Good Cop, Bad Cop

The Broken Trust by American Police

There are times, like the past several days since my last post, that one should stop and observe what is happening around the country. Between mainstream media and internet news organizations there is a wealth of information to look over on just about any topic.

With all that is happening in the US, from Black Lives Matter protests to the devastation being caused by the coronavirus to American lives, the economy, and the loss of faith in the actions by the federal government to get the coronavirus under control, we are lost and struggling to see a path of safety.

President Trump has released his “dogs of war” of federal law enforcement agencies on cities in the United States. In at least the city of Portland, these officers have taken unconstitutional actions, snatching people off the streets without probable cause. It has been observed that there are officers without officer and agency identification visibly displayed on their uniforms. People taken were placed into unmarked vans and driven away. This is not the way law enforcement is suppose to operate.

But it just isn’t just federal law enforcement that has been working outside the boundaries of law. There has been reporting, a lot of reporting, on the excessive use of force and brutality by police agencies around America. From the NYPD to the LAPD and in between, police officers have acted as if they are free to act as they please without repercussions.

The trust that a large portion of US citizens have in law enforcement has been broken by the methods being employed by police around the United States. It seems though that any Republican elected to state or federal governments are doing their best to distract Americans from these excesses by pointing to the violence of protests around the country. They call anyone exercising their 1st Amendment rights anarchists and criminals. The general broad brush that is used to justify unacceptable behavior by police in America is like excusing the lynching of a Black man.

There is a fairly visible record of these excesses, or more accurately brutalities, being committed. Besides the many deaths of Black Americans here are some examples from this year alone:

Is there any misunderstanding about a lot of police behavior going on in America? The above behavior isn’t to be expected of every law enforcement officer in America though. There are good cops, right?

We constantly hear that these “bad” cops are just a few rotten apples. Using that premise, we should believe that all the “good” cops, who regularly remain silent about the actions of bad cops, is an honorable, law abiding behavior. If a good cop remains silent, isn’t that good cop then being a bad cop? In fact, it happens all the time. Cops remain silent about the behavior of those of the “thin blue line,” to include supervisory officers. Where is the honorable behavior in that? So, telling us it’s only a few bad apples is a lie. Any and every officer remaining silent to actions of brutality or misconduct are just as bad as those “bad apples.”

Why should citizens trust the police to “protect and serve” when police officers won’t even protect the rights of an arrestee, or serve the public good when they use excessive force? Why should citizens trust the police when “bad apples” are continually protected by their department, the district attorney, and the police unions who insist their officers do no wrong?

There are nationwide calls for defunding and dismantling police agencies. While dismantling police agencies is not a reasonable idea, defunding police is when tied to the ideas of removing responsibilities from police agencies and shifting them to other agencies. I have written of this issue before, you can read it here.

Changing the dynamic of policing must occur in order for trust to be rebuilt between the police and public. The largest change is the stopping of abuse and brutality by police across the country, including federal law enforcement. Anyone stop and arrested by police must be done using the minimum amount of force necessary to make the arrest, which means starting – generally – with verbal deescalation. Further, once in police custody, the police must protect the arrestees’ life from all harm or death. The police must insure that the arrestees’ rights are also protected.

Police agencies have the responsibility to weed out bad cops, not protect them. Police unions have the duty to help weed out bad officers, if for no other reason than to protect the reputation of the good officers. Individual officers have the responsibility and the duty to turn in officers violating department rules & regulations and those violating the law.

If any officer can’t do their duty honorably and lawfully, then they should resign and find a new career.

Until the police are forced off their high horses and brought back to reality, we will continue to see the behaviors of excessive force and brutality.

Until next time

The Time Has Come

America needs to start over

I started my adult life as a strong conservative and registered Republican. It was the 80’s, Ronald Reagan was President, and the country was starting to have hope of better lives for all. I was young, likely too idealistic, and willing to trust the GOP to get the country back on it’s feet and running smoothly in a post Vietnam America. I never took a deeper look at society, preferring to surf along the top of the water. I stayed this way for the 12 years of Republican leadership. I ignored those parts of the party platform I didn’t agree with. Like I said, just surfing along.

Then comes the elections for 1992. George H. W. Bush was running for a second term. Bill Clinton was his Democratic opponent. There was a division of thought for me at this point. I wasn’t thrilled with George H. W. Bush. At one time he’d been the head of the CIA. I’m no fan of the James Bonds of the world, though I understand it’s necessary to have them – unfortunately. I was souring on the GOP, so in the end I voted for Bill Clinton and switched over to the Democratic Party. I stayed there for four years.

I voted for Clinton the second time too, but I stepped out of party politics and became an Independent. I saw garbage in both parties and started on the road of picking who I felt could do the job better, regardless of party affiliation. I became very tired of the two party lock on the government. The two party system was pushing the country to the same outcome, with just a little variation on how the country gets there. They are still doing so and won’t stop. It’s become a political cold war in the US.

Now here I am in the year 2020. George W. Bush had two terms in office, then Barack Obama had two terms as well. GW Bush pulled the country into an unending war with Afghanistan, as well as Iraq. Barack Obama, our first Black American president, continued allowing the wars to continue. He has, to his credit, shown Americans a different face to politics. But, alas, we then get Donald Trump as president.

Under Donald Trump we have become a very fractured nation. A deadly pandemic, social unrest and protest, an economy that has crashed, and a “dictator” in the Oval Office. What shall become of America? I don’t know.

I will tell you this, the last 3 1/2 years have slowly changed my political outlook. I see the deep systemic racism in the US. It’s always been there, but the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis Police have brought into very clear view of all of America. Protests hit cities all across the country, demanding change. Demanding their rights once and for all. Many White Americans, myself included, support the movement for Black Americans to obtain ALL the rights due them as an American. This and the reactions of the government and President Trump have pushed me, with the help of two young citizens, into a more radical left point on the political spectrum.

I think it’s time to tear this old shack of a nation down and build a new house. Not all at once, but piece by piece. We can do it now at our choosing or do it when it is thrust upon us all at once. What’s your preference?

Until next time

cop car

They Do, But They Really Don’t

Defund and Disband the Police

From the younger and more progressive generations (2nd half of the Millennial and beyond) want to defund the police in the US. But, really they don’t. What they want to do is disband the police system and do without it. They have agreed to defund police as a compromise to the older generations.

I had a discussion today with a young person of Generation Z, who patiently explained to me how the police be should disbanded and replaced with a different system that would remove the need for the police to patrol the streets of America.

In this article I will look at how the current policing model can be changed. Remember that currently policing is reactive, not proactive. That tells us that the motto “to protect and serve” doesn’t mean what it says. Keep in mind that these suggestions are not all inclusive. What I present is the framework that can be built.

To begin, I will pick apart crimes and how they could be handled differently. Most crimes are over by the time police are notified and can arrive at the scene. With that being the case, why do we need police officers to respond? With the appropriate training in investigating, interviewing, and report writing, a non-police officer can respond and document the crime. A trained crime scene technician would also respond to collect any evidence. This would meet the needs of the citizens in the community. With this model, any crime can be handled regardless of what the specific crime is, like theft, burglary, robbery, murder, etc.

But what if the crime is still in progress? In the new paradigm I currently envision (meaning I can adapt to better ideas), that there would be a small team of sworn & armed police officers that would respond. This small team, say five officers, would secure the scene and if required, take any offender into custody. Then the scene would be turned over to the civilian “investigator” and the crime scene technician. The team of officers would depart to handle any other duties they are assigned.

Okay, but what about crimes like domestic disturbance calls? When the call comes to the dispatch center, the dispatcher would determine key information. That information would include whether or not the other involved party is still on scene and whether or not weapons are involved or present at the scene. If there are weapons involved, send the team of officers to secure the scene. Then a trained crisis intervention worker would take over and handle the problem. If necessary, a crime scene technician would also respond to collect evidence.

Yes, but who is going to handle all the crazy drivers on the streets? I’ll answer by saying we can use alternative enforcement. License plate scanners and cameras can “catch” violators. Then a ticket can be sent in the mail to the vehicle’s registered owner. If the registered owner denies driving the vehicle at the time of the violation, it wouldn’t matter. They are the registered owner, so they get the ticket. In the future they should be more selective over who uses their vehicle.

Sounds reasonable so far, but what about people who have warrants out for their arrest? How is that going to be handled. My answer is that most people will appear in court, especially after the justice system has been overhauled so that there is no disparity in “punishments.” While this is a topic all on its own, I will say that any violent/dangerous offenders can be handled by the police officer team (unless or until a better option comes to light).

As you can see this basic outline for handling crime in the community is accomplished with no heavy-handed ways from over militarized police agencies. There would be no unions to shield officers and interfere with the operations in this policing paradigm.

These aspects would be good steps towards a viable new policing paradigm. Police budgets would be cut down, with the money going to other areas in a community. More money to social services, education opportunities, and job training programs for instance. Money could be spent to fight poverty, improve living conditions, help first-time home buyers even. There are probably many more areas that would benefit as well. Careful planning is paramount to successfully creating this new paradigm. Plus, we must remain willing to change and adapt as better ideas and options present themselves.

This new policing paradigm would report to a civilian oversight committee representing all the different segments of the citizenry. Accountability must be removed from a internal organizational chain of command. The “Chief of Police” would answer to the oversight committee. Transparency of all aspects of the paradigm would have the goal of gaining and maintaining the trust of the community. The people must know and see accountability working to keep policing as is done using the practices of being fair, firm, and consistent.

The time has come for the next evolution of policing in America. Are you ready for change?

Until next time

Woman pulling her hair out

White America Mental Illness?

Or, What the Hell is Wrong People?

I am mystified over the seeming illness of White people in our country since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. With much of America up in arms protesting police brutality and the systemic racism, there seems to be a number of white people who have lost their minds and done so in public.

We had Amy Cooper, a White woman, calling 911 on a Black man, Christian Cooper, who was out in Central Park bird watching, because Mr Cooper asked her to leash her dog (which is required in NYC). Somehow Amy Cooper felt threatened and called police. The police that respond to this heinous crime did nothing, explaining it was nothing more than a verbal dispute.

Now, we pop over to Auburn Hills, MI, to a Walmart parking lot. A Black women slapped the back of a vehicle that was backing up out of a parking space. This was done, allegedly, to keep the driver from continuing to back up, which would have hit her daughter. Of course this is where things really go downhill. The driver, a White woman, jumps out of her vehicle and confronts the Black woman and her family, brandishing a handgun that she was pointed at the Black Woman. What the hell? How does this white woman feel the use of a handgun is necessary? Apparently the White woman is yelling and screaming obscenities. Of course the police show up, at which time the White woman is taken in to custody (and later released).

Next we are in Montclair, NJ, where a White woman flips out. Susan Schulz, the White woman, who confronts her next door neighbor, a Black couple, by coming onto the neighbor’s property demanding to know if there was a permit, or if a permit was required, for the stone patio the couple were putting in. Her neighbors happened to be lawyers and were, apparently, not providing acceptable responses to this nut. So, nutty woman calls police and falsely claims that they had pushed her. While waiting for the cops, Susan tries to get White neighbors to back up what she said to police. Cops arrive, Susan gives them her story. Unfortunately for Susan, her White neighbors didn’t back up her story, instead supporting the Black couple’s explanation.

It seems White American, primarily women from what I’ve read, are somehow intimidated by Black Americans. They lose whatever common sense they have and publicly make asses of themselves. Is there something in the water? Is the air they are breathing tainted with a stupidity ingredient that makes them fall off sensibility mountain? I dunno folks, but it seems like to me that Whites are plain old idiots.

It’s not just against Black Americans people are “going off” on. There are many examples of White men and women going crazy over being required to wear a mask by business owners. These “patrons” make asses out of themselves with their yelling and screaming about their “rights”, which they are completely ignorant of when the US Constitution’s Amendments can be used. Maybe the government is seeding some whites only chemical in the air to cause white people to flip out.

Whatever it is making them climb up on the public hill of stupidity, it makes us regular White Americans just sigh and shake our heads at the lunacy. I don’t know, is there any way to resign as a White American? If so, where do I sign?

Until next time

Scales

Some White Americans are Showing Their True Colors Openly – Again

Donald Trump has shown them attacking Black people is once again acceptable

We know that President Donald Trump is a racist. It’s plainly clear to anyone with any common sense. He proclaims it all the time when he opens his mouth, with comments like ‘kung flu’ that he has used in two rally speeches so far.

That’s bad enough, but then we see White Americans figuring that if Donald Trump can do it, so can they. I can hardly stand to be a White American and I offer my apologies for, which will never be enough, the fools who are treating Black people, Americans, like inferiors.

Is it that white people are just being ugly to their fellow American Persons of Color, or have they always harbored hate and can now express it?