From rising homelessness that the police are tasked to deal with to shootings of both minorities and police officers to endless mental health issues involving both police officers and the population American police are simply expected to do too much. Author Alex Vitale argues that the structure of American policing, and the U.S. legal system, protects the interests of those in power and/or with money and needs to be dismantled. Simply put, Americans need to rethink the mission of the police and how we police those within the borders of the United States.
Former gang member Victor Rios grew up in the ghetto of Oakland, California so he knows the realities of Black and Latino males in the ghetto, but this is not his story. Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys is based off of Rios Ph.D. thesis at Berkeley that he penned after spending three years following 40 Black and Latino males in Oakland.
Although on the long side this article has it all. It is a fantastic starting point to learn about policing history, what police reforms to advocate for along with a personal story that ties it all together. Ultimately it is up to us citizens to decide whether we want a police force that "enforce(s) every law on the books by identifying and punishing any infraction" or one that "help(s) to maintain community standards of public safety and order."
On average police officers in academies across the United States spend 60 hours learning how to shoot a gun while spending just eight hours on mental health and communication - Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro want to change that. Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops provides an intimate look at the partners and best friends as they respond to mental health calls for the San Antonio Police Department's Mental Health Unit, provide training to their fellow policemen, and navigate every day life.
From the report issued by President Harry Truman in 1947 to the Kerner Commission ordered by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 Americans have known for decades that racism has been embedded in police departments across the 50 states. Police brutality along with a culture of racial bias has put us in the current situation in the 2020's. Relevant Magazine's Tyler Huckabee says enough is enough. We don't need anymore commissions or studies, what we need is meaningful police reform.
For over a decade police officers Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro have been part of the San Antonio Police Department's Mental Health Unit. In thousands of interactions with people in various states of mental health crisis they have used force only one time.
Every forty hours a Black man is killed in America by police. The seemingly endless onslaught of violence against Black bodies makes it readily apparent that there must be changes to the policing culture. Author Rashawn Ray says there are two reforms we should make to change police accountability. One, officers fired for police misconduct should not be allowed to work in law enforcement again and two, we should restructure civilian payouts by moving them from taxpayer money to police department insurance policies.
As the United States grapples with ways to reduce police violence CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets), a community based public safety program in Eugene, OR that responds to crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction may be the what cities around the country need. The CAHOOTS workers are equal part medic (a nurse, paramedic or EMT) and crisis prevention worker with at least 500 hours of training. The workers are not armed and are designed to respond to non-violent crisis situations and non-emergent medical issues.
At first glance the Bible may not have a lot to say about policing, but after learning that Roman soldiers served as a police force in Biblical times verses such as Luke 3:14 and Romans 13 take on a new meaning. Pastors Keith Simon and Patrick Miller, using chapter 2 from Esau McCaulley's book Reading While Black as a reference, engage in a nuanced conversation about defining what policing is, the mission of police officers, governmental authority, accountability and more.
With the advent of smartphones and immediate access to record events there have been a plethora of videos showing police brutality. As the evidence grows public support for protestors and police reform has increased. Writer David Brooks says much of the public debate centers around two theories: an individual issue (a few bad apples) or a systemic issue (the tree is rotten).