There is an ever growing movement to defund the police. This should scare the hell out of all law enforcement around the country. It’s a reaction to people that are seen as the enemy in some neighborhoods. Being former law enforcement, I understand both sides of the story. There is an adversarial relationship between law enforcement and its citizens but it doesn’t have to be that way. When I worked with the Border Patrol, I saw the illegal citizens coming into the country as my customers, much like a retailer would see a shopper. I treated them that way because they kept me employed. Sounds strange doesn’t it but that is the view I had of them. I would go talk to them sometimes prior to them crossing over and ask them if they needed any water or just to talk to them to find out their story. I would spend an hour sometimes just talking to them. Most of the time they wouldn’t try and cross after we talked but if they did, they wouldn’t give me a hard time when I caught them. And like a good customer service person, I understood their needs and what they wanted, even though I couldn’t really let them have it, in this case entry into the U.S.. But the fact that I took a little time to know my customers, their names, their story, made things easier. It also helped that I spoke their language, being hispanic, and understood where they were coming from, in terms of their hardships. Community policing, which means actually interacting with the community, would help a ton in alleviating the mistrust. I rarely had a problem with my customers and knew them pretty well and treated them like I would like to be treated. While I agree with some of the steps that they want to take; mandatory body cameras and audio feeds, diversity training, implementing a non lethal police squad for community relations policing, lowering court protections for police wrongdoers; I also don’t feel like defunding the police significantly is going to help. And this goes both ways, because the years of mistrust is on both sides, so the community have to talk to the officers, and remember that they have kids at home and that they like to drink a beer and watch sports or go to the beach and hang out. Until a better plan is put in place to rid the country of crime, because there is going to be crime, then what we have to do is engage both sides into real discussions on how best to come up with an equitable solution so we don’t see each other as the enemy.
There is a way to construct a non lethal force from the current force. You make a non lethal force and have them respond to non lethal calls, traffic accidents or in the case of Eric Garner, which should be trained in hand to hand combat, and you have roving armed force waiting to respond to any situations that might require lethal fore, i.e. an individual with a gun. Non lethal forces should be armed with intermediate weapons, but should also be trained in de-escalation.