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  • Virginia Tolles

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS


The problem isn't that we have policemen. It is that we need to take a fresh look at what today's police work entails and reorganize the system so that it meets the needs of that work.


For many years, we have viewed policemen as super heroes. Superman leaped "over tall buildings in a single bound." McGarrett scaled Diamond Head like a mountain goat, a Capricorn goat, at that. His actor's namesake, Jack Ryan, defeated the Communist Party from the basement of his Chesapeake Bay home.


Not so in real life. Real policemen are shot for no reason other than the fact that they wear the uniform. By the same token, homeless people are beaten for no reason other than the fact that the only racks their clothes come from are the racks on the shopping carts they push. We have to ask ourselves "Why?"

There are probably many reasons, but one reason stands out above the rest: Anger. The people are angry! The people for whom the system does not work, those who don't have the degrees that garner the jobs with good salaries. Those who live in constant danger, whether in uniform or on the street. And, more recently, those who have been sent home to distance themselves from a virus no one seems to know very much about . Anger! Yes! The people are angry!

And frightened. As businesses close, the people ask how they are supposed to put food on the table and pay the bills. The cost of living has been so high for so long that savings accounts are minuscule, at best (except for the privileged few). It doesn't take long before the mortgage company comes for the keys to the house, the loan company comes for the keys to the car, and the pantry is bare.

The people can't beat up the mortgage company or the loan company, and so, they beat up the poor, helpless man in the street. It is almost as if, with each blow thrown, they are crying out, "Don't think I'm going to become like you!"

Enter the policeman who has seen too much, already, and strikes even harder blows, until both the frightened citizen and the war-weary policeman have committed murder. What can be done? Group counseling is a good start.


The people pull together, vent their anger and fear, and start to formulate ideas for surviving. In years past, they have formed victory gardens. Jurisdictions can allow the creation of tiny house communities. Actually, the jurisdictions can do more than allow them; they can set guidelines for resident associations to ensure the communities don't become undesirable.


The police meet after stressful incidents to relieve their pent-up emotions. Already, they have mandatory counseling for officers who shoot and kill someone. What about amending that to "all stressful incidents"? What about holding the counseling session as soon as the affected officer returns to the precinct? Will success come overnight? No. It takes time to see the results, but without a start, the results will never be seen.

Think about it. Then, brainstorm for ways you can put forth these ideas to your friends, families, and even police departments. We need local problem solving. Leave Washington in Washington. It has enough problems of its own without sticking its nose in our business.


Read more about it here:

Victory Gardens. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/dining/victory-gardens-coronavirus.html.

Police Officer Mental Health. https://cops.usdoj.gov/RIC/Publications/cops-p371-pub.pdf

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