It happened even as I began to write this article. There, in the Issue slot, was a tag "Police Brutality". This is a thing, tags for police brutality, because it has become common, mainstream has carried it everywhere. Maybe it has been going on, and it just was not as well recorded as it is with smart phones and Facebook. We all see it now, the problem is there are two sides having trouble coming to terms with the issue. The police and their families, probably scared and frightened and targeted, not sure what is going to happen and if they will become targets of a future crime. Then there are the community that sees its men and young boys being gunned down, probably scared and frightened and targeted, not sure what is going to happen and if they will become targets of a future crime. See what I did there? It is funny how the ending to both of my last two sentences are the exact same and are both correct. Both sides have issues to worry about, what comes next is how to deal with these issues and how to correct them.
Two years ago, when I was still enrolled in an online college (unfortunately I have had to break from to work full time), I at one point found myself in a class at which point we were split into groups and given an issue to find a solution for. My group was fatefully given Police Brutality. We debated all the things we thought could change the situation around, and some, like body cameras, have come into modern days like now. One big suggestion we all agreed upon has yet to happen though, why don't we fix the requirements themselves?
I still believe today that this would be a major game changer in police issues. What if we make the academies longer? We could start with a long evaluation of mental health. I think finding out what is happening in each person's head while training would warn us of trauma or tempers or even how a person bases judgments. If we could discover tendencies toward believing stereotypes and discrimination, we could decide if these tendencies would be trouble. From what I have witnessed myself, most discrimination is subconscious, probably taught from childhood and instilled in a person so deep they have to work hard to remove it, but it can be done. Next let us test the emotional levels and reactions. Every time I think of this I remember when I read Divergent, and laugh a little, though the ideas of Dauntless training have a decent basis. Let's expose the future officers to uncomfortable situations like the ones they will face in the line of duty, find out what scares them, how they react, how well they can control their emotions in those moments. Those with decent control abilities would pass.
Lastly, far more combat training would provide more confidence to officers in themselves. Better fighting and defense skills would enable an officer to feel more confident about restraining and controlling a criminal. An officer should be required to have good physique, so that they are strong enough, fast enough and calm enough to perform properly.
If we would take a look at the training for officers, maybe, just maybe, we could have it evolve. Not every person who tries out should make it, only the best should. With that idea also, the best should be paid far more than the starving salary they currently face. Officers are probably stressed because they risk their lives and go home and still have to figure out how to feed their family enough. The pay should be made to show appreciation.
We have a chance, right now, to change what is so desperately in need of changing. Instead of rioting, or placing or ignoring blame, find the flaws, fix them. I want my son to look back at this year in a history book and ask me about how it felt, because I do not want him to still be living these same issues when he is older...