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Accountability

The continuing and tragedy of questionable police shootings has generated much noise and consumed many hours of cable TV news bandwidth. I have learned to click past the expert-of-the-moment who seems to enjoy the sound of his or her own voice. Things have to change! Fire the rascals! March! Shout! Book another guest!

There is something missing from this all, a solution. I would prefer to listen to how the issues of 1) police officer selection, training, and supervision and 2) accountability, both for police and prosecutors.

Under the current political and legal system these are all issues for local elected officials and their voters. States generally set standards for police training, but it is the local jurisdiction that chooses to hire an officer and chooses how he or she is to be supervised. How is a voter in San Francisco or a stalled commuter in Seattle expected to influence these issues in Missouri or Ohio? It is the same for any accountability system that purportedly reviews and deals with police misconduct. Accountability is further complicated by the power vested in police bargaining units by collective bargaining laws. You want to change the accountability system? You have to talk to those being accounted for.

At one time things like race discrimination in the workplace, race discrimination in public accommodations, and race discrimination in voting rights were all deemed private and local matters, not the business of the federal government. Then things changed, very slowly and with much opposition. Is this what is needed for police accountability?

Until I start hearing some concrete solutions to the issues of police performance and accountability I will feel bad for the families and those involved, but I will find something else to watch.

#politics #justicesystem #civilianoversight #television #guns #government #lawenforcement

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