In the discussion thread: Somehow people are forgetting what cops think of Occupiers. [View all]
Response to treestar (Reply #58)
Tue May 22, 2012, 02:42 PM
quakerboy (11,066 posts)
63. In the vast majority of cases, they do.
Internal investigations appear, by their results, to be more aimed at justification and exoneration than at actual investigation. It is extremely rare that you hear of anything more than a slap on the wrist for abuse of the public, up to and including murder of unarmed civilians.
Case in point, here in Portland, there is a cop who shot and killed an unarmed civilian. They fired him. Now he, with the full support of the union, is demanding his job be returned to him. And by all accounts he is very likely to be rehired.
What is society to do? We need to bring the police back to policing. They need to be a peace force, not a paramilitary group. And they need to be a part of the community, not an outside militia. We have the national guard and the military to take care of those functions.
How do we do this? The way we train police needs to change. The rules for police need to change. Accountability needs to be put in place.
Their training needs to focus more on the people. It needs to involve people. It should probably be done involving far more community settings. They should meet and spend significant amounts of time with youth who will grow up into the young adults they will prospectively be protecting and serving. They should be spending more time with the communities they are likely to police than with other trainees, so that that the connections, the loyalty is with the policed, not the police. Personally, I believe that a fair bit of community service within the communities that are likely to provide the most issues for them would be in order, both during training and during their time of service. If both sides can be seen as human by the other, I am willing to bet that there would be a lot less anger by or against cops, and a greater likelihood to resolve rather than escalate into violence.
Then there is accountability. A policeman should never ever ever be threatened by a camera. In fact, I would advocate that with all the equipment that they carry, it should be no big deal to have a camera/recording device that would be present and running at all times while a policeman is on duty. They are given a great deal of power over the general populace, and are generally accorded a great deal of respect and deference to their reported versions of events. However, there is no denying that there are "bad apples" within the police force. And the sad fact is that they are in a fraternity where a "good cop" tattling on a bad apple can result in death, not to mention social exclusion. That attitude needs to be destroyed, and I think constant recording would do that. Once there is always a true record available, the incentive to lie or be silent about the wrongdoings of another would seem to be much lower.
And then we need to change the rules. They are in a high stress, high danger job, and I do think some reasonable allowances need to be made for that. But I think we have gone too far in this, with even clearly egregious behavior far more likely to receive a slap on the wrist than a true punishment. If anything, I think that while they should be afforded some additional latitude in their actions, the punishments for a police officer who steps over the line should be vastly increased.
Your side comments about other professions seem to me to be a nonsequitur. Name a profession who is accorded the same powers and privileges, and we can discuss whether they are held to a high enough standard.
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In the vast majority of cases, they do.
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