The George Floyd case brought with it a lot of conversations about police conduct and brutality. Floyd’s death sparked riots and protests against the police and policing methods, but the riots and protests will not have fulfilled their purpose until meaningful and lasting reform comes to policing in America.
To help with this, several organizations have been created to discuss the conduct of police officers and recommend changes. By implementing such changes, it is hoped that police officers will be more sensitive to the communities they serve, and that cases of police brutality will decline.
Once such organization on the forefront of this endeavor is the Twin Cities-based group Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB). They examined the issues at hand, compiling and documenting a set of recommendations for police reform in the State of Minnesota, concrete ideas hoping to pave a path forward. They are determined to see their ideas implemented before politicians have time simply go back to business as usual and waste this opportunity to effectuate change for the better.
One of the biggest reasons instances of police brutality continue unabated is the lack of accountability by the parties involved. When such instances go undocumented and unpunished, it emboldens police and teaches them to think they are above the law. The report lists numerous was to increase police accountability. Some of the recommendations for police accountability include:
· Police officers should carry their own professional liability insurance
· Police chiefs hold adopt a disciplinary reset mechanism
· There should be a robust civilian oversight of the police
· Police badges should be visible and legible at all times
· There should be legislation passed to allow for people to videotape the police and their conduct.
Police Critical Incidents
Over the years, there have been many scenarios where the police have come under fire for misconduct. The main issue with such scenarios is the length of time for justice to be served to such perpetrators, if at all. Having measures to ensure that cases of police misconduct are handled professionally and as expediently as possible will ensure that the victims of these crimes see justice done.
Police Fitness and Training for Duty
Research shows that the training police officers go through is not sufficient. As a result, there have been talks about increasing the amount of time a police officer needs to attend the academy before being sent out to the police force. Having them train for longer will ensure that they gain the right skill set for the job and know what is expected of them. It is also essential that police officers go through various assessments, both psychological and physical, before they can be allowed to hold a firearm. Doing that will ensure that we have fewer trigger-happy police officers in the force.
It is also seldom acknowledged that officer abuse of anabolic steroids, which officers believe will give them an edge in physical confrontations though fail to consider the harmful psychological affects of these drugs such as increase aggression. Victims of deadly force incidents are routinely tested for drugs and other chemicals and, if found, such use is often used to justify police use of force, but there is no similar requirement for officers who resort to using deadly force to be tested to help determine if their judgement was impaired by drugs like anabolic steroids, alcohol or other chemicals.
Measures That Do Not Work
Even with all these measures, some things will clearly not work. At the top of the list is implicit bias training. Studies have shown the effect of such training on offices to be negligible. Additionally, far too much emphasis in place on the term “police-community relations” which includes an underlying premise that it is the community’s fault for not trusting police when in fact the current structure of most police forces gives the community very little oversight or control over their local police forces.