When It Comes to the Police, I’d Rather Sink
Ezinne Ukoha
95

I have always wondered. What are the basic requirements to be a police officer. I have been given the impression that all one needs is a high school diploma and to pass their various tests. I have been shocked by the fact that there seems to be little in the way of how to SERVE the communities they are there to protect. I am sure that many people would find this notion silly but as someone with a degree in social work it blows my mind how much empathy is emphasized in educating social workers but for people who are issued lethal weapons there is no such training. All of my interactions with officers have left me feeling like they are only taught to establish and assert control over people and I am a blue eyed white woman. They are not explicitly taught about power, how their authority given by the state has historically been used to oppress, how easy it is to abuse that power no matter their intentions, how to be self aware about their feelings toward the people they are charged with protecting, how to interact with cultures that are not their own with respect, how to de-escalate situations. All of this is part of a social worker’s training. All of these are necessary to understand and successfully interact with the public that social workers are there to help. Understanding all of these things should be a prerequisite to carrying a lethal weapon in the service of the public.

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