Law enforcement officers have an undeniably difficult job and their lives are frequently in danger. As they have sworn to serve and protect, people ought to trust them for their safety. But while the overwhelming majority of police officers do their work with professionalism, there are some who mar the reputation of people in uniform.

Critics of law enforcement find allegations of police brutality and discriminatory behavior concerning.

Dara Lind of Vox analyzed FBI data from 2012. They found that US police kill black people at disproportionate rates. They accounted for 31% of the victims even when they just made up 13% of US population, highlighting the vast disparities in how law enforcers use force.

The reply from most in law enforcement will attribute these numbers to the level of criminal behavior by these same offenders, a number often overlooked.

The Vox report continued: “Some of these disparities are explained by socioeconomic factors — such as poverty, unemployment, segregation, and neglect by the police when it comes to serious crimes — that make black Americans much more likely to commit crime than their white counterparts. As a result, police tend to be more present in black neighborhoods — and therefore may be more likely to take policing actions, from traffic stops to arrests to shootings, in these areas.”

Prentiss Smith wrote an article regarding mutual respect between peace officers and citizens. His sweeping generalities may not be entirely accurate, but whether you agree or disagree with his view, it is worth noting:

They see them as objects and not as human beings. They are fearful of young black men, which is a problem.

There’s a default position by law enforcement when dealing with white and black men. For white, more often than not, they give a benefit of the doubt whereas for black, the default position automatically concludes that they are up to no good.

There’s an implicit bias evidenced by the disproportionate number of black men killed by law enforcement.

Implicit biases become explicit biases when it comes to young black men and law enforcement.

Law enforcement officers have to wear body cameras because trust has been lost between law enforcement and the black citizenry.

Law enforcement officers and beat cops, in particular, forget that they are sworn to protect and serve all of us regardless of the color and neighborhood we live in.

 

Multiple investigations by the media and the US Department of Justice have uncovered patterns of abuse and excessive use of force — particularly against black residents — all over the country.

While it’s true that a majority are good cops, it’s also true there are some who operate unethically.

Whether it’s face-to-face, or the virtual world, peace officers need to be above reproach so that no criticism with merit can be made. We will get picked apart even when everything is done correctly. There is no need to provide the anti-police crowd with evidence to brand us negatively.

LET has recently reported on the improper use of social media. This article may be difficult to digest, and many LEO’s have formulated retorts in their minds. But the single most important factor being relayed is to preserve the dignity of all people.

Naturally we deal with many people—of all national origins—whose actions do not deserve a civil response. But there is no need to fall into the gutters that we try to keep clean.