We Need to Address the Problem of Police Violence in the USA

By: Jeremy Greenwald

In the wake of the events that unfolded in Dallas some leaders publicly expressed their discontent with the status quo, with even fewer of them elaborating on what they mean by “police and criminal justice reforms” as Secretary Clinton stated in her remarks last Friday. It is time that we take a look at what specifically can be done in order to bring about justice and bring an end to the violence that has plagued our inner city streets, and the strife that has raged in our hearts and minds.

The USA has over 18,000 individual police departments, each with their own unique training, procedures, hiring requirements, and tactics when it comes to combating crime. Experts such as the former Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, Charles Ramsey, state that for America to have a more effective police force, he would like to “cut the number (of Police Departments) in half... in the next ten years or so” and also have a more uniform standard operating procedure for police departments. Officers would be subject to the same types of screenings, training, and codes no matter where they patrol in the country. This type of uniformity is largely beneficial because when every police department is unique and has autonomy, when the Department of Justice recommends a course of action, the individual departments can and do ignore the findings. With a unilateral police code, one strike of a pen can change how the entire country’s officers do their jobs in order to respond to public outcry.

Police are able to hide behind a wall of bureaucracy to validate their actions, and that is not okay. They are being shielded by their commanding officers, the justice system, and the investigation process and it is time that the officers that commit brutality against citizens are brought to justice. Police leadership plays a huge role in how officers conduct their business, for instance, David Brown has done a fabulous job in Dallas. Complaints of excessive violence on the part of officers are down by two-thirds since he took over in 2010. This turbulent moment in our history is one that cannot be allowed to pass without action. We need independent governing bodies comprised of citizens to oversee the complaints issued to police departments on a local case-by-case basis, much like the citizens of Ferguson have done with their Civilian Review Board. This allows not only confidentiality to be brought to the complaint process, but also justice to be more transparent so that more police officers who violate the rights of those they have sworn to protect are brought to justice. This effort would do leaps and bounds in the eyes of the disillusioned, heartbroken protester, while in turn showing some sort of effort to address the problem at large.

We Need to Address the Problem of Police Violence in the USA We Need to Address the Problem of Police Violence in the USA Reviewed by Student Voices on 11:04 Rating: 5

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