The Policing Paradigm

To my law enforcement friends: I know a few of you are irritated about my representation of a segment of the protestors and disagree with my position that peaceful protestors were arrested. My rejoinder is that 100’s were corralled and zip tied. I liken it to the teacher punishing the entire class because it’s easier than identifying the bad actors. But let me reassure you of my vocal support for the overwhelming many great public servants who risk their lives every day.

I have dedicated a great portion of my significant pro bono work towards peace officers for the last 20 years because of the unwavering assistance two officers Billy Williams and Jon Laird gave me while I was on the job and going to school. But there are systemic disparities in drug and traffic enforcement that need to be dismantled. There are bad officers who do not deserve the uniform. We need to revision the law enforcement paradigm to incentivize officers to speak up and intercede instead of a system that ostracizes the honest. A criminal cop is the worst type of criminal because he paints a portrait that stigmatizes holistically the sacrifices you make for your communities and country every day.

I vocally reject the naive or willfully dishonest “abolish the police” narrative pushed by politicians who screech this nonsense while also knowingly relying on the best and most focused law enforcement protections. The suggestion by Minnesotan politicians in the wake of the tide of criminals ravaging Minneapolis with looting, arson and in many ways (violent assaults, sexual assaults) wholly ignored by the media that police should be replaced by community based, non violent measures is ridiculous. We need to fix policing and the system by which bad cops are held to account but we need police. There is evil and they must be prevented from ripping the fabric of America asunder.

There are a great many monsters out there. And the suffering of victims was greatly exacerbated by the ill-advised lockdown (family violence and other crimes spiked across this country) and then even more so by police administrators and politicians who placed politics over people across this Nation ordering officers to stand down, ignore their oaths and cede their cities to criminals (New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Portland are glaring examples) at the expense of the citizens deserving protections.

We have witnessed so much death and loss in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud (be reminded the police wanted to arrest, the prosecutors did not allow it), Breonna and George. We must demand more transparency and consequence but we should also not tolerate those who advocate for abandoning support for the public servants who protect us who are often forced into roles of the prohibition agent and revenuer that they never imagined doing when they decided to enter the law enforcement community.

Finally, solutions. This is a question that came up in the dialogue between Charlamagne and Rush Limbaugh this week and I felt platitudes superseded substance. I will provide you the solutions I have conjured over the years. (1) End the war on drugs immediately. Police should not be prohibition agents and they should not be forced into a function that leads some to treat people they stop for speeding or other traffic offenses like a nation of citizen suspects because it facilitates personal biases controlling suspicions and conducts. Yes. Legalizing drugs will lead to many people destroying their own lives and criminal charges filed for downstream misconduct when it impacts the lives of others. But let’s put users who have life destroying addictions in hospitals not prisons. Let’s allow local governments to tax drug sales which will provides an economic answer for my second solution. (2) No longer allow local entities to profit from traffic enforcement thus removing the incentivize ticket quotas which promotes ticky tack stops that can lead to negative law enforcement encounters. Traffic stops should be for public safety concerns only not revenue generation and it is unfair to put the yoke of regressive taxation to balance budgets on patrol officers. (3) Mandatory body cameras not controlled by individual officer. Cameras protect good officers from bad people and good people from bad policing. Body cams also encourage professionalism. (4) State based independent public integrity units wholly separate from local and state prosecutors. As exemplified in the Ahmaud Arbery matter, the often incestuous relationship and codependency between law enforcement and prosecutors can lead to compromises that thwart justice. This solution is long overdue.

Let us all advocate for transformative change but let us also stop holistically condemning any community or group. We should all be heartbroken by the recent tragedies. But we should also remind ourselves of the ultimate sacrifice many members of the law enforcement community have given and so many are willing to give everyday if necessary to protect their fellow citizens.

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