Community cooperation, not military equipment, is the best form of policing
mostly with impunity. The Guardian newspaper, which tracks such statistics, reported that police killed at least 258 black people in 2016, of whom 39 were unarmed.
The BBC reported in 2016 that the average number of police deaths from 2006 to 2015 was 49.6.
"There's a widespread perception in the American public, and particularly within law enforcement, that officers are more threatened, more endangered, more often assaulted, and more often killed than they have been historically. I think it's a very strong perception. People truly believe it. But factually, looking at the numbers, it's not accurate," the BBC quoted Seth Stoughton, a law professor at the University of Southern Carolina and former policeman, as saying.
Yet, both the National Fraternal Order of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association have been pressing for resumption of the transfer of military surplus to the police supposedly to ensure police safety.
On the other hand, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has accepted that law enforcement has historically played a role in the persecution of blacks and other minorities.
The Guardian reported in October 2016 that the Association’s president, Terence Cunningham, called on the police to understand the mistrust caused by officers being the “face of oppression” during a “dark side” of American history.
‘For our part,” Cunningham said, “the first step in the process is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”
The 124-year-old Association has about 18,000 members in several countries.
“Overcoming this historic mistrust requires that we must move forward together in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” Cunningham said. He ermphasized also that law enforcement is a “noble profession” and that over the years thousands of officers have “laid down their lives for their fellow citizens.”
But such reasonable comments are lost in the inflammatory rhetoric of Trump and his administration.There is good reason for it.Policing can be used to keep the peace through mutual respect between officers and citizens or it can be an instrument of oppression.
While the ordinary police officer goes about his or her duties of keeping the peace and then returning home to their families, their neighbors and their communities, the tactics and actions of those in Washington with an ulterior agenda can only make their work more difficult.
In the year 2017, African Americans are not about to allow Trump or Sessions or any other person to extend the neo-slavery of mass incarceration into militarized occupation of their communities. For, rest assured, in the final analysis, that is the end game of this making America safe again and the “war on crime.”