Images of policemen then and now.
Let me start by saying that police brutality is not a new problem. It has been around since the free world realized that there had to be some kind of law and order or we would end up in lawless societies. What came with the establishment of “lawmen” was an abuse of power by some men who never had any power until they were given a “pistol” and a badge. This bad behavior is perpetuated by the few and that has never stopped. There will always be bad apples in any organization but in the police force, where there is a reasonable expectation of protection it can’t be tolerated or accepted.
Fast forward to today and why we’re seeing so much of it. The answer is simple, we’re living in a technologically advanced society where anyone with a phone, tablet or camera has the ability to record these acts of violence and murders by some police officers. Prior to advancements in technology, these police officers were getting away with murder, no pun intended, but their bad behavior is being exposed exponentially and they don’t know how to handle it nor does the rest of society when we see the graphic images.
There are over 800,000 police officers across the nation and the majority of them are not bad. Unfortunately, the violent acts of a few have cast a shadow of doubt on the many and it’s not right to judge every police officer by the bad officers who should never have been hired on the police force.
Several groups are saying that communities should establish committees to oversee the police departments. A number of communities already have these oversight committees in place and we’re still seeing this kind of police brutality so that’s not the answer. Actually, I believe the answer is relatively simple and those of you reading my article right now are probably shaking your heads and going, she’s kidding right?
I’m not kidding. The answer to stopping police brutality, is restructuring the process for becoming a police officer and it has to start with: “How To Weed You Out, Not How You Get In.” When individuals apply for the FBI, CIA, Navy Seals, Delta Force and other elite law enforcement agencies, their goal is to weed the bad apples out, which should be the same principle applied for community police forces. The background and mental health checks are extensive, it’s my understanding that scenarios on how to handle difficult situations require exceptional critical thinking skills and the list goes on. The weeding out process that takes place with these elite law enforcement agencies must be pushed down to community law enforcement agencies. Again, becoming a police officer should be about “how to weed you out, not how we let you in.”
Another way to stop this criminal behavior is they should be terminated and stripped of all of their benefits immediately. It is not enough to terminate them from the police force there must be other consequences that come along with it so that the next officer thinks long and hard before engaging in criminal conduct.
We have seen time and time again, where it is almost impossible to convict a policeman of murder when the people on the jury are staring the evidence in the face. It is time to pass a law that all acts of violence perpetrated by a police officer are to be tried in federal court. It is time to take the trials for police officers out of the hands of ordinary citizens because it is obvious that the average Joe is just not capable of making a reasonable decision.
I’m going to digress for a moment, if anyone has ever sat in a jury pool you know that most of the people called to serve are not the sharpest tools in she shed. I recall going to do my civic duty and when I saw the people in the pool and listened to how they responded to simple questions or watched how they followed directions, I thought to myself, “wow, if you are a jury of my peers, the justice system is in trouble.” It is truly frightening to see and listen to some of the people selected to serve on juries. A lot of them are just not ready for prime time, I’m sorry but it’s the truth. Hence, the reason police officers are acquitted time and time again for murder and it’s time for that to stop and the only way to do that is to remove these trials out of the local jurisdictions and send these cases to federal court to be tried. Federal prosecutors are much better equipped to handle high profile cases and the jurors are sharper and tend to be able to process what is being presented better.
In summary in order to stop police brutality we need to do the following:
- Change the hiring process to include more comprehensive mental health testing, more extensive background checks, include critical thinking scenarios etc.
- The hiring process must be patterned after more elite law enforcement agencies like the FBI, Navy Seals, CIA, Delta Force etc.
- The hiring process should be more about weeding people out, not than letting them in.
- Terminate officers for misconduct and strip them all benefits immediately.
- Must have completed more than a high school education. At a minimum anyone applying to the police force must have completed one (1) year of college.