Waiting for an Answer

A man ponders the Big Question with words in a thought cloud

I don’t know about you, but I hear a loud question coming out of the many protests surrounding our uses of force that have occurred since Ferguson in 2014.

“When will you stop killing us?”

Maybe I am missing it, but I have not heard a strong response from our nation’s police. This question must be answered!

This is my suggestion:

“We hear you. You have waited patiently for us to address the tragic number of persons we kill each year — around 1,000 persons and which have disproportionally impacted people of color.

In response to your question, we are immediately implementing the following actions and pledge to reduce, and be accountable, for the number of persons whose lives we have extinguished.

1. We now raise the standard for use of deadly force to that of “absolute necessity” (the standard in the European Union and which has resulted in a rate of police shootings far less than ours).

3. When we have to use force to control a person dangerous to others, we will attempt to use “less-than-deadly” force and be competent in developing these new methods.

2. In dangerous interactions with citizens, we will always attempt to de-escalate short of using force as a solution to the problem.

4. We will absolutely require all our officers to pledge (swear) to actively intervene if a colleague is acting contrary to law or policy and to personally permit the same action if they are found to be acting improperly.


This is a start. In the meantime, we pledge to work closely with you to craft a police response which you can trust, will listen to you, and work closely with you regarding community problems you identify to us.

We apologize for not responding more quickly to your question. We will do better and you can hold us accountable for doing so.