Gangs of Blue
        June 9, 2015--Christian Commentaries

1 Corinthians 3:13-15(KJV) 13} Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14} If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15} If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

We arm them and provide training

They take advantage of this free training, in every area except how to deal with the public. In this area there is no need -- they own us!

Aside from the beatings and random killings of members of the public, they major in extortion. Perhaps you have noticed the yearly or quarterly phone solicitations from authorized representatives of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers or the Fraternal Order of Police, as a "thank you" for your support we're going to send you an attractive IBPO bumper sticker as a way of recognizing you for your contribution and letting our officers honor those who have helped us in the past.

1104 citizens killed by police 20141. Not a single police officer was charged. And with good reason; in the Fall of 2014 a after reviewing the police shooting of an unarmed man the Phoenix, Arizona district attorney informed a police union attorney that she was considering filing murder charges against the officers involved. Within weeks she was the subject of a Police Department investigation. This is the same district attorney who had found insufficient evidence to prosecute after police officers shot Christopher Torres in the back three times in while being held down in his own back back yard by non-uniformed officers in dark glasses and biker gear. The officers had approached Christopher for questioning and were not aware that he suffered from Schizophrenia.2

The Washington Post reports that in the first five months of 2015, police have fatally shot 385 citizens. 20 women, 365 men. Only three officers charged. The trend continues.3

You are not safe. There are too many of them. Outside of your safe neighborhood they might not recognize you as a member of the protected group, they might see you as "them;" and you would be subject to the wrath normally visited upon the poor and downtrodden. You can no longer assume you are safe because of your race, neighborhood, or class. They are too empowered. Drunk with power they regard even you lightly. 4

Although virtually all police departments ascribe to community models that encourage officers to embed themselves into the communities they serve so that they are recognized as a resource to help prevent crime, law enforcement officers often live as far as 30 miles away from the communities they police. With such great distances between their residences and the communities they police, it is difficult to not have an us versus them mentality.

The recent rash of attacks on police officers is not the way to go. We can never meet illegitimate force with illegitimate force, even if we could win. But we can't. Don't forget, we trained and equipped them with the best weaponry in the world. There are better ways.  

Their brutality, disrespect to the pubic and widely reported corruption are not new problems. They have only been recently made visible by the abundance and use of cameras on cell phones, this revelation to the greater public of what minority groups have known all along, that police departments are inherently corrupt. A young recruit joins a family when he joins any police force. And the recruit innately knows to protect his or her family. It is no different than joining any gang. No matter what you do, do not let your partner down, you do not let the family down. No matter how far conduct strays from initial ideals you're in the Army now and nothing can be allowed to destroy that Army. And eventually the protected conduct is your's. Everything is justified with the belief that your gang is the good one and is superior to the public and every other gang.

But what has revealed the problem can also provide a solution. Mandatory wearing of operation body cameras for every officer on duty. Uninterrupted camera and audio capture and review of every action while on duty, with no one having the authority to deactivate the camera or erase recordings until reviewed5. Body cameras provide us a way to ensure that established policy and procedure is carried out in a manner that is courteous and respectful to all citizens and they provide a modicum of oversight for individuals who are other wise operating independent of supervision. And they provide to police officials what is increasingly and somehow surprisingly being provided by cell phone camera. And we cannot allow them to diminish this tool with claims of officer rights.  There has got to be a better way.

1., Killed By Police 2014

2. Your Son Is Deceased, The New Yorker, February 2, 2015

3. Washington Post, Sunday, May 31, 2015 Killed

4. First They Came - Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me -

5. The only exclusion to wearing of body cameras would be under-cover officers. And permission would have to be obtained before recording in a private residence.

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