Moms of Law Enforcement Officers
(Moms of L.E.O.)
We need to get involved by sharing our thoughts on the relationship between law enforcement and the communities we serve and protect. Like a lot of things in life, the relationship is complicated as people view the police not as allies and have little to no respect or gratitude. We simply must find ways to see each other more clearly. And part of that must involve collecting and sharing better information about encounters between police and citizens, especially violent encounters.
Demographic data regarding officer-involved shootings is not consistent. The first step to understanding what is really going on in our communities and in our country, is to gather more and better data related to those we arrest, those we confront for breaking the law and jeopardizing public safety, and those who confront us. Without data information, we cannot understand our communities and how to make it better.
How can we address concerns about “use of force,” how can we address concerns about officer-involved shootings if we do not have a reliable grasp on the demographics and circumstances of those incidents? We simply must improve the way we collect and analyze data to see the true nature of what’s happening in all our communities. We cannot fully track the number of incidents in which force is used by police, or against police, including non-fatal encounters, which are not reported at all.
We need to obtain facts so we can make informed discussions to help us make sound policy and sound decisions with that information. We simply must speak to each other honestly about all these hard truths. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “We must learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.”
We all have work to do, hard work, challenging work and it will take time. We all need to talk and we all need to listen. Relationships between public safety and communities require work. Let’s start seeing one another for who and what we really are. We all need to practice peace, security, and understanding are worth the effort.
How can police improve relations within diverse communities and how can authorities aggressively tackle crime in the communities they serve without infringing upon residents' rights?
1. Recognize the importance and need of improvement in diversifying personnel and improving community relations
2. Identify the type of community law enforcement are serving.
3. Train police officers to be more comfortable with residents of a different racial background if they aren't comfortable and (don't) understand different cultures.
4. Actively seek out diverse recruits (especially departments with low rate applications from minorities) and help recruits with the application process.
5. County prosecutors, sheriffs and county government officials set the tone of how communities are enforced by the type of approach law enforcement should practice.
6. Don't treat every encounter with a resident in the same aggressive manner.
7. Positive community relations is an investment.
8. Honest, open and continued dialogue on issues of race and community relations within departments need to improve and gained understanding.