While many have been caught up in a impassioned discussion of race and policing in America, leading several individuals and groups to call for the deconstruction and defunding of police forces in this country I must respectfully disagree with that position.
We have seen dramatic examples of the type of lawlessness and riot that can and does break out when effective policing breaks down. Judging from what I have heard from victims of this type of crime I don’t believe anyone but the rioters and organized crime rings who ran roughshod over an unprepared population would welcome such a proposal.
I do believe however that it is time to re-think how we TRAIN our police and start to think of ways to interact with a civilian population other than to regard them as a possible insurgency force which can only be controlled by military-style authorities. I also believe it is time to reexamine the “shoot until your gun is empty” mentality held by some departments and taught at many police academies. Although I fully believe some people need to be quickly and forcibly detained by an authoritative agency I do not believe they – we – need to be regarded as potential targets and threats.
This year has been specially terrible for both police, who have lost a number of their own in several highly publicized incidents which only dramatize the level of irrationality currently in play in this country as well as for the public they serve — who have had to stand by and watch while officers LITERALLY stood on the necks of unarmed civilians until life left them.
We need the police. But it’s time to fix them and find a way to let them know they are here to protect us and not control us.