Are More Fergusons Out There?

 

images-1Let’s see, is Ferguson a lone city out of control or are there more Fergusons around the country? This is the question many citizens are asking. And I suggest that our nation’s police leaders stand up and begin a dialogue as to how they are NOT like Ferguson, or, if what the report by the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division has highlighted may be close to home. In this case, draw up a plan for immediate change. That’s what leaders do.

The Ferguson Report in a nutshell:

  • Lack of leadership.
  • Lack of diversity.
  • Lack of community policing.
  • Racial bias.
  • Disrespecting citizens.
  • Failing to respond to citizen complaints.
  • Using tickets and arrests to generate city revenue.

Sounds like the four obstacles to police improvement that I define in “Arrested Development:”

  • Anti-intellectualism.
  • Violence.
  • Corruption.
  • Discourtesy.

An excerpt from the report of the Civil Rights Division, DOJ: 

“Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs. This emphasis on revenue has compromised the institutional character of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional policing, and has also shaped its municipal court, leading to procedures that raise due process concerns and inflict unnecessary harm on members of the Ferguson community. Further, Ferguson’s police and municipal court practices both reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias, including racial stereotypes. Ferguson’s own data establish clear racial disparities that adversely impact African Americans. The evidence shows that discriminatory intent is part of the reason for these disparities.

“Over time, Ferguson’s police and municipal court practices have sown deep mistrust between parts of the community and the police department, undermining law enforcement legitimacy among African Americans in particular…

“The importance of focusing on revenue generation is communicated to FPD officers. Ferguson police officers from all ranks told us that revenue generation is stressed heavily within the police department, and that the message comes from City leadership. The evidence we reviewed supports this perception.

“The City’s emphasis on revenue generation has a profound effect on FPD’s approach to law enforcement. Patrol assignments and schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation. Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on ‘productivity,’ meaning the number of citations issued. Partly as a consequence of City and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue (my emphases).”

The first steps forward may be quite simple for the nation’s police: Think, Be Creative, Stop the Killing. 

Read the entire report HERE. And HERE.

 

Read about other Fergusons HERE.

  •  Is this you?
  • Is this your department?

If, you don’t know, read How to Rate Your Local Police and put it into action.

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