Today’s entry: I’ve heard you talk about police reform and ask others about police reform but I haven’t heard you say whether you think we need it. I’d like to hear your take.
Bottom Line: There’s a reason you’ve primarily heard me talking about the issues and asking those in law enforcement for their perspective. I’m learning. The issue of police reform is especially complicated and it’s one my perspective has shifted a bit on over the years. Based on what I’ve learned regarding the potentially vast differences in policy between local law enforcement agencies but also due to the recent interconnectivity between them.
Whether it’s right or wrong, there’s no question but that in the post-George Floyd age every questionable police interaction has the potential to become a national news story. Every one of those occurrences has the potential to impact every single member of law enforcement from federal agencies to South Florida’s municipal police departments. That subsequent impact has the potential to impact the safety of our communities. I don’t take any of it lightly.
With over 22,000 crimes committed per day and over 800,000 members of law enforcement tending to them, the opportunity for the next high-profile case is always potentially right now. I think commonly police reform is only looked at through the prism of making the job harder on law enforcement. That’s not necessarily the case, it depends on what’s in the proposal.
It could be that inaction at the federal level that could make the job harder for local law enforcement. If a local law enforcement agency permits a controversial tactic that isn’t widely supported, and something goes wrong, it has the potential to have a profound negative impact on everyone. So, for example, former Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina and current Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo, both told me they support a ban on chokeholds unless there’s no other option. Additionally, polling has shown large majorities of Americans feel the same.
So, if those in leadership share that perspective and if most Americans share that perspective that would be an example of an area of reform that may make sense universally. Now if stripping qualified immunity is in the picture, forget it. That’s a non-starter that would only lead to an exodus from law enforcement agencies, kill recruitment and make everyone less safe. As always, the devil is in the details.
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Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio
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