Reforms That Could Improve The State Of Policing In America
How can we help police to do a better job—to make meaningful connections to the communities in which they serve, keep the public and the officers themselves safer, and build trust in the police interactions that take place on the streets of this country every day? Changes are sorely needed—and not impossible to achieve. A handful of basic interventions to the current system could make huge improvements.
1- Require Implicit Bias Training
All law enforcement officers—from the feds down to local police—need to understand the divisions that plague society, and the discrepancies in interpretations of law enforcement actions between whites and of people of color. Equally important, they need to wrap their heads around their own hidden biases and the way those biases impact their ability to be objective and even-handed. One element central to this understanding is training. No amount of training can eliminate someone’s bias, but it can certainly raise one’s awareness of it. As officers are challenged to question their own beliefs in a variety of scenarios and the attendant actions that follow based on those beliefs, research indicates positive changes are possible.
2- Improve Data Collection and Oversight Fatalities
There have been a number of high-profile deaths involving police in recent years. Are these isolated incidents, or do such fatalities occur on a regular basis? How often are unarmed individuals killed by police? What percentage of those killed in police interactions were felons? Are communities of color impacted disproportionately? These are all important questions, but questions that are difficult to address with complete accuracy. That’s because reporting of these situations is done by the states to the FBI on a voluntary basis. Making data collection and reporting mandatory would give the DOJ the information it needs to shape policing in positive ways. Instead of being a reactionary body, the DOJ could learn from the patterns discovered and create policies and oversight to improve policing in America.
3- Use More Special Prosecutors when Police are Investigated for Misconduct
When local prosecutors take on cases involving police misconduct, there can be questions as to the impartiality of the proceedings. Alternatives that avoid possible conflicts of interest must be explored. Perceptions—whether or not they are accurate—often hold that the prosecutor’s office is biased toward officers. Special prosecutors who are housed at the state attorney general’s office could address negative perceptions.
Getting a Fair Shake
Encounters with the police can sometimes be frightening, especially when community members believe they are being mistreated or officers are using unnecessary amounts of force. If you believe the system is stacked against you, the best thing you can do is get a skilled Las Vegas criminal attorney working for you. At Lobo Law, you can count on nothing less. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.