Policing The Police

Ferguson Police
Ferguson Police
Army fatigues, armored vehicles, tear gas, AR-15s ? it?s the war-ready imagery not just of Gaza and Iraq but Ferguson, Missouri, a town of 21,000 with zero murders on the books in 2014. | Photo: Scott Olson | Link | Ferguson, Police, Riot, Michael Brown,

Dual Powers Solution

What if we had dual policing powers, meaning we have a professional police force (as we do now), but there is a separate, citizen controlled oversight board, which reviews the professional police conduct in their local community, and arrives at rules and regulations for that professional police force serving that geographic area. And those decisions are immediately recallable by the citizens of those communities, ultimately leaving the power to those citizens, using self-governance.

For instance, a citizen oversight board may conclude that all patrol cars and officers, regardless of mission, are to be equipped with a body cam and patrol car cam, which may not be turned off. Perhaps another rule would be that no racial profiling will occur within that community, no violations of citizens natural or Constitutional rights will be violated in that community (e.g. by performing stop and frisks), and no petty or outdated offenses will be written up in that community. Another decision the citizen oversight board may make is that police officers are not allowed to disable already existing recording devices when entering certain neighborhoods, as a large metropolitan policing force was caught doing in the spring of 2014.

Anytime you have a business that centers around human suffering, you create an environment for those profiting off that business to create further human suffering. You see this in various industries, but especially in our policing institutions and the criminal justice system. If we are unwilling to fix things from the federal perspective, our best course of action is to start small and local, and then build a new system from the bottom to the top.

If we can erect these citizen oversight boards, along with passing local laws to give these boards, oversight powers over the policing institutions serving their communities; while also leaving these boards completely accountable to the citizens of those local communities, we could make our policing institutions safer for everyone involved.

Killing of unarmed citizens is a rare occurrence when compared to the other numerous violations committed by our professional policing institutions. These thousands of other violations represent a systemic problem unable to be resolved by a super-minority that has a direct interest in maintaining the status-quo and avoiding public transparency.

After all, if the state, without democratic justification, has given state agents the power to kill based off a very subjective emotion (fear), as the citizens of this nation, we have a right to have our voices heard on whether we will allow state agents to murder us based off of fear. Perhaps, we would like such decisions to be based off a more tangible and rational process, and have all public officials abide by the non-aggression axiom. Just by following a simple philosophy, multiple lives of citizens and police officers would have been saved this year alone.

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Updated May 22, 2018 6:38 PM UTC | More details


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