Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions prescribed its evaluation of improve agreements that are currently in place with a number of police districts throughout the country. Baltimore activist Kwame Rose wrote that with this action, Sessions essentially handed police permission to continue to target the black community.
This is an extremely troubling development that threatens to undermine any progress originated until now in tackling police use of force in Black communities. We cant stand mutely and tell Sessions turn back the clock.
The Trump era has led in unprecedented challenges that have caused communities to mobilize and has responded to assaults on many different breasts, including heath caution, immigrants and public education. Even with these attacks coming from all directions, an increased focus on proactive strategies for meaningful change around policing programs must remain front of mindespecially given Sessions announcement.
Put simply: this work must remain a top priority. We cannot afford to wait until the next misfortune to preach and push for policy change!
The safety of our communities depends on a astute policy agenda focused on reducing the use of excessive coerce by police as they engage with Black communities. We once have a blueprint for what the agenda items might look like. During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice gathered The Director Taskforce on 21 st Century Policing. In May 2015 that taskforce secreted a final report that evaluated various mainstays of good policing, with detailed recommendations included in each category.
In addition, advocacy and policy arrangements focused on this issue have compiled many astute strategies. The Advancement Project and PolicyLink published a report in October 2014, Beyond Confrontation: Community-Centered Policing Tools, that included seven strong principles for police improve 😛 TAGEND
1. Is transparency and Accountability
2. Invest in Training
3. Ensure Diversity
4. Proactively Engage Communities
5. Reject Militarization
6. Examine and Implement Good Models
7. Implement Technology and Tools for Oversight
But with Sessions now thoughts the Department of Justice, and particularly in view of his record on scoot and policing, it will be even more important for local, regime and national leaders to strongly preach for astute implementation of the recommendations of the presidential taskforce and those of advocacy groups working on this issue.
Its important to remember that additional burdens for change does not only rest with police. It is our civic responsibility to fight for safe and accountable policing in Black communities and to guided a conversation that catalyzes real policy change.
This starts with communities propagandizing elected leaders to address the realities that exist in those communities, and to set standards and practices that speak to the needs and appraises of official-language minority communities that police work in. It too must stand on a organization of trust that is built on strong relationships within the communities being served. In Baltimore, for example, the mayor, city council members, police commissioner, and citizens all patronage a improve agreementor acquiesce decreefor the citys police bureau. Though Sessions sought to delay it from going to get impact, a quarter law justice approved the decree on Friday, representing a winning for these communities. To move cities closer to needed improve, police need to be connected to the community and to reflect the values established by that community.
Reports highlighting answers can show us the way forward, but they cannot just live on a rack. Recommendations must be implemented for change to become real. We must propagandize Attorney general Time to switch course and to follow up on the recommendations once developedand call on our elected leaders to fund and enact change.
The push for safe and accountable policing is a life-or-death issue, and one that must remain a top priority going forward.
Diallo Brooks is the director of outreach and public commitment at Parties For the American Way.