The Police Problem


Elvert Barnes

Creative Commons Photo

Police are a necessary component to a working society. We need them to provide safety and safeguard our communities. Although you may argue that private citizens could do the same thing, it is just more practical for it to be done by the government. Government police are subjected to more regulations and go through training that not every private citizen or business goes through. But every system has flaws and every person has flaws. Generalizing an entire organization or race does not help any cause; it just creates more and more tension.
There is clearly a lack of love in our community. Police are too concerned with stopping crime by viewing lawbreakers as just criminals and not people who need help. Most crimes happen in the heat of the moment, and police must be able to de-escalate situations, not cause more problems. Many police in this country are too far concerned with just apprehending criminals and putting them away, but also in many cases just shooting them.
Movements across the country have accelerated over excessive use of force and police violence. The response to these people is that they’re just whiners who don’t want to obey the law. It’s not even close to that.
We need to rethink our law enforcement system. Police should want to help people, not hurt. They shouldn’t see people as criminals, but as people who need help. Think of an officer in Chicago, who was beaten while apprehending a suspect, she had the full right to shoot the man but chose not to, for the sake of the family of the man according to the Chicago Tribune. What about the cops that play games with kids or show that they care? That’s what police work is about, caring. Yes, it is very important to protect and enforce the law and there are some very evil people in this world. But not everyone is.
This entire effort to shame cops for shooting unarmed suspects has been successful for the most part, but it needs to remove itself from extremists. As those who claim they are associated with Black Lives Matter and calls for the execution of cops. That’s completely backward and going in the wrong direction; it’s just a small group of people with a very loud megaphone.
You can’t always change the way people think but you can most change the way training is provided. It can be difficult with the size of our country and the decentralized nature of our police departments, but it is possible. America is a very harsh country. When you focus on punishment instead of rehabilitation, people just get angrier and are likely to commit a crime again.
A police department in Massachusetts decided to treat drug offenders as patients instead of criminals saying that anyone who walks in to the police station with their drugs or needles in hand will not be charged but steered toward rehab. Leonard Campanello, the police chief of Gloucester, Mass started this program. In an interview with the New York Times he said there are not enough police on the street helping people, and that’s why he became a cop.
Little by little, police departments are taking action to help people, to serve. But the major setbacks by large police departments are causing lots of harm. Nationwide efforts need to be made to have a uniform code of caring among our police.