A pattern of unnecessary aggressiveness and hyper-discriminatory policing is common throughout the United States. Baltimore has paid out $5.7 million since 2011 to settle 100 lawsuits ‘‘claiming that police officers brazenly beat up alleged suspects”. According to the Buffalo News on December 8, 2014, the continuous occurrence of unnecessary use of force by White police against Black people is not a recent problem. It is a reflection on a legally sanctioned law enforcement system that existed in America before the Civil war from 1861 to 1865. The law was to control the slave population and protect the interests of slave owners. The similarities between the slave patrols and modern American policing are too subtle to dismiss or ignore. Hence, the slave patrol should be considered a forerunner of modern American law enforcement. (Turner, Giacopassi, and Vandiver 2006. 186).
Kathy Lanier, Chief police officer at Washington DC is against the unnecessary use of force by the police. Not because of her gender as a woman, and therefore speaking from a point of empathy, but she claims that the zero-tolerance in policing has ruined positive relationships between police and residents of high-crime neighborhoods.
Lanier has this to say “… neighborhoods that have the most homicides and shootings are also the neighborhoods that have the most victims and witnesses. These are the people that can help you, that know what’s going on. We destroyed that relationship, and they didn’t trust us. So we are going back and completely undoing that strategy”.
As simple as Lanier’s words may sound, the strategy to restore the public’s broken trust in the police is as complex as the strategy needed to install high tolerance in the police system after the officers have completed the implicit bias training and crisis intervention training course.
Ironically, according to Athens News on July 15, 2020, Athens City Council member, Beth Clodfelter said she recently met with Tom Pyle, Athens Chief police officer, and was confident in what Athens Police Department are doing to hold officers accountable in combating racism and police brutality” due to the new APD’s “implicit bias training and crisis intervention training”. All this while, we taught the implicit bias training and crisis intervention training was part of the police training course in every state since the year 2018.
On similar account, San Jose police on May 29, 2020, shot their own implicit bias trainer, Derrick Sanderlin,an African American who has been training them for three years. Again, the Minneapolis police officer who murdered George Floyd has gone through the implicit bias training course for five years.
On these accounts, the Strategy to reinstall public trust in the police as outlined by Kathy Lanier is not as relevant as the strategy to ensure that the police are getting higher scores in the implicit bias training course if the officers are graded at all. This reminds us of a quote from Claudia Rankine, an American poet, and playwriter, “Because white men cannot police their imagination black men are dying”