Sunday Commentary: Calls for Police Accountability Are Not Akin to Cop-Hatred

Share:

Police Blue

I recall clearly one day, I was using the men’s room at Davis City Hall when a firefighter walked into the restroom, saw me at the stall, and proceeded to ask, “Why do you hate us?”  I went into a lengthy explanation of why I didn’t “hate” firefighters, only disagreed with the tactics of their union leadership, but it was a reminder of something I have learned often on this job – people equate criticism with hatred.

It seems that any time I criticize the police, or call for additional measures of oversight or call out problematic conduct by the police, I am accused of hating the police.  It was a Davis Enterprise columnist who, this spring, accused me of running a “cop-bashing” and “anti-police” blog “that is willing to publish all things negative about the police.”

The reality is that I do not hate cops.  To be very clear, I have long been a critic of policing and believe that a certain percentage of police officers conduct themselves inappropriately.  I also tend to believe that the percentage of bad actors is considerably higher than a lot of people want to think.

But that does not mean I hate individual cops or even the profession.  I am simply a believer that we grant police a wide amount of power to take away people’s freedom and take away people’s lives under certain circumstances, and a certain percentage of people, a certain percentage of the time, abuse that power.

Make no mistake – there are people who actually hate the police.  From the polling however, that number is actually quite low.  There is a more radical critique of policing that views police brutality against blacks as a function of structural racism and white supremacy.

As I have pointed out previously, there is some truth in that critique of policing – as policing has often been the enforcement mechanism for state oppression of people of color, and in particular African Americans.

In her MLK Day talk from 2016 in Davis, Natasha Minsker followed Michelle Alexander’s argument that “mass incarceration is a form of social control of blacks.”

Ms. Minsker argued that “the law has been used as a tool of racial oppression in this country from the very beginning.” She traced it to the 1600s “when criminal law was used to enforce the status of being a slave.” The law was used to categorize race and classify African Americans and Africans as second-class citizens and “even subhuman.

“Today we have a system where the criminal justice system operates as a massive instrument of control for people of color, particularly for African Americans and Latinos,” Natasha Minsker said.

But, while I agree with much of this critique, I differ with some who believe that what we need is a system to enforce constitutional policing.  Constitutional policing is a necessity in society, but we must be able to trust the professionals who are tasked with this enormous responsibility.

However, the problem I am having is that my interactions lately with police officers from across the region on social media platforms have been overwhelmingly negative.  When I have these interactions, when I read the comments by law enforcement, it completely undermines any semblance of trust.

It goes beyond just social media interactions, for sure.  Two weeks ago, I was at the arraignment court in Sacramento, and got first-hand accounts from people there about excessive force from the Sacramento Police Department, both on the streets and in their homes, as well as from the sheriff’s deputies at the jail.

The comments made on Facebook by the Sacramento Police Underground, as we have reported, are quite appalling.  You have the NY Police Union complaining that its officers are victims of “blue racism.”

But by far the worst are my personal interactions on Facebook with a number of law enforcement officers, many of them friends of friends, which should give anyone pause and concern.

The comments are rude.  They are insensitive.  They are laced with profanity.  They are insulting to individuals who do not agree with them.  And they are extremely right wing.

When someone posts f-bomb laced comments on someone else’s wall, it is easy to see who they are and what they do for a living.  When I see some of these posts coming from police officers and sheriff’s deputies, I cringe.

One question I have is am I seeing a reflection in the posts, on the Sacramento Underground page and in the comments on Facebook, a true reflection of the attitude of patrol officers who are on the streets interacting with not only criminals, but also average citizens on a daily basis?

This is what worries me.  Not everyone whom the police encounter is going to be a dangerous criminal, and yet their attitude toward everyday people is very dismissive.

We saw this kind of attitude in Texas with the treatment of Sandra Bland, where, after she refused to put out her cigarette, the trooper threatened to “yank” her out of her car.  And then he said, “I will light you up” while pointing a Taser at her.

In Sacramento, a stop by the police of an alleged “jaywalker” escalated the confrontation by saying, “If you do not stop right now, I will take you to the ground.”

The individual said, “If you’re a real man, you can take your gun away and you can fight me like a real man.”

At that point the officer charged toward the man, threw him to the ground, and punched him in the face repeatedly.

“The actions of the involved Sacramento police officer are disturbing and do not appear to be reasonable based upon the circumstances,” the Sacramento Police Department said in a statement.

We see these interactions on video, now that it has become available.

Then we read reports like the one out of the Chicago Accountability Task Force report: “CPD’s response to the violence is not sufficiently imbued with constitutional policing tactics and is also comparatively void of actual procedural and restorative justice in the day-to-day encounters between the police and citizens.”

They add, “CPD’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”  Still more: “Stopped without justification, verbally and physically abused, and in some instances arrested, and then detained without counsel—that is what we heard about over and over again.”

The comments I see on an everyday basis on Facebook are resemblant of the types of problems you see echoed in these incidents and the report from Chicago.

Still, there is a difference, which some people don’t seem to understand, between criticizing conduct and hating individuals, but my interactions on Facebook with law enforcement have been overwhelming negative.

That doesn’t reflect well and it certainly doesn’t help law enforcement make its case.

What is clear is the need for additional dialogue to start bridging the gap between those on the police force and those in the community.  But supporting concepts like community policing and constitutional policing does not mean that someone is anti-police.

—David M. Greenwald reporting



Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$
USD
Sign up for

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

56 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: Calls for Police Accountability Are Not Akin to Cop-Hatred”

  1. Tia Will

    a true reflection of the attitude of patrol officers who are on the streets interacting with not only criminals, but also average citizens on a daily basis.”

    http://www.npr.org/…/-somebody-help-me-utah-nurse-cried-as-police-detective-roughly-arrest..

    While most of the stories that make the rounds on social media do involve people of color, your comment about “also average citizens” made me want to share this item from yesterday’s social media. I have concern about two trends that I see with the new administration. One is a seeming willingness to allow law enforcement even a broader range of acceptance of bad and in some cases illegal behaviors. The second is the increased militarization of police. While I agree that most police are well intentioned and do a good job, it also seems to me that it is particularly important now when our “leadership” is taking such a permissive attitude towards police behavior, not to become complacent about the “few bad apples” perspective. Apples go bad very quickly once exposed to rot.

        1. Howard P

          And where would you get the applicants?  How would you screen them?

          Are we talking about Davis or Sacto PD’s… or both?  Maybe I missed a shift of ‘field’ and thinking this was a followup on another thread re:  Picnic Day and DPD…

        2. David Greenwald

          This article was not department specific.  And no I don’t have a great answer to your questions but I invite you to go to arraignment court and have conversations with folks, you’ll get a picture of what’s going on and just how bad it is.

      1. John Hobbs

        Howard, I don’t think you’d miss police all that much, but in order to change the culture, I think we have to change the personnel. We have to hire for brains and sensitivity instead of brawn and aggression. We need to emphasize conflict resolution training and de-emphasize the use of deadly force, military tactics and weapons.

        1. Howard P

          Well, history shows in the absence of a police force, when stuff happens, you have posse comitatus and/or vigilantism.  The latter two might be interesting to try, if you’re game… of course neither of those two concepts have any public oversight at all… except their own members, of course…

    1. Tia Will

      Absolutely not. As someone who picked apples for supplemental income as a kid, I know that primary prevention is best. Only the good apples go into your basket, even if you are tired and think that a few questionable ones might pass. Then you re sort before putting them in the barrels and re sort again before then go on display. It takes time, extra care, effort and money, but if done right, only the best make it onto the display….or onto the street as the case may be.

  2. Ron

    David:  Did you and the firefighter arrive at an understanding?

    Regarding the police, I’m wondering if everyday folks like us don’t really understand what the job entails (and why it might lead to an overall negative attitude).

    I’ve noticed that police (in general) don’t like to have their authority/autonomy questioned by everyday folks.  (Some seem to view that as a personal attack.)

    I agree with you that criticism of the system (and even individuals) “shouldn’t” cause someone to conclude that you hate the police or fire departments, or the individuals who work there.  I suggest you explore this topic more, perhaps on a personal level (e.g., as with the firefighter).  Listen to what they have to say, including their concerns.

    1. Howard P

      I’ve noticed that police (in general) don’t like to have their authority/autonomy questioned by everyday folks.  (Some seem to view that as a personal attack.)

      And that isn’t true in your line of work?  Fascinating…

      Think if you substituted the term “normal people” for “police” you might be  ‘spot on’…

      I, of course welcomed and loved having folk who had little/no knowledge and/or no clue, questioning my authority and autonomy… and NEVER took it personally… yeah, right…

      1. Ron

        Howard:  Yes, as I suppose it was in your line of work, as well.  I’ve certainly witnessed that.  Personally, I was never “insulted” if someone challenged my “authority/autonomy”.  (As long as I had the support of my own management, it didn’t really matter. And, I always brought up the concerns of those being audited to my own management, before arriving at a final decision.)

        But, police work is different, and is much more dependent upon maintaining authority and autonomy. Police have to make split-second, life/death decisions on their own, as well. (Unlike doctors, for example, police sometimes have to make split-second decisions to end otherwise healthy lives on their own.)

      2. Ron

        Another difference with auditing work:  Those being audited often did “have a clue”, regarding the topic.  (In fact, auditors depend upon those being audited to provide information about their systems.)

      3. Tia Will

        Howard

        And that isn’t true in your line of work?  Fascinating…”

        In medicine this is an attitude that has been rapidly changing. When I first entered medicine 30 + years ago, there were still some MDs who espoused the physician knows best point of view. Over the years, this has been steadily changing. At the time of my retirement many of us had fully adopted the partnership model in which the MD is the expert in physiology, diagnosis & treatment options, with the patient as the expert in the functioning of their own body. This leads to a more productive collaborative model which avoids anyone feeling “attacked or challenged” and allows each to contribute.

        I strongly feel that the police are the experts in the law, crime detection and techniques for arrest. The members of the community are the experts in the inhabitants, flow of visitors, and ambiance of their neighborhoods. Each have their contribution to make, an ideally each would respect the relative “expertise” of the other.

        1. Jim Hoch

          “At the time of my retirement many of us had fully adopted the partnership model in which the MD is the expert in physiology, diagnosis & treatment options, with the patient as the expert in the functioning of their own body.”

          Tia, this is selection bias driven by your place of employment. The “physician as demi-god” paradigm is still alive and well in non-Kaiser settings.

  3. Tia Will

    Ron

    why it might lead to an overall negative attitude”

    I think many people who work in positions that have to deal with the general public such as social workers, first responders, ER personnel, and hospital workers at all levels understand very well the factors that might lead to a negative attitude. The point is that is an essential part of all of these individuals jobs that they do not allow that attitude to creep into their work. That is what is required of the job. If they are unable to do that, then they are in the wrong job and should ask for help, re assignment, or be willing to retrain for a more suitable job in another field. We expect this of health care providers and would not long patronize a store in which an employee habitually mistreated their customers. And yet, much of the public seem to be apologists for the same types of failings of police. This I believe is a very serious error given the amount of power that we allow them to wield.

  4. Ron

    Tia:  “The point is that is an essential part of all of these individuals jobs that they do not allow that attitude to creep into their work. That is what is required of the job. If they are unable to do that, then they are in the wrong job and should ask for help, re assignment, or be willing to retrain for a more suitable job in another field.”

    I’m not in disagreement with your statement.  However, police work seems entirely different than the other examples you’ve provided.  There are very few “rewarding/pleasant” encounters, for the police.  (Especially these days.)

    I think what’s missing on the Vanguard is the police (and even firefighter) perspective.  Seems to me that the Vanguard does interview (and covers the point of view) of those arrested by the police.

    Note that David is suggesting REPLACING the entire Sacramento PD and Sheriff’s department.  (No one views that as perhaps an extreme response, and a lack of understanding?)

     

      1. Howard P

        Some practical considerations…

        If you dismantled any organization instantaneously, there would be a void.

        If you did it over a period of 2-5 years, there would be a significant loss of ‘institutional memory’, including that of the truly good professionals.

        Guess you are saying there are no truly good professionals…

        Your opinion, you’re entitled…

        1. John Hobbs

          I have given this some thought. The fact is that we need a loss of a significant portion of that “institutional memory”  but in order to provide a continuous “protection” illusion, there would have to be some “carry-over.” Invasive scrutiny of all current officers’ personnel files, screening for discipline/violence issues both on and off the job and making any personnel to be retained take an orientation to the new zero-tolerance policies required of new hires and require them to sign a memo indicating their understanding of the “rules” and the penalties for violating them.

          “Guess you are saying there are no truly good professionals…”

          Awfully few.

          Chris Magnus seems to be an exception:

          https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/when-liberals-take-control-of-police/Content?oid=4067399

          I also think unions are going to be a challenge.

        2. Howard P

          So John H, you’d prefer the zero-based solution and we can deal with problems, either by doing nothing or go the posse/vigilante route… OK… I have a different view…

          When you say,

          Invasive scrutiny of all current officers’ personnel files, screening for discipline/violence issues both on and off the job

          Leads me to a question:

          Who would you have do the bolded security?

        3. John Hobbs

          “Who would you have do the bolded security?”

          There are a dozen firms locally who could handle that. Kinda meat and potatoes PI work,  these days. Keep in mind that you’re not going to find many cops with more than a couple of years service who don’t have disturbing stuff in their file. Searching their social media will eliminate even more.

      2. Ron

        David:  “You’re suggesting my view might be an extreme response, are you aware of the severity of the problem?”

        I make no claims.  However, I’m not sure you’ve adequately or objectively explored this.

        Referring to semi-anonymous Facebook postings (from a few people?) is not my idea of sound journalism, nor is it a basis to conclude that an entire police department needs to be replaced.

        It’s no wonder that some apparently believe that you’re biased against police.  I’m starting to think this, as well.  However, it’s your publication, and I have no dog in this fight.  Just trying to give you some suggestions to present a more complete picture. It’s difficult for me to believe that all of the individuals in local police departments are “bad apples”.

        I think you’ve gone off on the “deep end”, with your comments above.

         

        1. David Greenwald

          Like I said I haven’t given the solution a whole lot of thought, but I’ve seen enough in the two departments to believe there are major problems and it’s not just a few bad cops.

        2. Ron

          You could be right, but I’m not seeing enough in your reporting to conclude that.

          It is possible that those who have (historically) been attracted to police work generally do not fully support or see the value in the underlying goals that you’re suggesting (e.g., less focus on “authority”, and more focus on “de-escalation”).  But, I still don’t think we (as civilians) fully understand the nature and demands of the job.

          The changing nature of society (and ever-present cell phone cameras) are also uncovering areas of concern, which (no doubt) cause many police to feel “defensive” at this point in time.  (Ultimately, I suspect that police will end up appreciating and relying upon videos.)

          I cannot even imagine having to confront violent individuals as a police officer, and attempting to do so using the least amount of force.

        3. John Hobbs

          ” (and ever-present cell phone cameras) are also uncovering areas of concern, which (no doubt) cause many police to feel “defensive” at this point in time. ”

          Understandable, since so many get caught abusing their authority, assaulting citizens, plating evidence and committing murder.

          (Ultimately, I suspect that police will end up appreciating and relying upon videos.)”

          Then they should stop “forgetting to turn on” and otherwise disabling their body and dash cams.

        4. Ron

          John:  The ever-present use of cell phone (and other) cameras is a great development, and has allowed all of us to see what was previously hidden.  It will ultimately lead to better police work, and will help weed out the “bad apples”.

          But, I do suspect that many (good) police feel “under siege”, lately.  (Lots of people seem to hate them, and have zero appreciation for what they’re expected to do.)  Even when there’s video, some will only “see” what they already believe.

  5. Ron

    David:  “Ron: It was not in my reporting, it was a side comment that seems to have taken on a life of its own.”

    Ha!  (It’s always the “side comments” that create problems for anyone.)  🙂  (For the sake of my own amusement, I might start focusing more on it.)

      1. Ron

        Howard:  Point noted, although it does seem related to the article.

        On a more serious note, it might be difficult to state that “Calls for Police Accountability Are Not Akin to Cop-Hatred” if one brings up the possibility that an entire department (or more) should be condemned.  From an individual police officer’s perspective, that might be a “difficult sell”.  (Hence, the type of challenges that David experienced from a firefighter, described in his article above.)

        David does touch on some issues that deserve serious scrutiny, and which aren’t reported on elsewhere.  It takes some bravery to do so.

        1. Howard P

          David does touch on some issues that deserve serious scrutiny, and which aren’t reported on elsewhere.

          Heavy touch today… other than that I don’t disagree… mass destruction as to DPD… just can’t get there… have had many interactions with DPD over the years, most professionally… some personally with me and mine…

          5-10% should never have been on the payroll, and most of the ones I’m aware of were “encouraged” (read into that what you will) to depart, and they have… there may be others that I am not aware of… and perhaps they are getting similar “encouragement”… I hope so… if not, they should be subject to progressive discipline, or even termination.

          25-35% of those I dealt with directly are damn good (except, perhaps, with dealing with those seriously lacking within the Dept)… the rest are what I’d describe as good, but yes, they should be challenged to do better, and disciplined, let go, if they have “rot”…

          I do not opine on Sacto, as I’d neither know nor care enough…

  6. Tia Will

    Jim

    The “physician as demi-god” paradigm is still alive and well in non-Kaiser settings.”

    I agree that Kaiser is a special situation, however, I do see hope in the changing attitudes in the students and residents coming out of UCD and other training settings. I feel that gradually, the collaborative model will become the future of medicine….that is if practitioners are not replaced by computer diagnostics prior to full adaptation.

    I wonder if there is any thought of replacing police with robots in the future. Emotion would not be part of their paradigm and they would not be risking their lives. I Robot anyone ?

    1. Jim Hoch

      We are more likely to see robots replacing physicians before cops. They need less mobility and will more accurately implement best practices. They would also presumably not be programmed to prescribe drugs based on the attractiveness of the detail person.

  7. Alan Miller

    “If you’re a real man, you can take your gun away and you can fight me like a real man.”  At that point the officer charges towards the man, throws him to the ground, and punches him in the face repeatedly.

    Very important that we the people support the right of those with over-inflated egos to smash those who trigger their fragile personalities.

     

     

    1. Ron

      Does anyone know what subsequently happened with the investigation/officer, in that case?  That incident seemed like a perfect example of something that could have benefited from de-escalation techniques, vs. “obey my authority – or suffer the consequences”.  (Assuming that there was a reason to detain that person in the first place.)  It’s not up to the police to “punish” people. That incident was disgusting, and created harm beyond the individual who suffered the consequences.

      Something about that incident suggested to me that the young man wasn’t otherwise a threat.

       

      1. Ron

        Perhaps because he continued walking away from the officer, and did not make that statement until the officer threatened him, as I recall.  (Not obeying orders, but not particularly aggressive, either.)

        And then, to continue punching the guy. This is how you “create” anger in a community (and beyond).

        On a broader level, I sometimes wonder how police can successfully make or encourage someone to “obey” orders, without escalating the situation.

  8. PhilColeman

    OK, this is going to be a complete waste of my diminishing time left on this earth. But I’ll donate a half hour to TRY and show that we’ve been in the sun a bit too long during this heat wave. This will be a exercise in futility, add that to my stupidity and laziness as a very proud and profoundly satisfying career as a California Peace Officer.

    The illustrative confrontation at the urinal was with a FIREFIGHTER, not a police officer. No report has ever been published of the Davis Police expressing similar comments to David for the countless times they have been attacked in this venue. I do recall David saying his contacts with DPD, were judged as being judged as professional and courteous. Guess they were having a rare good day.

    Somebody, with no supporting evidence and presentation of objective witnesses, makes an allegation against the police. It’s accepted here on faith alone and then published, because, well because, that’s the norm.

    The accused police officer denies the allegation. We find the officer completely untrustworthy. So we order a several-thousand-dollar report to be made by and independent investigator (which, by the way, no such person exists). Whatever the report reveals, will be criticized for any/all findings that support the police action. Guaranteed.

    Forming a judgment for the disbanding of an entire police force based on a sample of people in court awaiting arraignment is hardly an objective analysis. Dare I say that a group of people who just ran afoul of the law might be a biased sample? There is a predisposed sentiment among many of you that a complaint against the police, unsupported, no documentation, nonetheless gets instant credibility. No attempt is made to first confirm the allegation(s). If they said it, it must be true.

    The individuals making the allegations are never vetted for credibility. The accused officers (who also just happen to be nice people too) are depersonalized, dehumanized, publicly judged as racists and told to leave town. No need for any investigation of these charges, we’ve already decided based on an, “understanding.” We’ll terminate an entire police force and consequences be dammed for the thousands of family who are told they no longer have a career. Thanks for your service, now there’s the door. Sounds reasonable.

    If that is not stereotyping the masses based on the substantiated actions of a (very) few, or it’s not profiling a particular sub-group, what is it? Why is only acceptable when applied to police, and nobody else?

    Disbanding a law enforcement agency, I have to say is original. Ignoring the fact that it’s illegal on may scales, let’s do that, since we’ve not given much thought to this notion so far.

    A rebuilding of an entire law enforcement agency, when police everywhere cannot fill the many vacancies they already have, how would you get several hundred NEW people to accept an extremely difficult task? We’ve already been told that police are lazy and stupid, so if that is the standard of eligibility, you’re sure to get many applicants. Then we’ll devise a plan where you can train these new officers so that they will go out into the neighborhood and not have any complaints lodged against them. The folks they arrest that are later interviewed in arraignment will sing the praises of the process that brought them there. Anybody with that training plan, can make hundreds of millions with it’s publication.

    Yeah, I know, the police are psychologically defective (despite being the only profession that requires a psychological exam as a condition of employment). They resent having their authority being questioned despite the fact that their exercise of authority happens every day. We say they are on power trips.

    And yet, that one crowd gathering that was lathered up for public throat slitting, want to know a little police secret. That type of confrontation is exceedingly routine. Folks get liquored up, drugged up, become boisterous, they really do.

    Want a few samples, because we know the police always lie? Sign-up for a weekend evening ride-along. Watch yourself what happens. You will see a stupid lazy police officer diffuse the situation to everyone’s satisfaction. It happens in all those literally thousands of incidents you never hear about. And the officer was calm, deliberate, and avoided provocations from those always present, who are, in fact, the the REAL power trippers.

    OK, done. Negative attitudes expressed here by police critics are double-welded at the seams. None of them will change. But maybe one person might just listen to these counterpoints and look for themselves instead of relying the on the baseless stories of other, or a hyperlink of an incident a thousand miles away. Maybe one person.

     

     

     

    1. Alan Miller

      But maybe one person might just listen to these counterpoints and look for themselves instead of relying the on the baseless stories of other, or a hyperlink of an incident a thousand miles away. Maybe one person.

      I’ll do it.

    2. Ron

      Phil:  “The folks they arrest that are later interviewed in arraignment will sing the praises of the process that brought them there.”

      Thought that was a pretty good sentence, and kind of amusing.

      Alan:  If you do go for a ride-along, hope you’ll share your experiences on the Vanguard (including whether or not it changes your perspective).  Maybe difficult to tell, during one ride-along.

  9. David Greenwald Post author

    Something seems to have misfired in this article.  This was not a commentary about Davis Police.

    You’ll note for example:

    This is an article tagged under Sacramento Region not City of Davis.

    Paragraph 11: “However, the problem I am having is that my interactions lately with police officers from across the region on social media platforms have been overwhelmingly negative. ”

    Are there problems with Davis Police Officers?  Yes.  We’ve highlighted some.  But I suppose the good news in a way is things are far worse across the causeway from what I’ve observed in the last year-plus.

    1. Jim Hoch

      David, regardless of your intent in writing the article I believe that the comments have disproven your thesis. There is a strong overlap between calls for Police Accountability and Cop-Hatred.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        There are clearly some people that hate cops. But most people I deal with who are pushing for oversight are closer to my views which are the necessity of police and dislike for abuse of power rather than hatred.

  10. John Hobbs

    ” (despite being the only profession that requires a psychological exam as a condition of employment)”

    Total fabrication there, Phil. Psych evals are used as part of the pre-employment requirements for almost all government research jobs and many other high-tech jobs. I’m guessing the medical profession uses them as well, eh Doc Tia?

    Law enforcement is the only employer I’m aware of that makes being too smart or too compassionate a red flag to employment.

    1. PhilColeman

      almost all government research jobs and many other high-tech jobs.” Note is made in my comment being a “total fabrication, no government agencies having this requirement was cited as example, at any governmental level or any jurisdictional boundary.

      “Almost all,” I think we can agree, is not all. California state law requires that every California police officer candidate, must submit to a psychological review as a pre-condition of employment.

  11. Tia Will

    Phil

    Dare I say that a group of people who just ran afoul of the law might be a biased sample?”

    I would agree with this statement. I would also agree that doctors are a “biased sample” with regard to process in the medical field and police are a “biased sample” with regard to police policy and procedure. This is simply stating that people have inherent biases. Police being considered “nice guys” does not change that basic fact.

    I believe that we should be judging the attitudes and actions of individuals, not an entire group, whether that is an entire police department from the civilian point of view, or an entire neighborhood such as a slum or ghetto from the police point of view.

  12. Tia Will

    I’m guessing the medical profession uses them as well, eh Doc Tia?”

    At the time that I was on the UCD medical school selection committee a million years ago, we did not do formal testing. I don’t know whether that has changed. However, what I would add is that medical school and residency serves as an eight year period of psychological fitness assessment as well as other skills and knowledge testing. I have seen a number of individuals early in their training fail to advance including one who was dismissed on the basis of egregious lying. I recall one case of a candidate for partner who was also rejected on the basis of temperament and willingness to lie and harass other physicians, so yes, psychologic fitness definitely comes into play. Many others have “self selected out” on the laudable basis that they knew that they were not psychologically prepared for the rigors of a surgical specialty and so choose alternative, less demanding programs.

  13. Claire Benoit

    Agreed. Except police brutality is not an exclusively black problem. Until American people acknowledge this; there will not be enough outcry for the problem to be ffixed.

    (Even IF statistics can suggest otherwise – I doubt honest ones would…; until it’s recognized as a national problem for ALL Americans; the majority of Americans are not going to be interested in correcting it enough to be effective. We are a nation of men and women, not gods).

    I suspect the drug testing of police isn’t where it needs to be either. With all the stress and injuries they sustain, i suspect they’re at high risk for opiate addictions among others…

    No one taking medication for any mental condition should be entrusted with the responsibility of being a policeman. That might hurt feelings but it’s only logical.

    Law enforcement is not an appropriate vocation for the majority of people. Screening should be tougher.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for