Millions of Americans are on the streets, shouting "Black Lives Matter." Millions more are at home thinking, “We need police reform!”

Well, people have been fighting for police reform for decades. Sometimes at great personal cost. And still, seemingly every day, there’s another headline RE: David McAtee. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Philando Castile. Tamir Rice. Too many to name. So many it hurts to try.

“What is the alternative?” you might say. We cannot snap our fingers and remove police from the streets...then snap ‘em again and remove violence from our society.

But let’s say you’re calling 911 for a home invasion. Or more likely: domestic violence. Or a loved one who’s having a psychotic episode (perhaps with drugs or alcohol).

Would you want someone to respond who’s, say, a professional de-escalator?

Or would you want someone who spent one long, boring day watching PowerPoints or video trainings on the topic...a sidenote to the "real" business of policing?

And who might enter your home, guns blazing? Who might shoot the culprit (extrajudicially, I might add!) Or might accidentally hit "bystanders": your family. You.

The second scenario is already keeping many Americans from calling for help.

Now some of you will take to the comments to say: “You ignorant snowflake, many departments already have negotiators!” So, let's be clear: 99.99% of us will go our whole lives without ever seeing one of those. And if you think that police shootings cannot happen to anyone, then please, ask around here in Frederick County.

It is time to seriously discuss replacing the whole model of policing entirely - and what our system should look like instead.

(29) comments

mrnatural1

I like the idea of removing some responsibilities from the police, but I'm curious as to how that would work.

For example a social worker might be able to handle some domestic disturbance calls -- but those can turn violent very quickly. It is not uncommon for the aggressor to attack or shoot at the police.

Same with people who are drunk and/or on drugs. Sometimes all of the above are going on at once.

It seems like a good idea to have a cop respond with the social worker.

threecents

Nail on the head: Policing problems are not only related to discrimination, though that is a huge part of it.

mamlukman

Everyone needs to research the origins of public police forces. Volunteer night watchmen, etc. were replaced by a professional police force in England in the 1830s. They were intentionally modeled on the military--uniforms, insignia, ranks, etc. US cities adopted this model.

But it's interesting to see that investigating crime was a very late development. That wasn't their purpose. The original purpose was preventative--uniformed police on the street deterred street crimes. And the first police departments in the US were in Boston and NY. Why? Yes, they were large cities, as were many other cities. The difference was that they were major ports. Rich merchants wanted someone to guard their warehouses. They had been hiring private guards. Then someone got a brilliant idea: why not convince the public that a public police force (paid for by taxes!) would be a good thing. So police forces were formed--to benefit the rich.

Later in the 19th c. rich industrialists realized that police were a good tool to break up strikes and control demonstrators. So they supported enlarging the police forces to protect their interests. And voila, we have the police as they are today.

The previous letter writer is also absolutely right about military in the police. I researched this as well. As he says, no one is keeping statistics. But individual studies have been done. The consensus is that ex-military make up between 20-30% of police forces. Does it matter? No surprise--it does. You have a large part of the police trained to think of the "enemy" and trained to kill, not de-escalate situations. A study of the Dallas Police force showed that police who were ex-military were about 3x as likely to fire their weapons if they had served in combat zones; 2x if they had not. And of course you should ask yourself why these ex-military wanted to join police forces rather than become insurance adjusters or construction workers.

joelp77440

One major problem is that we hire ex-military to be civilian police instead of social workers. The reason the police is a paramilitary force is because it is a ex-military force. Nobody can quantify those numbers for some departments the rate is less and in others, much more. 2017 NYPD veteran rate was 19% which is on the low side but some forces are much more. Maybe offering a partial student loan repayment option for social science students to join the force for two years will get a wide range of candidates.

Blueline

I can guarantee you that 98% of social science students either would not, or could not do a cop's job.

shiftless88

I can guarantee you that 98% of police either would not, or could not, do a social scientist's job. That is the point. They are different jobs and we are trying to use one person who is ill-equipped to do it. One only need to look at the theater death here in Frederick.

wran

I have had numerous interactions with Frederick County Sheriff deputies. I have been impressed with their professionalism, courtesy, and helpfulness.

phydeaux994

The “code of silence” is a barrier to Police Reform. It has protected bad Cops since the beginning of time. Ironically, it’s the same as the “code” for the criminals. “Snitches get Stitches”. Yes, it is the “Bad Apples” that are the problem. But any “Good Cop” that breaks the “code” may as well resign. Any request for “backup” may be slow coming next time, or may never come. That will be a tough nut to crack. Their lives depend on their fellow Officers. They can’t give that up.

bosco

And you would know this how, Fido?[ninja]

shiftless88

Besides reading many, many, many first-hand accounts and also knowing a number of LEOs? I don't know about phy and how they know, but this is not exactly a mystery.

phydeaux994

What shiftless88 said bosco.⬆️

LeBlancp01

I fundamentally agree with working towards a new model and prefer the concept of superimposing a Citizens Services Department with authority to facilitates/manage all aspects Human Health and Safety Services within City and County that includes Safety,(Police) and Health and Human Services. In this model the Citizen Service would own the responsivity to collect and maintain all records(Data) of City activities relate to its Citizens and actively use the data to manage the delivery of services and to administer all policy and procedure for each department delivering services. The Policing and Health services in the model would be set of several tools to support the fare and adequate delivery of services to all citizens.

I believe a working group in the City and County should be formed to peruse this concept and make it is realty.

DickD

Ashley is one more person that doesn't understand defund the police means policing more effectively. Make sure that the police are more involved with the community they police and take away their unneeded armored vehicles. Black Life's Matter means police have been unnecessarily brutal to the black population.

Lemmy

"police have been unnecessarily brutal to the black population."

The data shows your statement to be false.

phydeaux994

Show us the data Lemmy.

Blueline

Or, maybe it's time to re-raise society's personal expectation levels just a notch.

DickD

That is right.

Reader1954

so instead of defunding police how about we spend more on training

DickD

That would help.

DickD

How about having a County wide police force that is appointed by the CE or County Council so we can get the best police officers without the current "good 'ole boy politics.

gabrielshorn2013

Dick, what evidence do you have that an appointed sheriff is better than an elected one? In the United States today, of the 3083 sheriffs, approximately 98 percent are elected by the citizens of their counties or parishes (1). This gives the citizens more input into the operations of the Sheriff's Office. Furthermore, in order to maintain its certification, the Sheriff's Office must maintain its transparency, and accountability to the public (2). Do you believe that an appointed Sheriff is an apolitical one? In that scenario, the Sheriff serves at the pleasure of the CE. Do you believe that 100% of the citizens in any county jurisdiction that have appointed police chiefs approve of the performance of those individuals? Changing for the sake of change is seldom a good idea.

(1) https://www.sheriffs.org/about-nsa/history/roots#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%20today,of%20their%20counties%20or%20parishes.

(2) https://calea.org/what-accreditation

BunnyLou

I don’t agree, the sheriff should remain under the control of electorate. As we have seen in major cities, mayors have not allowed the police to police for the fear of offending someone. This is wrong. The Sheriff protects all citizens of our county not just a select few.

DickD

And you prove the point of electing "good 'ole boys".

gabrielshorn2013

How so Dick?

DickD

Gabe, I know you don't agree, but look at the law suits caused by poor police interactions. There have been a number of them and you know them.

gabrielshorn2013

Completely understand Dick, and I believe I know the incidents that you are referring to. But that is not an issue of elected vs. appointed Sheriff. Poor policing happens in appointed officials too. The most recent being Atlanta and Minneapolis, both with appointed top LEO officials. I posted the link to the CALEA accreditation page previously. Here is the one for the general website: https://www.calea.org/

BunnyLou

You are assuming all officers are bad. More training is not required. How about an evaluation of all officers presently serving their communities and review their records. Dismiss those that have a history and keep those that don’t. I don’t want to pretend that just because a complaint has been filed means it has validity. No, it must be vetted for accuracy and the severity of the complaint would be the basis to action to be taken. Don’t forget that everybody has rights, that means everybody even the police.

DickD

It is not a matter of police officers being wrong,.it is a matter of doing your best to resolve bad situations. Using excessive force is not good policing.

LeBlancp01

No, Not exactly. I believe the issue is more on where money is spent and what the benefits are to all. That is to rework of the system not just a shifting of funds. Mainly reshaping the City and County into a Citizen Health and Safety service instead of a set of separate functions. Funding need to be rebalanced to support the complete system of delivery of services.

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