Bad Attitude, Bad Mindset!

feel I should emphasize the point the following authors of the National Review have made concerning police training and what they call the negative “mindset”among our nation’s police. In my writing, I call it the “attitude.”

Regardless of what we call it, it has creeped into American policing since the tragedy of September 11, 2001 — almost a generation ago! It has been identified by me and others as a struggle between the role of guardian or warrior. Both are essential, but the former must always dominate.

Policing cannot be effectively accomplished in a free and democratic society unless those who experience police “services” trust and support those who are given authority in their community. Police must not morph into a military-like occupying force.

The reality is that those who are most subject to these “services” are poor and of color. And what they need are trustful guardians to help them live in safe and orderly neighborhoods. The problem is that we have two very different styles of policing in wealthy suburbs versus poor cities.

It was about 60 years ago when I realized the policing I learned in a wealthy suburb ( Edina, MM) was not the same style as I saw my colleagues practice when I transferred to Minneapolis. It was a lesson that I never forgot.

In order to change this mindset/attitude it is going to take a lot of persistent work from both police and community leaders. We don’t need two styles of policing in America, just one that works. And what works is the guardian style practiced by educated, well-trained police who are respectful and controlled in their use if force.

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