Police Training Reform

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It’s no secret that since we have had camera and video readily available on our phones it has unveiled the mistreatment of people of color, namely black men and women, by our police force. However, this is just a new form of accessible proof, not a new reality. The list of wrongful killings of these men and women is long:

Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Keith Scott, Terrence Crutcher, John Crawford III, Corey Jones, Philando Castile, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Jordan Edwards, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd- just to name a few.

The most recent, George Floyd, caught the attention of America when two videos were released. One of these videos shows an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, constricting his breathing, while another officer stands guard allowing this to happen. Bystanders, including an off duty first responder, pleaded to ease force and check his pulse while the officers chose not to acknowledge them, resulting in Floyd’s death.

This carelessness for human life is unacceptable and we will not stand for it anymore. Bottom line: We demand police training reform, both for new academy candidates and current position holders of all levels. These officers we have seen harm and heinously kill our fellow Americans are not the people we will allow to “protect” or police us.

We demand that the psychological screening that candidates take in the police academy include an evaluation to show that you do not have racist tendencies toward, nor favor, any specific race of people. This screening will also evaluate your tendencies toward anger, excessive aggression and irrational behaviors.

Our second demand is that a thorough de-escalation training be included in the academy training. Being a police officer puts you in high risk situations and these men and women need to be able to remain calm and keep everyone safe to the best of their ability. We have seen too many cases in which an officer is not in control of their fears, reactions or the situation and it has resulted in unneeded death of unarmed men and women who were not a threat.

We also want a recurring mandatory  course in diversity training for every officer on all levels. Many corporations and business across the country have taken the initiative to enact this necessary education plan and its shocking that a department in which this is so relevant, hasn’t made this more of a priority. This is a lack of standards and professionalism that needs to be upheld immediately.

Our final demand is, upon graduating from the police academy, you take an oath to hold your fellow officers accountable. In addition to protecting and standing with your brothers and sisters in the police force, you have a duty to police each other and will not turn a blind eye and allow for unnecessary force to transpire.

As citizens of a democracy it is our responsibility to stay informed on issues affecting our community and it is our right to demand change when we are being denied our right to justice. We are tax payers currently funding an institution that we don’t feel is serving us to the best of its ability. We count on these officers to uphold the law and fight crime, not commit them. We believe in better standards. Both for our brothers and sisters in blue and those they serve to protect and defend. We will keep fighting until we see this positive change happening.

 

photo taken from New York Times