Monday, October 24, 2016

This Would Reform Our Police Officers

   I'd reform our law enforcement system. What, with all the attention on police shootings, we ought to see we have no choice but to reform law enforcement.
   Reform, to me, would be no more than emphasizing to them that here are some things you do and here are some things you don't. Have pep talks each morning, if necessary, to ensure the message sinks in and is never forgotten.
  Teach them not to shoot unless necessary. Teach them, theirs is to arrest, not judge, convict, or punish. Teach them, it is not theirs to bring remorse to the criminal, not theirs to get mad and put someone in their place, not theirs to take a paddle out and teach them a lesson. Warn them against even making comments such as, "That guy needs to learn he can't do that. I ought to beat the living daylights out of him."
   Teach them that, by nature, criminals are going to do things that provoke. The police officer's badge of honor is to not be provoked. Make the arrest, but don't go beyond.
   Teach them that sometimes the lawbreaker does get away. No, you don't shoot just because the person is eluding arrest. Chase, but unless there is a real threat, don't kill just because the person will otherwise escape.
   Teach them they are not there to make fights or win fights, nor to show who is the toughest or baddest. They are there to arrest, and that is the long and the short of it. Injecting personal vendettas is a violation of police ethics, or should be. Exacting personal revenge is wrong, or should be. Charge offenders with resisting arrest, assaulting an officer or whatever, but do not swing a fist or fire a gun just to exact personal revenge.
   They are not there to make a point, or to show off, or to ride herd on or rule over others. Theirs is not to rant at the offender, nor exchange in trash talk.
   Yes, restraint needs to be part of what an officer is, part of what he is trained to be. If he isn't taught not to walk around with a "Don't-mess-with-me" attitude, he might well start thinking he is not just there to enforce the law, but to be the law.
   It is probably time to realize that is exactly what we don't want.
   I'm sure some and maybe much of the above is taught to officers. But, I am guessing it is no where near to being taught enough. If we taught these things maybe even daily, it would make a difference. It would reform our police officers.

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