In the face of fear, be our Protector and Provider. Give us a strong sense of ultimate security in you, God. Teach our hearts to desire your kingdom above any earthy security.– Prayer from The Liturgy of Politics, Kaitlyn Schiess
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.”
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
At first glace LA 92 is a history lesson about the 1992 Los Angeles riots, but just below the surface is a warning and a call for Americans to wake up. For hundreds of years Black people and people of color have complained about police brutality and, unfortunately, most of the time white people have ignored or dismissed the calls for help or justice. This indifference and callousness combined with other issues such as high unemployment, underfunded schools, and aggressive policing tactics has led to frustration which manifests itself in violence.
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.
Co-hosts Jesse Eubanks and Rachel Szabo weave commentary from protestors and police while exploring the history of law and order and the evangelical community. For Christians, it is not either being for protestors or for police, but a third way that is having compassion for the police while seeking justice.
Aaron L. Griffith, assistant professor of history at Sattler College in Boston, discusses the history of policing and the intertwining of evangelical’s support of law and order presidential candidates. Griffith also dives into what we can do to change by examining our motives, terms to be wary of and that we have to admit that we expect too much of the police which is a failure of how we have setup our society.
An excellent, highly recommended round table discussion that focuses on the legislative side of the anti-racism movement. If you want to know what you can do as an individual then this is the podcast for you, but before listening make sure you listen to part 1.
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.
An intimate, engaging eight part series focusing on the Flint Police Department (Michigan) that shows the policing from all sides, the police, the public that supports them, the public that doesn’t support them, the politicians that support them and don’t support them, and everyone in-between. Flint Town shows the complexity of working for a police department in neighborhoods that are at high stress levels because of poverty, race, and, in Flint’s case, water issues. It also shows the differences in officer’s approaches to policing based on their ethnicity and where/how they grew up. This series is highly recommended.
Whew! This is an intense 23 minutes. Hats off the Emmanuel Acho and the Petaluma Police Department for talking with each other and role modeling what it takes to make change – sitting down together and asking and answering difficult questions.
Police officer Renee Mitchell tells a story where she had to choose between appeasing her superior by arresting an individual or letting the individual go and putting her career in jeopardy and how that decision cemented the idea that the way we police in America has to change.
Conservatively speaking, one in ten police interactions involve a mentally ill person, but rarely are police trained to deal with a person having a mental illness crisis. A Different Kind of Force follows the San Antonino police mental health unit as they respond to mental health situations and strive to employ crisis intervention training despite not receiving enough funding and support.
After documenting the Newark, New Jersey police department in 2016 historian and writer Jelani Cobb returns to examine the changes the police department has undergone in four years after being signaled out by the Department of Justice for routinely violating people’s civil rights and mandating changes.