Misguided Truth on Why to Defund the Police and Establish Police Reform

June 12, 2020

There’s a growing group of nonconformists who believe Americans can survive without law enforcement as we know it. And some Americans believe, may even be better off without it. This is misguided. It is an emotional response to a mob mentality.

The solution to police brutality and racial inequalities in policing is simple, supporters say: Just defund police. But that is wrong. However, I do agree that it is a simple solution: Police Officers need to start public campaigns and protests to share how the police departments use intimidation tactics to threaten their officers to enforce laws, curfews, social distancing ordinances, etc that erode the moral fabric of society and create a devise divide between the police and the public as a whole. How when an officer wants to stand up against their department, they are told, “That the job has a funny way at getting back at officers like you.” I know cause it happened to me in my law enforcement career with the NYPD. Officers with a family, real bills, health care necessities and in need of a job are left hopeless and trapped. Reforming the establishment and seeking approval for progressive thinking strategies on how an officer can do his job better is like trying to change the current of the ocean with a cup. We as a society have advanced our businesses with the utilization of technology, so why is the upper hierarchy of police departments remained antiquated, out of touch with modern day society and barriers to reform.

I have been a officer and have talked with numerous officers from various departments across the country. Protesters and activists are stating that the protests are no longer about George Floyd, that they are about sending a message to the police that the black community is not afraid of the police, that together they will stand up to the police intimidation tactics as they allege. That the solution to police brutality and racial inequalities is to defund the police and force police reform.

Perhaps the rank and file of officers should take note and follow the protesters lead, standing up to their departments, affording the public the opportunity to know and understand what its really like to be a police officer. The blue wall of silence is a double edge sword and its time to turn over the sword to utilize the other blade. To start public campaigns and protests to share how the police departments use intimidation tactics to threaten their officers to enforce laws, curfews, social distancing ordinances, etc that erode the moral fabric of society and create a devise divide between the police and the public as a whole. How police departments find themselves the defendant of Equal Employment Opportunity claims and Fair Labor Standards Act suits brought against them by their officers. If they were treating their officers fairly then these actions wouldn’t exist.

1. How it is drilled into officers heads from day 1 of the academy that if they don’t follow an order or the department guidelines they are fired. So humility and discretion are instantly removed out of fear that the officer will loose his/her job.

2. Departments instruct officers to arrest suspects and let the courts figure it out because if the officer tries to figure it out on their own and is wrong they are disciplined and or lose their job. So practically every situation must be an arrest situation or removal of someone to a hospital or child services or shelter, so when the public calls the police the interaction is always ending badly for someone.

3. How the departments hire 21 year old officers whom may have achieved high grades in college but never held down a job so they posses no life experience and expect them to be a role model, a social worker, a priest, a counselor, a fireman when necessary, a tour guide, a psychiatrist, a humanitarian, a medical worker (rendering first aid or delivering a baby) all the while standing tall while impartially enforcing the law. The officer is asked to run toward the danger or gunshots and engage a subject that is threatening the officer’s or another person life and make a millisecond decision that will be Monday morning quarterbacked by all and may result in the taking of someone’s life or the officer going to jail for a millisecond decision that others will have months if not years to pontificate over.

4. Most of the training they are given is to limit liability on their department. Classroom training is mostly academic with no requirement of practical hands on demonstration. The officers just watch a movie or listen to a lecture and sign a book that they attended the training. Many departments train officers to shoot from a static position during the daytime in ideal weather scenarios. That’s just not how it is. A gunfight is never static always moving and there are always factors to consider such as innocent bystanders, weather, time of day, season…is the officer wearing a jacket that impedes movement, etc. Futhermore most the negative police interactions that have lead to deaths have been from physical confrontations whereas officers had to go hand to hand. Well many departments have only one day of actual live boxing against an opponent and both are in sweats and the boxing totals 20-30 seconds. Talk about real life scenario to prepare officers. How about wearing an entire police uniform showing the officers controlling techniques that they must demonstrate proficiency in and be able to properly restrain a resisting suspect in a one on one scenario to avoid the videos we see of multiple officers on one suspect. If they can restrain the suspect they can continue if they can’t they are unfit and fail out of the academy. Same concept if you ever watched the Guardian with Kevin Costner as a rescue swimmers and they show the trainee in the water trying to save a drowning subject that is resisting being assisted. Problem with this ideology is that Departments would loose half their police forces since they would fail.

5. Many departments require physical standards to get hired but none to maintain your employment. A physical and proficiently in firearms and restraining a suspect one on one should be a requirement. Too often you see officers that look as if they will split their pants if they bend over. Come on whose that officer going to chase or how is he going to run up the stairs after someone.

4. Departments force officers to work excessively long hours with little sleep or care regarding the wellbeing of the officers as they have to commute home after multiple long shifts. Unlike the national guard or troopers that get brought into an area to lend assistance and are lodged at a local hotel to avoid a tired trooper driving home and given per diem local municipalities officers have to commute home up to an hours to two hours because they can’t afford to live within the areas they police. As a matter in point when a federal employee or contractor has to travel over 50 miles he/she by law is entitled to lodging and per diem. I had a young officer I work with fall asleep after one of these long shifts while driving home over an hour away and crash resulting in his death.

The joke is when Departments hire think tanks to come in an perform an audit and validate their training and policies, the think tanks assessments are always bias in favor of the department paying them to do the assessment since their is no one on the assessment team from the rank and file or the email eta on assigned is someone the department can control by meaning a cream puff assignment.

In summary there’s a gap between training, departments message to their officers, the manner of how they want their officers to enforce laws and what really happens out on the street our intention should be to narrow that gap.

As a senior executive of Strategic Security Corp. (SSC), a WBE, MBE, SDVOB founded in 2002, a nationwide integrated solutions provider with 7 regional offices, 56 branch offices and over 3,500 employees specializing in Guard Services, Emergency Response, Labor and Civil Unrest, Integrated Technology, AI and Temporary Life Support Facilities, Strategic has recognized the potential results of the deep state of de-policing all corporations across every industries and the nation as a whole faces.

This social movement of de-policing derives in part from the media’s narrative of police misconduct and wrongdoing, making people feel as though it became socially acceptable to challenge and discredit law enforcement actions. A study by the FBI titled “Analyzing the State of U.S. Policing,” asserted that these circumstances have demoralized police officers, causing them to do less—an issue commonly referred to as “de-policing.”

Ever since Ferguson in 2014, de-policing has been defined in terms of “dissent shirking,” where not working serves as an emotionally led form of silent protest. Now in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the Black Lives Matter, reform and or de-fund the police movement across the nation is creating even bigger risks to all corporations across every industries and the nation as a whole faces. One has to ask themselves: “If I call 911, will someone come?” “If someone comes will they actually do anything or be afraid to take action due to the potential consequences in doing so?”

SSC has developed a progressive and extensive training program for its officers that is not only academic but incorporates high stress hand on practical training as well to protects in excess of 1,972,000 man-hours a year and assists organizations proactively by anticipating and managing risk which can transform workplace issues, such as employee safety, community relations, operational risk and emergency preparedness into opportunities for growth and improvement.

Police are still needed despite the mass exit of officers due to service retirements or wave of current resignations. However, there are several functions performed by police officers that can be outsourced to private security affording tax payers considerable savings. That is why public-private partnerships are necessary.

So why would anyone want to be a police officer.

Simple there are still some that take tremendous pride putting a badge on their chest, standing tall in the face of adversity, being the sheepdog to watch over his flock to ensure their security and safety so that they may never be witness to the horrible side of mankind.

Some that when they hear words such as values, honor, tradition they mean much more than words to them.

Some that don’t care about how many medals are on their chest rather that they are paid the highest tribute by their co-workers of being referred to as “The Real Police,” not a Koolaid drinker. Some that being a police officer isn’t a job it’s a calling. A calling to serve and to be in service to others.

Some that when they respond to a call in a low income minority community of a 6 year old girl whose mother is crying that her daughter is complaining of pain in her private area after a visit with her father whom had his buddies over, thinks of his own little girl and doesn’t stop until the father is arrested. Then, the next day gets stopped and threatened of disciplinary action by police supervisors for shopping on duty which is prohibited and is willing to be “guilty as charged,” since he was purchasing the same doll his daughter liked and dropped it off to the 6 year old assault victim. The officer was then followed out by the uncle whom stated to the officer he just got out of jail after 5 years and hates cops, but after what the officer did for his niece, he’d be willing to help an officer out that was in trouble. That’s what I believe real policing is.

Let the misguided racial, ethic, police reform and de-funding outcries be directed not at the officers themselves that grew up in your community, are your friends, neighbors, little league coach, fellow parishioner and that are just as outraged as you; but at the departments that force their policies, procedures, lack of training and enforcement directives upon you. Regardless of whether any de-policing effect results from dissent shirking or fear of public scrutiny, if officers become less engaged in proactive duties, de-funded or disbanded all together—including community policing, targeted crime suppression, and investigative inquiries, among other activities—crime will increase.

 

Joseph Sordi

SVP, Strategic Security Corp

Retired NYPD