To the editor:
I read your article – and wow it was a lot to unpack. You brought up incidents that I had long forgot (i.e. the Gaines case).
I will try to make my thoughts compact as to get to the point: I do believe that this is a good time to look at policing in the 21st century. But, I have the dubious position of being on both sides of the debate. I worked for law enforcement for 30 years in a civilian position. The last several years, I was targeted by what can only be described as a small cabal of corrupt sworn (three police and one civilian) officers. Until you are on the losing end of a dirty cop(s) you will see life in a whole new perspective.
I had to forfeit my paycheck in order to save my pension and my health. I also saw the inertia of bystanders (both sworn and civilian) watching the corruption unfold. It put me to mind a little of the Floyd incident – one makes a bad decision and others seem to go into some sort of submissive stupor. That is why when you noted “officers to intervene when another officer is using unnecessary force.” may have some merit but needs some tweaking.
In summary I will pin point some thoughts:
1) Policing is a noble profession – and the only thing that stands between civility and complete chaos.
2) Society, at large, seems to be more violent and disrespectful of law enforcement (I never thought I would live to see the day when bricks, frozen water bottles, etc., would be hurled at officers. It seems to be a badge of honor to hurt a police officer).
3) The police are now being tasked with domestic terrorists – and the training needs to adjust.
4) Monday quarterbacking is a MUST – these body cams and cell phone footage should give perspective. Why three officers could not restrain Jacob Blake – was he that strong? Is their training lax? Why were they walking around with guns drawn? Could they have not jumped him before he got in the car? You see what I am getting at.
5) Also, training needs to be constant – not two times a year to meet the minimum. These situations require instant thinking, which only comes from repetitive training.
In conclusion, I think a panel of people (experts) and a good cross section should and could make an impact (PS: I would volunteer my perspective and experiences). Not politicians trying to score political clout with the populous and check off points. Not just the FOP, where they seem to defend everyone and everything, but perspectives that would make both sworn officers and the citizens they protect and serve safer.