The absolute need for police reform
First off, I would like to make myself clear on something. In no way will I claim that all police officers are bad. Generalization is false because it puts good, venerable, and acclaimed law enforcement members in a disputable light. There are wonderful police officers who risk their lives in protecting and serving their communities. They're doing what they can to make their neighborhoods safe, clean, and friendly, not only for them, but also for regular law-abiding citizens. Many of them have own showed solidarity to the Black Lives Movement and kneeled on the street to show their unwavering support to the movement in many affected towns and cities across the United States of America. Many of them fear the possibility of not returning to their families. Now this concern is more apparent than it ever has been before.
To my utter dismay, there are police officers with a different agenda that have made the lives of their peers extremely difficult and stressful. Abuse of power, racial profiling, corruption, and flat out discrimination, prejudice and racism have compromised many police departments with tremendous severity. Based on eye-witness reports, video recordings and articles, many innocent African-Americans are being targeted and many of them have died. The most compelling and existential example of this brutality was the death of George Floyd in the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
To start, there have been instances of abuse in the hands of the police for centuries. In the past, especially over one-hundred years ago, many police officers were struggling to earn a decent wage and to handle explosive crime waves in troubled spots of a city. In the era of mass immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, millions of people from all over the world wanted to make America their new home. Of course, criminals and troublemakers were a part of the mix. People who had trouble fitting in or finding success, turned to crime to fill their pockets and feed their families. As you know, crime increased drastically amid a powerful population increase. In cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore, crime had overrun the streets. Police officers had a tough time to keep up. Organized crime syndicates and gangs made it even more difficult for them to tackle the problems. In a bid to come to terms with the disheartening and disparaging trends, many police officers decided to submit to the new overlords and work with them by turning the other cheek. Briberies and graft were the answers. This way, police officers were less stressed and could "choose" who to detain and incarcerate. Also, beatings, intimidation and even murder became a part of their jobs.
Municipal government noticed this and instituted groundbreaking reforms to curb the corruption. Unfortunately in many regions in the United States, police brutality persisted. Most commonly, in the segregated state of America's deep south, many members of law enforcement were racially motivated to keep segregated blacks in line. The Jim Crow laws were the foundation of their style of law enforcement. Many blacks were attacked, assaulted and severely injured in peaceful protest rallies across the deep south who stepped across the line. Many blacks were executed and the police have done nothing about it.
Despite the Civil Rights movement and Lyndon B. Johnson's approval of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, racism persisted. I find the race issue is a polarizing problem within the United States. To this day, there is noticeable opposition against civil rights. It is a major problem and the biggest one that threatens to partition the country again and again. Only a strong country is united and can overcome any obstacle.
The first major televised travesty against an African-American victim in the hands of a police officer that I can remember was Rodney King. He survived the assault. But a video recording of the controversial incident and the unsavory verdict of the trials resulted in massive rioting which saw scores of businesses and properties destroyed. The death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in 2012, sparked the Black Lives Movement in 2013 after Mr. Zimmerman's acquittal. In 2014 the death of Michael Brown by police resulted in the Ferguson Riots. The deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks among others have resulted in a loud call for federal reforms on policing. Widespread outrage by protestors and citizens have helped to accelerate the need for such a change. Millions of people are sick and tired of seeing racial division in the United States and want it to end.
I find the reason behind police brutality is lackluster training. In comparison to other western countries, the United States doesn't have adequate training programs for recruits at police academies. Their training lasts for around six weeks whereas in some European countries, training lasts for three years, awarding them crucial resources, know-how and knowledge on how to deal with specific circumstances. In the United States, many of them aren't trained to deescalate the situation and handle detainees with mental problems. They also administer excessive doses of Ketamine into detainees who in some cases die due to its effects. Instead of deescalating tensions between the detainee and the officer, tensions rise. Maybe they are nervous, anxious and don't know what to do. In the end, the problem here is excessive, deadly force where a police officer grabs a hold of their service weapon and uses it when it isn't necessary.
I firmly believe the police needs extensive overhaul to reestablish themselves. President Joe Biden has announced sweeping police reform that is going around Congress. It should address current issues with policing and how changes are necessary in moving forward for the good of the country. The police union has to work with lawmakers as well to make it happen. Everybody needs to do their part for it to be successful. When everyone does their part, I think the problem can be solved in one way or another.
About the author
I think expressing yourself in fundamental and categorical topics help create a more transparent, concise, and educational environment. For me, I like to explain key issues that dominate current events in society and encourage dialogue.