I read in a “news” item recently that a local metropolitan police department was reviewing its “use of force” policy. The thought occurred to me, “you mean there is no general nationwide use of force policy that all departments agree with?” Apparently that would make too much sense. Who needs to have armed police forces across the country following consistent policies and practices state to state? Instead we have hundreds of police departments establishing and following their own criteria for when the police can cross the line and shoot people or beat people senseless for minor offenses.
Since use of force policies impact the lives of people, it would be prudent to develop a basic nationwide policy that all police departments adhere to. Develop a set of principles and implement them nationwide. Why is it necessary for each police department to develop locality based use of force policies?
In addition there are no national requirements for body camera use and which technology is best to use. The use of body camera technology also differs among police departments. One technology turns on the body camera when the police officers gun is removed from the holster. Finally only twenty six of the 50 states give de-escalation training to police officers.
It is highly likely that when hiring police the criteria that weed out the bad candidates is different depending on the criteria of each department. There is nothing to prevent a policeman or policewoman who resigns from one department from being hired by another department.
As you see there is a pattern of inconsistency. Having inconsistencies in an occupation where the employees carry weapons that can kill someone is not a good situation. Especially for those who are the victims. Once more and more people are victims of deadly mistakes by the police is when a call for action and consistencies will occur. It’s our human nature. Unless someone dies from a situation we do nothing. Let’s change course. We know what the problems are, so now let’s develop the solutions. It’s time for nationwide basic standards on use of force, hiring practices, and training of police.