Monday, October 3, 2016

Teach the Officer Well, for in the Training Lies the Healing of Our Nation

  Considering the number of cases we are seeing, yes, we should want to train our officers against police violence. At this point, so much police violence being in the news, there should be a national outcry for anti-brutality instruction being instilled into every training academy in the nation.
  Surely, we should realize training is the key. Nothing taught, is nothing learned. But, when something is taught -- when it is hammered into heads and yelled into ears -- there is chance it will sink in.
  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, some of this seems a little different than what we currently allow officers to do. We might think there is nothing wrong with ranting at the arrestee.  But, maybe it is time to realize actions and attitudes are going to have to change if we want to change the results we are getting. Actions come out of attitudes. What we sow is what we reap, it is said, and, if we let our officers sow anger. their anger will sometimes be their undoing.
   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.

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