There is little doubt that we in America are into a major civic storm since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. This one act, after years and years of equally egregious acts by bad cops throughout the country, is the “straw” which is about to break the camel’s back!
The collective retaliation and reform movement inspired by both white and blacks who support this huge movement called “Black Lives Matter is making a difference. But let’s not rush too fast in our anger.
The Minneapolis city council, as well as many city councils throughout our nation, have sent an angry, fed-up, “enough is enough” message to their police by either de-funding (taking away budget dollars) or actually attempting to eliminate their police departments ala Camden, NJ.
Slow down. We have an OPPORTUNITY today to do what needs to be done — TO RE-IMAGINE THE POLICING FUNCTION IN OUR CITIES.
This will NOT come about through federal or state legislation. This hasn’t been effective in the past and it won’t be now. But it can happen if police are willing to open themselves up to honestly, deeply, and sincerely LISTEN to those whom they serve how they are perceived and what community wants them to do and be –NOT how they wish to be.
In some communities, it may be that the people are highly satisfied with their police and how they operate and totally trust them.
But other places, especially in Minneapolis, elected officials are telling the police they are fed up with how they operate and they do not trust them. That is an untenable situation in any city and changes must be made — even to the point of eliminating the current police department and starting over. When it’s that bad, elimination may be the only answer.
No matter what, police need to LISTEN to their communities (there are often more than one, more like five or six, in every city). It is time for leaders who are servant leaders. Officers who are committed to the Constitution, our rule of law, along with fair, equal, and respectful treatment of all citizens.
To community members: “Don’t let your anger against police and society lead you astray. It’s okay to be angry, but make it righteous, collaborative, and goal-oriented,”
To police: “Don’t let your anger and defensiveness get in the way of developing a better way of serving your community and building a closer, effective, and supportive relationship with every community member. This is an opportunity for you and your department — don’t blow it!”