Let’s Listen to Cops—If We Want Real Policing Reform

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Photo by David Robert Bliwas via Flickr

There’s a troubling gap between what senior police managers and outside reformers want law enforcement to become, and what most ordinary cops see as threatening to their livelihoods and safety. Here are some ways to bridge the gap—and restore trust and transparency.
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2 thoughts on “Let’s Listen to Cops—If We Want Real Policing Reform

  1. I have been a paramedic for 20 years, and while I agree that empathy and compassion and problem solving are necessary to do the job, there have been many times when we were backed up by a police officer, or when we had to give the option of “the easy way or hard way” to the client, and I’ve always been grateful to have law enforcement at my back at those times. The client doesn’t always choose the easy way. People are not inherently good.
    De escalation is a tactic, and worthwhile as a training tool, but the liberal left has been overzealous in prosecuting police officers forced to make decisions in split seconds, and the media is too quick to demonize the police as racists and murderers when someone of color gets shot.
    Getting politics and the media onside of law enforcement has to be a first step, concurrent with new training techniques that don’t involve emasculating the police ability to stop or drop violent offenders. The police should not be required to support anything if they are unsupported themselves. otherwise it will be business as usual. God help you all if you see the blue line break.

  2. True policing reform actually has very little to do with the police. If Americans really want to see changes, the politicians and public need to be willing to support systemic change. For decades law enforcement has been asked to handle every aspect of society’s problems, from homelessness to substance abuse to mental illness. The mental health system alone is a broken system that causes a crushing drain on the criminal justice system. The amount of resources spent dealing with mentally ill offenders is staggering. There are NO other options than to wait for a MI individual to harm somebody and then either take him or her to jail, or a crisis unit. The crisis clinic holds them for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours before releasing them. The “72 hour hold” is mainly a myth. Trying to get an MI individual committed for longer than a day or two practically takes an act of Congress. Many of these people are ALWAYS a danger to themselves and others, yet receive zero help from the mental health system. The underlying problem is never addressed and law enforcement is forced to deal with them again and again. These sorts of societal problems are critical to being able to see any sort of “change.”

    Another critical issue is training. After the Academy, most cops in America receive 8 hours of defensive tactics training a YEAR. This isn’t nearly enough time to even maintain proficiency, let alone incorporate scenario based training or integrating different force options with verbal skills. Training is extremely expensive and because of horrendous staffing levels, many departments can’t afford to take officers off the road for training. When the City/County administrators put their money where their mouths are and actually pay for consistent and realistic training, you will see officers using more effective force…which equals LESS force.

    Jaden Michael http://www.wannabeacop.com

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