by: Tristan McCallister
Policing in America has obviously come under extremely hot water recently as protests and demonstrations raged throughout the summer and in the later months of 2020. Police distrust has skyrocketed and officers have begun to leave departments across the country at alarming rates. According to Fort Worth Police Officer Association President Manny Ramirez there was a 60% drop in the number of applications to police departments nationally. (Rozier, 2020) Due to these events, policing is becoming increasingly dangerous, as of July 13, 2020 there was a ”28% jump in felonious officer deaths.” (Hutchinson, 2020). So it is important to note that while there is much need for reform, police don’t really have much reason to flow with public opinion, because public opinion largely doesn’t seem to fall on their side. Looking back at the general flow of police history from the political model, to the reform model to what is seen today in community oriented policing, the development of COP during the reform era of the 60s devalued the legalistic idea of crime control. In turn this prompted citizens and police to “develop new strategies and methods to respond to crime and order-maintenance problems.” The professionalization of police seen in this period also went hand in hand with the development of police unions in the 1960s. (Novak, Cordner, Smith, & Roberg, 2009) Perhaps the reforms of 40-60 years ago did not go far enough, or perhaps it is time to update policing to the trends of increasing mental health issues, the decriminalization of drugs, sex crimes and other order-maintence crimes. So, there is potential for a new much needed era of police reform and it appears America may be entering it, if not in its full swing currently. There are thousands of reforms that can transform American policing and many involve revolutionizing training or education or use of force policies, etc. Changes in training and education are vital steps for any changing profession and they are reforms that have been made in policing before, and perhaps need to be made again. But, the promotion of a nationally mandated use of force database, transparency encouraging civilian review boards, and safe alternative crisis intervention teams for the mentally ill are reforms that have never really been instituted before recently and they work to address the problems of accountability, transparency, and safety.