Looking back at Ferguson and where we are today with regard to policing I have argued that improving our nation’s police is integral to the restoration of trust. Improvement must be both seen and felt by those who now distrust police.
But it won’t end here. Eventually, I have argued, there will have to be a collective apology on the part of police. Why? Because wrong, unintentional as most of it was, has been done. In America, our police have been used to control one segment of society for the benefit of another — and that is what domination systems do.
While apology for police may at first seem to be a bitter pill they cannot or will not swallow, the way forward will demand it.
David C. Couper
A number of years ago when I was chief of police in Madison, Wisconsin one of my officers made a terrible mistake. It was an unconscious remark that could have severely undermined the trust we had built over the years with people of color in our city. In short, it was an inappropriate comment uttered after being informed of a fire in one of our troubled, predominately black housing areas. She had, without thinking, cheerily hummed “Scotland’s burning…” Later, she was shocked to learn the fire tragically claimed the lives of five children. When that loose remark became public, there was disappointment with us and cries for her dismissal.
Instead of firing her, I decided to do something else. I decided to apologize. After meeting with the officer, we agreed we would both apologize. The community…
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