• The Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 15
The work of policing in America is under scrutiny as never before, and that’s a good thing. The origin of the new attention – several high-profile, fatal encounters between police officers and citizens – is tragic, but if lessons are learned, such incidents can be reduced.
A civil society depends on having a police force that people trust and respect. When that bond frays, everyone is less safe.
Fair-minded people, in law enforcement and among the public, have to come to terms about how police should interact with the public and whether or not those standards are being met …
Even with perfect documentation, though, police and some in the public will see police/public conflicts differently. The best way to bridge the gap is through better communication.
Police work, on its worst days, is brutal and ugly. Police officers face challenges most people never do: hostile, violent people engaging in vile behavior. They are expected to manage out-of-control people and defuse situations without harming or offending anyone. Not surprisingly, they don’t always succeed.
Law-enforcement officials can’t just assume their officers operate free of bias and follow proper procedures; they need strong policies, training and documentation to be certain of it. And they need to make that information clear to the public, so it can be certain, too.