I recently saw a post that I tried to save but somehow couldn’t entitled Police Lives Matter and asking for comments if one was brave enough to do so. Here’s my reply:
Of course they matter. They take on a job that few would consider. They protect. They serve. They keep the peace. There are some cops who are wonderful human beings, skilled at handling the most difficult situations imaginable. And yet there are many who need more training to deal with those with severe mental illness, with addiction problems, suicidal situations, with explosive domestic violence situations, with people of color, with high crime areas. Some of these are situations where social workers would be helpful but, practically speaking, are not available.
Cops who show a leaning towards fringe groups, like white supremacists, QAnon, the KKK, Neo Nazis, and others of that ilk should be taken off street duty and fired as quickly as possible.
Community policing where solid relationships are developed with businesses, government leaders, and individuals is vital for reforming police departments.
When I was kid in Philly, a friendly cop would come into our elementary school classroom and talk to us about safety and some of what they do. That had a huge impact on me. I don’t know if they still do that, but they should. I even joined the safety patrol of that elementary school as a result! I didn’t last long for the stress got to me. I had to get a note from my mother to get me out. If dealing with kids crossing streets was too much to handle imagine what actual cops go through today.
So absolutely the police matter. I value their presence in our communities. But there are people who are not treated fairly by the police. They are discriminated against because of the color of their skin. That’s not right. It rubs against the fabric of our society. We’re not a perfect society but we do strive to come up to the standards set forth in our founding documents, and by the words and deeds of our most respected leaders, writers, and clergy. We’re a country that moves towards those ideals, too slowly at times, but steadily in the right direction.
The police, who started as a force to track down and return runaway slaves, has come a long way. They need to keep evolving into something better. But don’t we all?
Thanks for taking the time to read this.