I believe that the most important role of police is to protect the public. We have let police policy escalate to the use of deadly force in the blink of an eye during a confrontation with potential suspects often for reasons that do not resonate with us.
It is a mistake when police harm an unarmed person and a horrendous atrocity when an unarmed person is killed by police, whether by gun violence or bullying. These must be recognized as failures in policing policy. It is obvious that when a gun is drawn and the decision to fire is made, it is always shoot-to-kill. This way of operating has not served us well.
We need a new covenant. Let us resurrect the role of police as peace officers. A peace officer means one who can confront a situation and defuse the tension. It is time to reserve and relegate violent deadly force by police to the last option — not one of the first. This is not an easy job. But this is what is needed, with a primary goal of avoiding injury and/or death to any person or to any suspect.
To that end, let us entertain a new way of policing in which most peace officers no longer carry a holstered gun. Let them have camera, radio, spray, taser and stick. They can call for back-up when needed. Let us have the police back on the side of their community.
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