OPINION: Change is Needed From the Top

ABOVE: From StockSnap on Pixabay (license)

A letter to the editor by Kathleen Strykowsky of Mount Laurel, NJ

I wholeheartedly support the concept of a police force needed to “protect and serve” the public, ensuring public safety. I recognize that the job entails expecting our police officers to risk their lives every day and not know if they will return safely to their families at the end of each shift. Because of that risk we allow them to use deadly force to protect themselves and others.

But there has always been a percentage of police that seek this job for the wrong reasons, not to protect us but to have power over us. Others become jaded and corrupted over time in an often thankless, dangerous job interacting daily with criminal citizens who hate them and wish them harm.

It is up to the command structure to ensure that our protectors do not feel above the law as judge, jury, and even executioner, that they respect the law and the public. Police officers that can’t commit to treating everyone fairly, and with the minimum necessary force to be safe, need re-training, or dismissal, or, ultimately, jail. This needs to be the standard expectation in every police force now. As stated by the Tennessee police chief: “If you wear a badge and you don’t have an issue with this (George Floyd’s death)… turn it in.”


Editor’s note: The opinions in this letter are the author’s only.

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