Hey, Pro-Police People, you feel that adrenaline bubbling in your stomach because you don’t really know what this article is about?
That’s called pre-judging and not really trying to understand. Stop that, it’s tacky.
A young police officer wakes up one morning. He’s Black and he likes Frosted Flakes. Not only that, he became a police officer specifically because he wanted to do good for society and change the narrative that police are the boogeyman. He probably represents the feeling of most brave men — black, white, or otherwise — who put that uniform on the first time. But for those of us who know about the justice system, we know it’s not that simple, is it?
- There are things called ticket quotas, where a police officer gets pressure from his bosses to maintain productivity. And unless he or she is a weirdo, no one becomes a police officer to consistently get a certain amount of arrests per month; the reason was to make society better, right?
- There is the political pressure for “good crime stats”. However, for your average officer, his job focus becomes dependent on what higher ups feel the masses want. If the crime stats are too low, you’re not doing enough; if the crime stats are too high , you’re not doing enough…And if the uninformed public is upset, the mayor is not re-elected. And if the mayor is not re-elected, the police commissioner is changed. You see which way the shit is moving right? It makes you wonder if ANYONE who claims to value police understands what good policing to improve society entails.
- Also, there is the addiction, law enforcement agencies have, to forfeiture. When there is a profit motive, greed can and will corrupt any vulnerable municipality.
These men didn’t take this job to satisfy quotas.
So, that leaves our “model officer” subject to forces that affect his decision making. Police officers are looking at citizens through a lens distorted by the biased goals of politicians. That, in turn, affects the community negatively, because instead of enforcement being guided completely by a desire to be the Batman of Gotham, it’s being guided by policy.
Policy, not police. Polic- with the Y, not the E. Those people in the ivory tower, not the servant. P. O. L. I. C. Y. The fight is against that which makes it hard for a police officer to do his job with the ideals of Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect.
Is there space for “archaic policy”
The current policies that have affected the enforcement of law is considered such a cancer in the minds of so many Black-centric organizations and supporters because of the fuel its engine runs on. That fuel, like it or not, is archaic racial and socioeconomic bias.
Let’s keep this as concise as possible with a few examples:
- The majority of drug users in the U.S are white. The majority of prisoners in prison for drug related offenses are black. This is irrefutable and has nothing to do with a criticism of the individual officer; it has everything to do with a discriminatory system that enforces law harshly on one group and not the other.
- “Stop and Frisk” was not the name of a Police officer. It was the name of aPOLICY that had a success rate of .01%. In a City where 44% of the population is White but they account for only 10% of the stops, you see why people get up in arms about the possibility of violations of civil liberties.
We should all be on the same side saying , “our communities do not need to be harassment zones and we don’t want good people, who happen to be police, to perform trivial enforcement, especially in the inner city, creating hostile situations for everyone involved.”
No child wants their father killed because of an arrest for illegal cigarettes.
Bad policy makes things dangerous for everyone involved. A summons for minor offenses instead of an arrest would reduce the incidence of violence in police-citizen interactions. People should not lose their civil liberties and even their lives over trivial offenses.
No child wants to hear that an attempted marijuana arrest resulted in the death of their police officer father doing his job.
Police officers have been killed in the course of preventing the illegal trafficking of marijuana. This is disturbing when you consider the probability that within the next decade, marijuana may be legal federally. If instead of archaic policy, we had forward thinking policy, the lives of many police officers fighting a losing war can be saved.
We have a common interest in fighting archaic policy. Black people should fight police policies that target them for mass incarceration. Police and their supporters should fight police policies that place officers’ lives at risk doing nonsense instead of serving and protecting the community. Elected officials need to stop playing video game politics with the lives of police officers and black men.
You want to understand how it is a young Black man could have negative feelings towards the police? Ask any officer how he feels about IAB. Even apro-police magazine expresses the sentiment:
Officers fear the IA process because of stories — many actually urban myths — about how fellow officers have been treated unfairly by the IA detectives.
See the parallel between Black men fearing law enforcement because of policy and police officers who fear their police because of process? Think beyond the defensive feeling you have as a result on the attack on the institution. You are part of the people before you’re part of the institution.
This is BULLSHIT. And you know it.
Call a Crackhead for Help
So, before you walk around with this ignorant message, understand, people want to feel protected and part of society. People want to be offered the same benefit as any other citizen. We call the police to protect us. The decisions that you make, as a police officer, is yours.
However: the procedures you’re told to use, the infractions you’re commanded to enforce, and the end result of all those factors colliding with each other is dangerous. It causes risk to the lives of all humans involved. And that is a result of policy.
By the way, let’s give it up for the this decade being some of the safest times for police officers! So quit that War on Cops narrative also. Hooray!
Written by: David Raskin