The Police’s primary responsibility (officers and departments), in any country, is the prevention and detection of crime, maintaining law and order, and safety of its citizens. The former duties (i.e., prevention and detection of crimes) are, in my opinion, implicitly clear though this duty is now relegated because “The Police” are busy with, and have been deployed to, more serious tasks; or because the department is short-staffed.
Let’s talk about the latter duties; law and order, and safety. Not that the former responsibility is unimportant. Far from that but the current events, of demonstrations stemming from Police insensitivity, have pushed the former tasks lower on the priority scale.
Is carrying firearms a must?
How then does the U.S. Police maintain order amid hostility? I am not a subject-matter expert on this issue and have no answer to the question. However, according to Olivia Goldhill [https://qz.com/727941/how-do-police-handle-violence-in-countries-where-officers-dont-cry-guns/], there are five countries in the world whose Police forces do not carry guns. The countries are:
- New Zealand [https://www.police.govt.nz/],
- Britain [https://www.met.police.uk/], and
- Ireland [https://www.garda.ie/en/].
Carrying firearms might not be a real issue as none was used in the death of George Floyd. However, how do these countries deal with their citizens, without the use of force or firearms, in instances of unrest and arrests without it escalating? I hope the U.S. Police can take some cue from these countries.
Suggestive first steps
A starting point might be an overhaul of the various Police Departments as Minneapolis PD has pledged to do. Also, educating the force on the use of firearms, sensitivity, ethics, and race issues. Another step is to ensure that officers (old and new) must have at least a two-year college degree.
Whatever changes the District Attorneys and US Police Departments decide to institute and implement, we pray that the murky waters will soon become crystal clear.
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To change or not to …
We acknowledge that some Police personnel or departments (or even some quarters of the public) might resist the change either because of fear of the unknown (i.e., what the new norm might mean for them) or because they realize that power is being snatched from them and would prefer to maintain the status quo. To these folks, we say that “it is time to change.” Just as bad habits are harder to break, the new norm might be uncomfortable in the beginning, but being intentional about it will eventually make it easier and become a routine. Though unrelated in terms of the industry but similar in terms of issue, this article on change in the medical sector is a good read. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5485172/]
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We’re also hoping that the fight against racism will not follow the patterns of such reforms as diversity. With the diversity reforms, we have observed that companies, schools/colleges, and other organizations ensure that at least one minority (or one from all races) is included on their team. However, the number of promotions to higher levels is still being restricted. Other notables are that the one minority included on the team is often seen (or used) as a “puppet” where the person has no voice. Here’s a Pew Research article to shed more light on the diversity reforms
I pray that the changes that have begun with the police and legislative reforms on racism will be a permanent one.
Here’s to a better future for Blacks that have been extremely overdue!