Saturday, December 03, 2016
Police protection is the civil rights issue of our time
We saw it in Ferguson and again in Dallas.
Every citizen has the right to an effective police department, but law enforcement is stuck in the mindset of the 20th Century, with more and more money being poured into government police agencies with results continuing to deteriorate.
And those who are hurt the most are the people who are living in pockets of poverty throughout the nation. Their crime rates continue to increase no matter how much money we spend.
With that in mind, I propose a complete rethinking of policing to give all Americans access to the protection they deserve.
One way to improve police departments would be to hold them accountable for their results. If a department is determined to be failing based on statistics, provide it with options- either shut down the department or replace all of its officers.
Now that would improve law enforcement.
Why shouldn't people have a choice in what kind of police department they have. Instead of shoveling tax money into one police department for each city, why not provide taxpayers with options?
Instead of just calling 911 and having the same police department responding to emergencies for everyone, how much better would it be if we provided each family with vouchers and allowed them to provide for their own protection?
You would still have the option of putting your money into the traditional government police department, but you could also use your money to pay for a private for-profit security business, a virtual police run entirely online, or maybe even put all of your money into home policing and buy your own weapons, alarm systems and whatever else you need.
Consider the possibilities if we were to take away the restraints and the bureaucratic shackles that have kept police departments from trying innovative methods of protecting the public. What if we could put our tax money into operating a series of charter police departments that would not have to abide by the rules that currently hamstring government police agencies?
How much better would it be if police departments didn't have to follow all of those laws and it they could operate without any public scrutiny?
The biggest problem we have is the number of unqualified police officers in this country. We have too many burned out officers who are just out there to collect a paycheck. Why not offer energetic, capable college students an opportunity to train for six weeks, strap guns on them, and head them out into the streets? We could call it Police for America.
And perhaps it is time to put all decisions on policing in the hands of a few billionaires who know more about it than any of the rest of us.
Let's get real.
No politician would ever propose anything like that. My "proposals" would be a recipe for disaster.
Yet the same proposals are presented quite seriously as cures to the problems facing education in this country.
We will soon have a Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, whose family has spent millions pushing educational vouchers and charter schools. The DeVos family also created the strategy of labeling public schools as "government schools." You will be hard pressed to find any record anywhere of anything Betsy DeVos has done to help a public school.
With our president-elect already boosting charter schools and decrying the state of education, we should expect to see all of the solutions I proposed above being applied to education.
Under the Trump-DeVos program, parents will be able to put tax money into private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools with little or no regulation of the product they are receiving since Trump has told us over and over that government regulations are holding us back.
The groundwork for this has been laid by decades of blaming all of the problems facing education on "bad teachers." If we could just fire all of the bad teachers and take away their tenure protection, education would magically improve and teachers from the Teach for America program can enter classrooms with just six week of training and be able to perform as well as veteran teachers.
Come next month, we will have a president who has never had any connection to public schools and who has selected a secretary of education who has made destroying public schools her life's mission.
Those who support public education have every reason to fear what is about to be unleashed on this nation.
And who's to say that somewhere down the line, someone is going to realize the money that could be made by privatizing police departments.
Surely Trump can find some dilettante billionaire who could run the Department of Homeland Security.