19,495 cities. 17,985 US police agencies. 900,000 law enforcement officers.
Reform has always been tricky.
We will get pushback from people whether we tighten or loosen regulations/restrictions.
Seatbelt laws added another burden for automakers but they were necessary to protect drivers.
I personally feel health care providers are overregulated when it comes to controlled substances, but that’s a story for another day.
Some of my peers advocate police reforms in response to the Minneapolis disaster.
The officer who killed George Floyd in cold blood had 18 complaints about him prior to him killing Floyd. Perhaps he should have been suspended, fired, or even charged before this incident.
I have one brother say a complaint system is tricky.
Many bitter criminals can make complaints about officers who arrest them all the time.
Incidents like Rodney King has made a system to allow these complaints to slow down the promotion of the accused officers.
If new reforms allow more weight on these complaints, we may make policing more difficult and less effective, which may then result in weakening of protection of law abiding citizens.
On investigation committees: some of them are going to be representatives of the people. One third of African American males have felony records, which are plead down to misdemeanors in LA county. They may elect a representative that is unfair and skewed against police officers.
These are valid concerns. But it is also true we have a few cities like Minneapolis and Ferguson with terrible histories of long resisted reforms, unchecked racism, etc.
A NYT article: https://www.nytimes.com/…/us/derek-chauvin-george-floyd.html, states, “it remains notoriously difficult in the United States to hold officers accountable, in part because of the political clout of police unions, the reluctance of investigators, prosecutors and juries to second-guess an officer’s split-second decision and the wide latitude the law gives police officers to use force.”
Police departments themselves have often resisted civilian review or dragged their feet when it comes to overhauling officer disciplinary practices. And even change-oriented police chiefs in cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia — which over the last few years have been the sites of high-profile deaths of black men by white officers — have struggled to punish or remove bad actors.
Even when officers are dismissed, public employees can appeal their dismissals — and in scores of cases across the country, the officers often win.
Across the country, civilian review boards — generally composed of members of the public — have been notoriously weak. They gather accounts, but cannot enforce any recommendations.
Locals in Minneapolis feel some of the officers think they don’t have to abide by their own training and rules when dealing with the public.
The head of the police union, Lt. Bob Kroll, once said to Teresa Nelson, legal director for ACLU of Minnesota, that he views community complaints like fouls in basketball.
A former police chief, Janee Harteau, said she took many steps to reform the department, including training officers on implicit bias and mandating the use of body cameras. But the police union, she said, fought her at every turn.
The Department of Justice looked into the Ferguson PD and on March 4, 2015 reported that officers in Ferguson routinely violated the constitutional rights of the city’s residents, by discriminating against African Americans and applying racial stereotypes, in a “pattern or practice of unlawful conduct within the Ferguson Police Department that violates the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and federal statutory law” https://www.justice.gov/…/ferguson_police_department_report…
Justice is tricky.
Police unions and juries may be too lenient or even abuse their influence and ability to excuse police officers, even the bad ones, and so they acquit the guilty.
Civilian review boards may be overzealous or indiscriminate in persecuting police officers for apparent bad behavior and so they condemn the innocent.
Certainly, preaching the gospel and getting people to repent of their sins and trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of their sins and to receive the Holy Spirit will do much in ameliorating these problems. In Christ, civilians learn to trust more in the justice of God and police officers learn to use their authority in more self sacrificial ways.
Still, on the practical side of things, we seem to have a problem in America, and we have to start somewhere and look at steps we can change on a case by case, city by city basis.