Changing the Police

As police and civilian tensions rise police leaders strive to change police policy and procedure to avoid further casualties and mitigate the use of force by focusing on peaceful resolutions.

Joseph Rivas, Columnist

At this point it’s practically impossible to not see, hear, or know of the growing police violence and abuse around the world. The turbulent world we live in has led to an incredible amount of change and with that often comes a reaction. In the case of the United States, the reactions have become increasingly violent.

Minor insurrection between frustrated and scared civilians and police has become commonplace in metropolitan areas with outstanding social issues throughout the United States. The problem on behalf of the police so far is they often approach fragile situations with force and intimidation, sparking further tension and unfortunately leading to further damage to human life, police and civilian alike. In response to this, a desire to change policy and practice is being seen. Police leaders around the world are starting to shift their practice to focus on de-escalation rather than forceful suppression, Police leaders in the United States have been meeting and training with Scottish Police to practice non-forceful and de-escalatory tactics as the U.S. police force has been close partners with them for along time.

Changes that are possibly going to be introduced nationally are the tracking and documentation of force, which currently has never been documented, the aforementioned shift to avoiding violence and defusing volatile situations and a focus on successful community communication, the one I feel will make the most difference is the tracking and documentation of force. It’s impossible to know which police officer has used force because it’s not tracked. This can lead to a lack of accountability on behalf of officers, knowing their actions will be tracked might make them think twice before acting possibly decreasing the risk of harm caused by police weapons.

This direct response to tragedy might be a big first step in repairing the trust issues and resentment between communities and those who are supposed to protect and serve them. My concern is the strong and deep rooted anti-police sentiment that’s stronger and more forthright than ever, bleeding ever more into pop culture and public conscience. These opinions are not entirely unreasonable or unwarranted, often justified, the average individuals distrust of authority often outweighs the willingness to give a change in opinion a chance, especially when it’s coming from the perceived problem.