I met a young law enforcement officer last night at a neighbor’s house. He lives on my street with his pretty young wife and their baby. I commented on how nice their garden in the front yard looks that I pass on my daily walks.
As we sat around the fire pit getting to know each other the state of current events came up. Like most places, we have had peaceful protests in our town and know people who have marched in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, we all agreed the looting and rioting followed by now toppling of statues may not be the way to change things for the better.
When we asked our young neighbor what his experience has been in the past 2 weeks, he says he drives his car and people yell profanities at him. They call him names and angrily wave fists at him yelling “Black lives matter”. People warn him that he could be followed in his law enforcement car to his house so he should park at the local fire house and walk home to keep his family safe.
This young man could be one of my sons. And he is someone’s son.
According to the news, nearly 400 NYPD cops have been hurt during the 2 weeks of protests after George Floyd’s death. And that is just in New York City. Being a cop was never a safe job, but this is awful.
I am not sure what the answer is. Corruption in the police department is too prevalent. People get off because they know someone all the time. I know about that only too well. The night my husband died. Cops who have been on the job for years get soured and exposed to so many criminals, liars, drug addicts, and violent individuals. Experience is good, but makes it hard to be neutral to each new case.
I remember when I taught in a large school district in California, they had a policy where they switched principals to different schools every few years. This was a way to keep things fresh and maintain objectivity and fairness for everyone. Maybe by enforcing a 4 year limit as chief of police, like president of the United States, would help police departments with their own checks and balances.
Toppling statues and changing names of streets may help people feel good in the short run, but the fundamental changes to the way our country enforces laws fairly must be reviewed.
And of course training and development on interactions with potentially dangerous individuals must be improved. I think most people agree that once a man is handcuffed and laying in the street, he does not need a knee on his neck making it impossible for him to breathe.
I envision a spider man type gun that whips out a strong net that stabilizes the perpetrators. Where is Elon Musk when I think of these great ideas.
What are your thoughts on where to go with all of this?