The Politics of Policing

As we are on the cusp of a new era in Eureka politics, as a frequent critic of our police force, I’d like to entreat those on the left to have empathy for our peace officers.

Why?  The impetus is political.  It’s very clear what a political loser it is to attack our police force with monotonous anger.  We have a tough enough time as liberals or progressives dealing with the inevitable return of the Taxed Enough Already crowd with the powerful elite, we don’t need to donate political capital by alienating an important and necessary function of government.

While the impetus is political, the reason we should be very concerned about tone is … it’s the right thing to do.  I’m not saying we forget about the clear inequity in justice, what I’m saying is we approach real problems civilly, in a way that will not encourage the frequent voter to revert to their political camps while further alienating the non-voter/non-public institution participator.

What is clear in Eureka is this a) we have an outsized and growing crime problem.  b) our police force has a very poor record of public safety.  As their boss, we the public have to find ways to optimize their performance, which I hope we would all agree could be improved.

How do we do this?  a)  Have empathy for those serving and the extremely hazardous and thankless job they have.  If you don’t have a family member on the force or in military service, imagine if they were.  b)  We need to pressure our new City Council to be fair but firm in shaping our public institution of law enforcement – there does need to be accountability, especially when we have a history of problems and a large portion of the population that feels the police is working against their interests.  The latter are not just the criminals.  c)  Somehow, someway, we need to be reaching out for outside help to include other communities that have faced or are facing similar problems, umbrella non-profit groups and our state and national legislators – we have a very serious and legitimate problem and we need help and we shouldn’t be shy about asking for it.

Councilwomen Elect Bergel and Arroyo got the balance of the politics of policing right and it was essential to get them elected (at least in Kim’s race).  Without having spoken to them, I’m going to assume that they, more than their opponents, would understand the necessity of keeping our police force accountable to all of us, not just those cheering them on.

What I’m going to do (inshallah)…

a)  Spend some time on writing a letter to Congressman Huffman and our new Democratic State Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood.

b)  Understand where we stand –  with the power of 2nd amendment conservatives and the almost fetish status the Right has with law enforcement and the military – we have to take important steps that i) are possible and ii) will undoubted help future activists.  I think this starts by instituting a means of keeping standardized statistics.  It’s simple, powerful, undeniable, and will help to us to understand how public safety varies from community to community.

c)  Keep pressure on our City Council to understand the politics of policing and to help them to manage our law enforcement appropriately.  I don’t think anyone would disagree, even our officers, we have plenty of room for improvement in 2015 and beyond.

Resources?  Do You Know of Some?

Via Tuluwat Examiner on Politico:  What I Did After Police Killed My Son

  •    This is the type of cause calling out for a liberal alternative to ALEC.  We need such a group’s help so these small victories can be repeated.


Got to love this from their “about” section:

“The American Legislative Exchange Council works to advance limited government, free markets and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.”

I guess they are to non-partisan what HumCPR is to non-political.

One thought on “The Politics of Policing

  1. MOLA42 says:

    I agree the argument has often been “us” vs. “them” (us poor down trodden community vs. them insane cops — or — us defenders of the right and good vs. them insane hippie tweeker liberal shopping cart thieves who will only be pleased with total anarchy).

    That approach will not get anyone anywhere except to right where we are right now.

    It must be acknowledged that there are “police haters” out there. But we do need to put some distance between those who will never by happy with the necessity of society having a police force and those who want a BETTER police force.

    This cannot be a good position for the line officer to be in. Perhaps (I hope in most cases) new police officers leave the Academy thinking now they can do some good in the world; only to find the world hates them because their superiors hold values the line officer does not necessarily share. It leads to stress which leads to unfortunate happenings when the over stressed also carry weapons.

    It really should not be about liberals vs. conservatives. It should be about effective community based policing vs. the train wreck which the EPD is currently.

    Thank you LJ for today’s article.

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