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Police Reform: High Time Or Dangerous Distraction?

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Published on: June 25, 2020

At the risk of focusing on the symptom rather than the disease itself, I’m going to address the need for a reform of police procedures in our nation. There’s little doubt that the reader will be aware of the widespread calls for police reform in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis, and that these have ranged from a variety of common-sense solutions to demonstrably imprudent policy measures.

Despite the fact that much of the rhetoric surrounding the “defund the police” movement has been proffered by radical communist activists and their ideologically kindred co-conspirators in government, there is definitely a need for the refinement of police practices and our criminal justice system in general.

While this is indeed being addressed by President Trump’s administration, these overtures are but a beginning and are likely to be resisted by his political opponents for obvious reasons.

I’m not sure if yielding to cries for an overhaul of police practices at a time when radical activists have been so evidently emboldened and so many individuals and organizations are responding with knee-jerk capitulation to racialist public policy is a good idea. But since the discussion is now on the table, I thought I’d weigh in.

One of the problems that has been widely cited during the course of this discussion is the lack of uniform standards across police and sheriff’s departments. While I maintain that states, counties and municipalities should continue to carry the responsibility for policing and maintain jurisdiction in their areas, it may indeed be time to consider uniform policing standards.

As long as said standards are not dictated by the left, it doesn’t matter much from whence they originate. But they would have to be universally adopted across law enforcement agencies, which admittedly presents a thorny proposition.

In the New York suburb in which I was raised, there were essentially no standards for the hiring and training of police. As I reached adulthood, I noted that many of the individuals who were getting hired on by the local police department were juvenile delinquents who had been lucky enough to make it to 18 years of age without having been convicted of a crime. In fact, many of those “lucky” recruits had been shielded from prosecution over the years by relatives who were in local law enforcement.

There are some municipalities in America — mostly smaller, wealthier enclaves — in which local requirements stipulate that hired police officers must be college graduates. While this at least speaks to an intention for maintaining a certain standard, the status of college graduate doesn’t necessarily confer a guarantee of professionalism.

Then, there are police departments that boast a high percentage of former military among their ranks. Again, this does speak to a higher level of training than most police officers receive, but it definitely bears mentioning that “use of force” means two distinctly different things in the military versus the civilian realm. Or at least it should.

So, there ought to be uniform standards, and although these cannot be forced, perhaps the events at hand will compel a sufficient number of states, counties and municipalities to get on the same page.

In July of 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama proposed that we establish a “civilian national security force” that would be “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as our military. Obviously, the political left would simply adore such a measure, and Obama’s vision may indeed what they’re pulling for at present. I don’t have the space here to elaborate on why this is such a fundamentally bad idea, but most readers will be familiar with the rationale.

If we’re going to institute police reforms, we probably ought to look at major reforms in the criminal justice system as well, considering our high incarceration rate, if nothing else. One thing we probably ought to examine is the culture that ties the career advancement of district attorneys to their conviction records, thereby encouraging them to overlook exculpatory evidence and rationalize that the vast majority of defendants who come before them are guilty simply because they’ve been charged.

If we’re going to have an equitable criminal justice system, we also cannot abide a dynamic allowing private companies that provide services to jails and penitentiaries to lobby local governments to impose harsh sentences for petty crimes — a practice that really ought to be criminalized.

These are just a few of the myriad deficiencies in law enforcement and our criminal justice system that should be addressed if we’re really serious about reform. As we consider prudent reforms in these areas, however, we must remain mindful of two things:

  1. The racialist mob will never be satisfied with any remedial efforts taken up, because none of the current civil unrest we’re witnessing is about bad policing, police brutality against blacks or even racist police officers; it’s about how much capitulation the racialist mob can achieve on our part.
  2. As long as there are white police officers, there will be far-left activists decrying racism and police brutality against blacks, whether or not it actually exists. Like the health-care system or education, law enforcement is just one more institution socialists must “fundamentally transform” in order to cement their power.

Article posted with permission from Erik Rush

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