This is why Step Four in my book on how to improve our nation’s police is “TRAIN AND LEAD.”
As the U.S. Justice Department said, these shootings happened because of “inadequate oversight, inadequate investigation, and inadequate training” — in short, inadequate LEADERSHIP!
The lengthy conflict has yet to wind down as this report from the New York Times suggests:
“ALBUQUERQUE — The 13 protesters who stormed the mayor’s office here and were arrested and jailed Monday said they were spurred by renewed outrage over the latest development in a string of fatal police shootings: An autopsy released last week showed the bullet that killed a homeless man, James Boyd, had been fired into his lower back.”
What can be learned from this? (And I trust that police leaders throughout the country are following this story). I will be surprised if these matters end up on the agendas of our national police organizations for discussion. They should be).
First of all, leaders need to know what’s going on. They need to follow data and trends. And they need to honestly discuss what’s going on in the use of deadly force by police and the failing of our nation’s mental health systems.
Secondly, what police do impacts the entire society — not just a segment of it. Police are major actors in our nation’s quest for fairness in our system of justice and how government practices what it preaches,
Thirdly, nothing can replace adequate recruitment, high quality and continuous training, and leadership from the top down!
Finally, even with a new police chief and new civic leaders, when a situation like Albuquerque happens, it will take a decade or more to repair the trust that has been lost between police and citizens.
That’s why preventative action and continuous improvement are always the best and most efficient (and cost-saving) methods for top leaders to incorporate.