The Problem With Police
The problem with police.
When I was about 9 years old I heard about an incident where a police officer beat an innocent elderly man who turned out to be mentally ill. The officer was charged but acquitted. I don’t remember all the details but I remember being upset about it enough to come up with an answer.
At that time, in the 1960s you could become a police officer with as little as a grade 10 education. Of course for most of history no education at all was required.
Now, obviously we need police. No doubt about that. And their job is often dangerous and often traumatizing.. Police are there to protect and enforce law and order. Yes they have the right to use force and even deadly force, but it should only be used as a last resort, and too often it’s used as a first.
Of course this is a natural reaction to trauma, but it’s still unacceptable.
Yes, over the years training and vetting has improved in some areas, but we still have sexism and racism in the force as well as a culture of police forces and even the courts standing behind violent abusive officers acquitting them of obvious horrendous crimes. All those things are unacceptable in today’s society.
So what can we do? More training? Sure. But in what? The answer I came up with at 9 years old still seems to be the right answer.
What is it police have to deal with? Crime sure. But what are they dealing with? The mind. You hear it all the time, they are not prepared to deal with the mentally ill. My question is: why not? That’s exactly what they need to be prepared to deal with all states of mind.
My idea was: they should all be trained psychologists for a start. They should be able to talk people down and avoid force at all costs except in extreme conditions as a last resort. We need very well educated people with the right attitude.
We need an entirely new idea of policing. Yes, police must be respected by the people, but they must also respect the people; even those they are arresting.
I must also say there are a lot of great people on the police force. Some already do try their best. But why do police forces tolerate and protect those who don’t? Tradition? That’s a tradition that’s got to stop.
I think we need a police university where people are trained in psychology, the mind, neuroscience, etc, and use that training to solve situations as humanly and peacefully as possible. We need to make sure the cultures of racism and sexism are eradicated in whatever police force we find them in, as well as eradicating the justice system’s culture of acquitting police officers on principal for crimes they would find anyone else guilty of. That’s the only way the public is going to trust police and respect them. Most people fear and distrust them now, and always have.
It’s high time we changed that for the average citizen. Criminals will always hate and fear police for various reasons, and that’s to be expected. Police should make anyone think twice about breaking the law. But they shouldn’t be afraid an officer is going to shoot first and ask questions later. We want a fair and just society for all. We need our police and justice system to reflect that.