Freeing Our Nation’s Police

images-1Police continue to struggle with four recurring and major obstacles that have literally “arrested” their development:

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

Quite frankly, if these obstacles aren’t overcome, we are going to experience serious trouble controlling our police…

I have no doubt that the attitude which distains formal education and research (anti-intellectualism) along with a reliance on coercive leadership are their primary hindrances. I have concluded from my experience and continued observation that this has restrained and arrested their development. It isn’t that there has been no improvement, but given the organizational improvements of other institutions in our society, the police have fallen disgracefully behind…

Overcoming these obstacles won’t be easy. They are sturdily imprinted into our police. Doing so will require a commitment to intellectual excellence, civility, and the rule of law under even the most trying circumstances. It will require police to exhibit a high degree of awareness and self-control as they internally examine and police themselves. It will require that they actively seek to accurately match their communities’ complexions and values with the officers they hire and promote…

Changing police isn’t just about changing a few things, but everything: hiring, training, leadership, solving problems, community- orientation, and evaluation. It is about changing the very nature of the police function itself and the multiple ways that will have to be put in place to raise the intellectual capacity of police, curtail their use of excessive force, drive out the vestiges of corruption and racism, and implement a new culture of courtesy, customer focus, and restraint in using physical force. They will also have to learn how to properly handle protesting people not only singularly but in large crowds and develop on- going formal relationships with academic institutions.

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[The above is an excerpt from my book, Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police (2012)]