Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why we are afraid of the police: an education issue

I am not going to present any data because this is not a research article, and I am not going to take on the various police departments because it is not necessary. What I would like to do is just point out some obvious facts and ask: why?

How many of you smile and think ‘owe it’s only the cops” when you see a police car behind you, even if you are doing nothing wrong? I would wager that is an impossibly short list.

How many of you welcome the police into your home when they knock on your door? Again, I would say a very short list.

How many of you feel safe when the police around? Short list.

There seems to be a huge increase in videos depicting police brutality, and a large number of websites dedicated on what to do if you “encounter” the police. Incarceration is up, jobs are down, and it seems the police are increasingly adopting military tactics.

How did we come to the point where the people who we appoint to “protect and serve us” instead instill fear and apprehension? I have heard the argument from the police side about how “no one respects authority anymore”, but I have to disagree for a few reasons:

  • I certainly respect my parents who are authority figures in my life even now
  • I respect the mentors in my life

People respect authority when they are in turn, respected as human beings.

I could go on, but let me say that if only one tenth of all we see about police brutality is true, that is still a very high number. What does this tell our kids? How does that fit into a “civilized” society?

People are afraid of the police and for good reason. Even off duty law enforcement are not spared from police brutality it seems. Law enforcement needs to be educated on how to fit into society before it is too late, and fyi this is not a dig at law enforcement as much as I am pointing out obvious facts.
There is something wrong, and it is getting worse. Educators can help since part of our job is finding solutions.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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