How to improve policing in America

It is very clear that policing in this country is at a crossroads. With new stories showing up every day alleging police brutality, racial profiling, and unprofessional conduct the public has called out for reform, defunding, or even the abolishment of the entire policing infrastructure itself.

Over the past couple of decades, our police have been taught that danger is around every corner, that everyone is a possible threat. This is NOT the right attitude we need from the people that are sworn to protect us. However, getting rid of them, or taking away funding is not going to change anything.

But for the safety of our friends and neighbors, and the safety of our brave police officers, we need real change that goes beyond external oversight or adding body cams. We need to completely shift the way that we approach policing from the root level.

Over the years the police have been asked to handle more and more tasks, so to start with we can reduce responsibilities to allow officers to focus on the right priorities.

  • Restructure traffic enforcement - Divest responsibility for traffic enforcement away from police and rely on more automated systems to handle citations such as "red light" cameras, speed limit systems, etc. These are more cost-effective and will¬†drastically reduce the number of officers patrolling for traffic issues
  • Decriminalize drug use - there is no need for police to be arresting people for personal drug use
  • Repeal vagrancy laws - that specifically target homeless people, such as panhandling, sleeping on the sidewalks, in parked cars, etc. We should be focusing on the cause of these and not the symptoms
  • Divert funding towards mental health professionals to respond to "crisis calls", as opposed to sending armed officers
  • Increase focus on community-based policing

We need to overhaul the hiring and training process to ensure that our police officers have the best tools and training needed to ensure the safety pf the public, and themselves.

Changes to the hiring process

  • Application with a "pre-screening" written exam and personal history questionnaire.
  • Full/intense background check - should include links to racist organizations, etc.
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Polygraph test (at the same time, some websites tell you how you can get past these)
  • Oral review with representatives from the police department and independent civilian accountability group
  • After passing all of the above - a minimum 2-3 month long training "academy" combines both classroom and faux field-based learning.¬†
    • Non-violent conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques
    • Implicit bias/ racial "awareness."
    • Emphasis on non-lethal methods

Increased training

  • Additional on-going training
    • Non-violent conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques
    • Implicit bias/ racial "awareness" (ongoing)
    • Emphasis on non-lethal methods

Policy changes

  • Use of force should be the last resort
  • Officers are automatically removed from active patrol after using a firearm while actions are reviewed by an independent organization.
  • Unpaid leave after X complaints of misconduct - pending independent review and re-training as required
  • Abolishment of Police Unions - or severely minimized ability to interfere with disciplinary actions
  • Officers are required to intervene when they see unlawful activities taken by other officers
  • Additionally, all such conduct should be reported.
  • Removal of stigma around calling out improper behavior
  • Remove Qualified Immunity
  • Military-style weapons only authorized for specially trained departments (SWAT)

Complete transparency and accountability

  • All uses of force data made available to the public without requests
  • Any other police records available on request