As I write, citizens in Cleveland are protesting yet another police shooting.
Sadly, the wrong members of the community receive the brunt of the blame. Vandals and troublemakers cause the problems, yet many in America are prepared to lay the blame at the feet of African American citizens. That blame is both misplaced and unfair.
Irresponsible media fan the flames. They mix editorial opinions and ideological pundits into their news coverage, a cheap parlor trick guaranteed to boost their revenues. They ignore root causes. Fed up with the nonsense, one Baltimore resident confronted an on-the-street Fox reporter on national television during a protest (which that network censored).
Without doubt the media, vandals, and a minority of cops all carry an equal share of blame in what is happening in our cites. So does racism, poverty, corruption and criminal behavior. But there is another culprit looming large.
President Obama’s recent Task Force and their report into 21st Century Policing point to one of the root causes of what we are seeing on our streets.
That culprit is police training.
A GUIDEBOOK FOR NEW COPS
Today my colleague, Gerard Cleveland, a former cop, a lawyer and law lecturer, and I completed a new book that responds to the problem of outdated and improper police training. It is called You In Blue – A Guidebook for New Cops. We wrote it as a guidebook for rookie cops and for those who train them.
The book includes chapters on academy life, street realities, intelligent tactical response, arming oneself with emotional training and the destructive issues arising from a warrior agenda.
We describe a method that academy directors and police leaders should have adopted long ago. We will be launching the book at the upcoming annual conference of the Police Society of Problem Based Learning in Madison, June 1-3.
Now is the ideal time to reconsider our broken training system.