Police could soon be required to kill citizens with kindness.
Most of the activists involved in the anti-police violence movement that I’ve spoken to have called for major reforms, including the end of broken windows policing and a public arbitration process.
Drastic changes to the arbitration process, suggested Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, aren’t something that’s likely to happen soon.
And, according to NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton, broken windows policing isn’t racist and will continue under his watch—a similar sentiment was expressed by Commissioner Ramsey, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to co-chair the Task Force on 21st Century Policing and in early March will be delivering his recommendations to the commander-in-chief.
So, what’s the good news? Well, many activists have spoken out about how mean and rude police officers can be and would love to experience, at the very least, more pleasant and friendly encounters.
Critics of the movement will probably say it’s trivial to expect police officers to deliver service with a smile, but Commissioner Bratton doesn’t see it that way. In an op-ed he authored for the Washington Post, Commissioner Bratton writes:
“To rebuild trust, a little graciousness can go a long way.”
More importantly than just acknowledging the importance of pleasantries, Commissioner Bratton highlighted how he could integrate what’s seemingly intangible into his organization structure.
“… We can also create new measurements for evaluating our work, measurements that include citizen satisfaction,” he writes.
These words from Commissioner Bratton are significant if for no other reason than it begins to reverse the belief at the institutional level that the fears and perceptions of the citizenry are irrelevant.
“We can hold cops and commands accountable for how safe their communities feel, not just how safe they are. We can cross the divide and make the community our partner again—here in New York and across the nation,” writes the Commissioner.
While this isn’t a statement to announce the repeal of stop-and-frisk, it’s still a win for activists involved in the anti-police violence movement and it proves that the leaders of institutions are listening to the emerging and established voices of the community that are making it clear they’re dissatisfied with American policing. To that point, the voices must continue to air their grievances in whatever medium provided.
Though Commissioner Bratton has got it right with adding citizen satisfaction into the mix, he’s only one person in charge of one police department and his feelings won’t automatically materialize into new reforms in other cities. Only the people have the power and voices to push this narrative and ideology further into mainstream consciousness; and only the people have the power to change the headlines from “Cop kills unarmed citizens” to “cop kills citizen with kindness.”
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™