The Police Must Adapt To An Entirely New Beat.

less of this perhaps

more of this

The police forces in America are local paramilitary forces. As such they are failing to adapt to a new battlefield. It’s a more dynamic, more dangerous, and hopefully more just battlefield. It will be a beat where the vagaries and cruel whims of a few small town gendarmes are disinfected with the sunlight of social media. It will be a beat where those that dispense justice will increasingly have to answer for their mistakes the way any other person in any other job has to answer for their mistakes.

The police don’t need more tanks. They don’t need more bullet-proof vests. They don’t need more snipers on the roof.

They need new tactics.

The police have to learn to police their communities without defaulting to a worst case scenario in daily police activity.

The Police have to stop killing citizens in large numbers. Each year over 1000 Americans die at the business end of police justice, and the actual figure is just a guess. The suspects die from bullets, and they die from Tasers and they die from batons. They die from asphyxiation.

A middle aged Judo Brown Belt would probably do a better job of subduing an assailant than four heavily armed police with tens more headed in to back them up.

We have to train Police to take people down and hold them without killing them, without injuring them, without brutalizing them and without humiliating them.

It’s that simple. I believe that maybe what community members in Ferguson and Baltimore people are trying to communicate, but the inchoate rage of rioters overshadow reasonable discourse.

We need more Andy Of Mayberry and less Joe Arpaio. Arpaio is certainly feared by the folks in his county. But he is cruel and his method engenders fear and hatred and resistance.

Another idea emerging from this sudden increase in exposure to police brutality, is that the police need to be policed. Not by themselves. That would be like trusting Congress to act on behalf of their constituents versus their lobbyist friends. No. We have all had enough of the fox guarding the hen house.

The police need oversight. There should be a national Police Review Board with state or regional chapters that review all violent or controversial police engagements. At the very least someone please right down the names of people killed and add up the number of people killed. We know the exact value of the S&P and the exact value of the Nasdaq and the exact value of a share of Coke. We should know how many people the police are shooting. If we don’t look at it, it will not go away. This way we can imagine better ways of arresting people without escalating hostilities. There are some police departments that have to do a lot to much to win back their own communities and they would probably benefit from new ideas in engaging the members of their community.

This is not to disparage the police in the US in anyway. It is not just a moral argument. It is a business proposition. Certainly the police don’t want bad results. I believe most police have the best intentions in mind for their suspects and their communities. But the citizen casualty rate is just not acceptable.

If we change the argument from race relations and we include the topic of creating better cops, then many of the other problems with likely abate.

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