The Solution to Police Over Reaction
The recent spate of over reactions of police in shooting African American men caught on camera revolts us all. I understand that there are clarifications to each shooting. However, there are just too many shootings of unarmed Black men in America. Clearly, there are multiple parts of the solution – one is to improve performance evaluations to get rid of a racist, sexist, homophobic, or mentally unstable police officers A second part of the solution is to improve the training and supervision of police supervisors. These police officers did not just recently become killers. Their behaviors prior to shooting should have brought swift evaluation and either improved behavior, or firing. Thus the problem is the over reactions of police, but it is also the training of those in charge of the police.
Thus, these parts of the solution require improved training of existing police officers and their supervisors. This means retraining all existing police officers with a very serious curriculum on diversity. And if they don’t do well in this new curriculum, they must be fired. The police force is no place for racist, sexist, homophobic, or mentally unstable people. It is the leadership of the police that must take this seriously and take action on evaluation, retraining and training of police officers. This leadership also means governors, state legislators, mayors, city council members, and school board members.
The longer term, but more permanent training solution is to start earlier. High school career academies in police science must be a part of the long-term solution. These high school police career academies provide a sequenced educational program. This means 180 hours per school year for the first three years of high school and then 360 hours during the student’s senior year. These 900 hours of instruction can provide far superior level of training for young people for the difficult work of police officers. The curriculum will entail interactions with people of all races and sexual preferences. It will include a basic understanding of the mentally ill. These police career academies can be placed into high schools with a mix of races and ethnicities that will create a diverse pool of police officers in the future. Police officers will be in the high schools on a daily basis as part of the police career academy program creating opportunities for both populations to interact with each other.
These high school police career academies can work with the military to provide several years of experience as military police or shore patrol prior to being hired into the police force. Police departments can provide preference for entrance to their formal police academies for the high school police career academy young men and women graduates to aid the reputation of the high school programs. Another idea is to have a resident police academy experience to further evaluate police candidates while in the formal police academy.
America is a diverse country. It is incumbent upon the police to treat all people equally. Stereotyping by race, ethnicity, or sexuality by the police must not ever occur. Many Americans are not familiar with people of different races or sexual preference or with people with mental illness. The police need to use educational experiences to broaden their life experiences. Having a 900-hour high school police career academy education can help solve this vexing American problem. It is clear that the present training for police is insufficient. It is past time to use our high schools to help solve societal problems early in our youth’s lives. Attempting to repair the problem later in life just doesn’t work very well. We need to rethink our high schools to reinvent career prep programs on a systematic basis. All of our youth must have employable skills and that includes educating the police.