What happens after the police are reformed?
By Dan Klein
The country is in a frenzy of police reform movements. The reforms range from defunding and abolishing police departments to making law enforcement more standardized through policies and statutes. These reforms, whatever shape they take, will continue to draw headlines until mayors can no longer blame the rise on crime on the COVID pandemic. On that day you will see a whiplash action of the same people who demanded police reform, demanding that police are not doing enough.
Politicians and media pundits will forget that they complained long and loud about American policing and will be complaining long and loud about how American police are not doing enough to curb a crime epidemic. That’s how the world works, it’s a crazy place.
Whatever reforms happen, they must include ALL federal law enforcement, and specifically those federal law enforcement officers who work under the Department of Justice. As I have written at length before, the DOJ does not require their agents to work under the same policies and procedures that they demand of local cops. FBI agents still do not always record their interviews, even though a DOJ memo from July of 2014 recommends that they do. Many DOJ divisions do not wear lapel cameras, to name just a couple policies that the DOJ wants for local cops but not for their own cops (source Washington Post). Any true reform to American law enforcement MUST include that the DOJ abide by the same rules that local cops have to live with. It’s all law enforcement.
Just recently the DOJ began allowing local cops assigned to DOJ task forces to wear body cameras (if their local department requires it). For years the DOJ civil division would demand that local officers wear and record their activities, only to tell those same cops to “turn it off” if they were about to film the law enforcement activities of federal agents. The hypocrisy is stunningly obvious, but no one would ever call the DOJ out on it.
With police reform in the headlines, it is now time to shout loud and long that the DOJ is no more special than the local police department. It’s time for President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland to order all DOJ law enforcement officers to abide by the same rules as local cops. The FBI must record all of their interviews and the U.S. Marshals must record all of their arrests, for example. All law enforcement in America must work off the same set of rules, it’s what reform means.
Another issue that must be faced by all of the country is, what happens when police are reformed, but we still have 7-year-old children being gunned down in a McDonald's drive thru at 4 p.m. in the afternoon? Little Jaslyn Adams was that child, murdered on April 18 in a McDonalds parking lot while waiting for her happy meal. Two assailants approached the car she was in with her father and pumped 45 bullets into it, striking Jaslyn at least seven times, at 4 p.m. A Chicago police officer responding to the scene, rushed Jaslyn in his police car to the hospital in an attempt to save her life, sadly she died. As of today the assailants are not in custody and I haven’t witnessed any nationwide marches with social warrior activists shouting her name. Jaslyn Adams.
What happens after police reform when we still have 16-year-old kids stabbing other kids and forcing a police officer to choose between using deadly force or not acting? This happened on April 20 in Columbus, Ohio. In the video it’s obvious that the 16-year-old girl was going to kill the person she was stabbing and that the police officer acted to save the life of the person stabbed. But that didn’t stop protests from erupting and more calls to defund or abolish the police. Would these same social justice warriors protest if the officer had done nothing, or tried something less than deadly force, but it didn’t work and the victim is gutted right on lapel video while the officer watched? Is there any way to please these social justice protesters? For most of them, along with their media pundits and political hacks, the answer is, no, the police can never do anything right.
What happens to police reform when we have a multi-mile running gun battle from Westgate to the South Valley, where the target car finally crashes and the offenders from the other vehicle get out and brazenly pump more bullets into the already dead bodies inside the wrecked car? Will citizens start to swing the pendulum back and demand more stringent, forceful policing? This happened in Albuquerque the evening of April 19. Media reports that the gunfire at the vehicle started at 98th and Gibson and ended when the car crashed miles away at Arenal and Coors. Is this going to be the new norm in Albuquerque and across the nation? That we blame the police for being too heavy handed, but wait, as crime continues to explode those same people will blame the police for not stifling crime. For the police officer it’s a no-win situation which is beginning to play out in communities like Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Albuquerque, who can’t hire nor retain even the basic number of police officers.
No one wants to be a cop in this country anymore, can you blame them?
So remember to include the Department of Justice in your police reform and when you get sick enough of crime in your community, maybe we can find a middle ground to demand better policing but to also support and stop demonizing our police.