experts on policing. The fact that so many police managers across the country already embrace new, community-conscious styles of law enforcement offers reason for guarded optimism—whatever the next president’s hardliner justice team may do.
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7 thoughts on “Why Police Reform Won’t Die Under Trump

  1. Learning to think of these as efforts at safety rather than simple “law & order” allows for including officer safety in the mix. A patrol officer might survive a dangerous encounter with an acutely mentally ill and violent citizen, but that doesn’t mean he or she isn’t traumatized by what happened. The fewer of these, the better…..

  2. Guardedly optimistic is a good way to put it. Trump/Giuliani can’t order a national stop and frisk effort, and they can’t order police reform efforts already under way in so many places to stop. We have to continue to demand that change toward better, more tempered and effective police will continue. As you say, these are ideas that have come from police leadership, and we need to back them up as well as have them understand that it’s what people want.

  3. More input is needed from line officers and use of force experts, not simply from heads of agencies. Chiefs are closer to the political influence than line officers who go “hands on” with suspects in the field. Some of the recommendations put the officer at risk at the time of the encounter and again afterwards at judgement. The Supreme Court standard should be the final rule with the officer at the scenes objective reasonableness as the decider.

  4. I think we need to remember a idea posed by Bobby Peel that “…that the police are the public and the public are the police…”. Essentially we all have a responsibility to maintain order and control crime in our communities. I continually remind my officers of Peel’s principles as well as “do unto others as you would as you would have them to unto you”. Very simple principles with significant meaning for our profession.

  5. This essay is typical: a police academic preaching the gospel of police reforms — this time put forth by the President’s Task Force and PERF — leading to a brighter future for U.S. police. It’s as if the last 30 years of police reforms going horribly awry never occurred. These same analysts have for the most part ignored the ways in which community and problem-oriented policing devolved into “quality of life enforcement,” taxation through citation, and police militarization. These same academics have ignored the police analysts, keen journalists, and community activists that have warned repeatedly about this devolution. At this point in my career I’ve grown tired of such weak, apologetic, and at times complicit responses from the academic community. Let us speak clearly and unequivocally — the crisis in U.S. policing is deep and wide; and yes, the Trump administration and all of the cultural/political baggage that goes with it will exacerbate an already rapidly deteriorating situation. Piece-meal reforms will not suffice; they never have.

  6. Yes Professor Walker police reform will survive and with Trump it may have a chance to survive ! The Obama administration tried to force these ideas down the throat of the police and, as expected, they regurgitated them, along with some good good ideas.

    Trump will do what the Obama administration refused to do- listen to the police. Obama assembled groups of like minded police professionals, who were anxious to please the President, and held sessions on police reform that were filled with people endorsing the progressive agenda on police reform. They then declared these ideas “best practices”, issues Reports, and somehow thought that the rank and file would simply put all of it into practice. There was no vetting of these ideas within the law enforcement community.

    Maybe now with Trump there will be a discussion about these ideas and a consensus can be arrived at between the cops and responsible voices for reform in these communities.

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