• Katie Park 10th Northern Valley Old Tappan High

Police Reform: What the People Want

Today if you were to open your phone, you would quickly see the ongoing battle for

police reform and the open argument for and against the police. From October 2019 to October 2020, there have been 1,003 fatal police killings, a higher number than 999 from 2018-2019. The minuscule decrease in fatal shootings only increases the concern that the U.S. police force has made no change in its high number of kills.


As bizarre as it may seem, the idea of a U.S. police force is fairly modern. In the 1700s,

police were originally watchmen who would capture and return runaway slaves in the south. In the North, they were used to regulate and maintain immigration flow. It wasn’t until later that

they began to take on different responsibilities as the need for first-responders and emergency help grew. Today, police officers are the first line of defense in an emergency or dangerous situation for the citizens, and to serve their communities as regulators and law enforcement. However, recent and ever-growing events have led people to believe that the police force is in fact corrupt for their inability to complete their jobs in an objective and impartial way.


Police brutality has become an ever relevant subject in the news and rightfully so. Around 1,000 Americans die per year from police violence, and 99% of these cases do not ensue with criminal charges against the police despite being cases of unarmed and unprovoked deaths.

Unarmed Black Americans are 2 times more likely to be shot by police despite making up only

13% of the population, and most police shooting cases fall under the category of young males,

and Black Americans, and Hispanics. These statistics prove that minorities and people of color

tend to be targeted, despite making up much less of the population.


Statistics also show that police officers and those in law enforcement tend to be 2-4 times

more likely to partake in domestic violence; and former FBI agent Michael German has stated

that police officers are more likely to be involved in racist or bigoted social media content, white supremacist militant activities, and white supremacist groups. Police men also have an average IQs of 98.20, while the average IQ is around 100-110. It has also been seen that citizens with higher IQs do not pursue police careers, nor do they tend to be able to maintain such jobs as they will succeed their coworkers into higher work fields. Another concerning fact is that the only educational requirement to become a police officer is a standard highschool diploma and GED, and no other higher educational standards are needed. It only takes 13-19 weeks to become a police officer, while it takes an average of 7 years to become a lawyer. The question arises, why does a lawyer have to take 7 years to learn the law, so why does a police officer only need 13 weeks to learn and enforce it? Policemen are often in dangerous situations and emergencies, how

can it only take 13 weeks to properly enforce and legally take a course of action if a lawyer must take 7 years simply to learn the law to defend citizens? The clear issue with these factors is it that police officers are meant to remain unbiased and unprejudiced law enforcement, which creates a severe obstruction of justice when those who are meant to carry it out are clouded with ideas of racism and bigotry; and those who are meant to answer in emergency situations are those of minimum training and low academic standards.


After taking clear facts and evidence into account, it is obvious that police officers and

the police task force are in dire need of reform. The real question is, how can this come about?

Here are some ways that the police form can begin to reform, and how.

1. Higher requirements for becoming a police officer.


As of now, the requirements for becoming a police officer is simply a high school

diploma and enrollment in a police academy. Police officers should be going through more

thorough training for emergency situations that do not involve immediate violence, and should

also be required to have higher levels of education, such as degrees in criminology, law

enforcement, or criminal justice. These higher standards will help to eliminate those who are

unfit to carry out justice from entering the police force, and thus create a higher standard for

officers.


2. More background checks on those training to become police officers.

As stated earlier, a majority of police officers tend to be apart of racist or bigoted content

and groups. By doing more thorough and intense background checks, this will help to eliminate those with records of violence and racism; and thus prevent biased and those prone to causing violence into the police force.


3. Frequent investigations on police departments to avoid corruption.

By composing more investigations on police departments and requiring states to do

random and constant checks on police departments, any signs of corruption or violent tendencies can quickly be eradicated and put a stop to more brutality cases.


4. More accountability for police officers.

Police officers have something called Qualified Immunity, which means that they are

excused and protected under the law against prosecution and investigation. This is why police officers tend to get away with committing crimes, and rarely get charged with criminal charges even in clear situations. By eradicating or revising these laws, police officers will be forced to take accountability for their actions, which will stop the police force from committing crimes and walking free with their jobs, no fines, and no consequences.

Police reform seems like an impossible goal and unrealistic idea, but with societal

participation and federal aid, police reform is possible and can help to save thousands of lives

and stop corruption from further infiltrating America. Save our citizens, and contribute to police reform.

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