Challenges police departments face can be mitigated through meaningful education reform.
If it’s not evident from a recent post of mine entitled “Why These Two White House Initiatives Should Collaborate” and my writings on econology – the synthesis of sociology, ecology and economics, which is used to create economies that are socially and ecologically sustainable – I’m a huge fan of studying and solving social problems together, not in silo.
Though society traditionally assigns issues to separate government agencies, the reality is the world’s problems are usually, if you dig deep enough, mutually reinforcing and linked closely together.
It’s true with global poverty and environmental decline, and it’s true with our education system and police departments, though the linkage for the latter is rarely explored, let alone developed into a social innovation which touches the boundaries of disciplines.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who in March of this year as the co-chair of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing will present recommendations to President Barack Obama, articulated this link – to my surprise – in a recent radio interview with WHYY’s Marty Moss-Coane.
Acknowledging the need for officers to undergo more training on de-escalation techniques, Philly’s top cop also remarked that conflict resolution classes should start in elementary school, because the reason police are patrolling most neighborhoods is due to the violent crimes rate.
Last year in Philadelphia, according to Commissioner Ramsey, police responded to more than 3 million service calls from neighborhoods mainly populated by poor African-Americans, and the City experienced nearly 247 homicides – that number reflects a decline.
Beyond the serious problem of violent crime that the Commissioner is attempting to attack on a daily basis – which he believes could be mitigated by a K-12 focus on conflict resolution – he’s also having a hard time with recruitment.
But the Commissioner is less interested in hiring officers just improve diversity, he wants to ensure individuals are “service orientated when they come into the department,” which could be easily accomplished if school districts taught courses that engrained civics and public service into the minds of its youth.
Luckily for the Commissioner, he doesn’t just have to hope and dream, because he’s in a position to make serious change happen for the nation, particularly for my hometown of Philadelphia, which is ground zero for big problems and even bigger opportunities.
It’s my sincere hope that this moment in history unifies both police and the communities they serve, and the innovative problem solvers who will safeguard our future.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™