By David Sherwin, President at Pivedite
It’s great to hear about the police reform efforts around the country since the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests. However, if we simply see this as just an effort to reform the police and not to solve our social problems, we will miss a once in a generation opportunity to make real change in America.
We need to understand why the police are used as the solution to so many of our social problems.
Basically, the police are forced to resolve the negative outcomes of our society’s inability to solve social problems. For example, a homeless man is passed out in the middle of the street. This man has clearly fell through society’s cracks. The only solution is for the police to move him aside or throw him in jail. Yet, if we had a strong safety net, the police would not need to be involved. The examples are endless.
Imagine if we put 1 trillion dollars into education, housing, or mental health services. Imagine if a mayor said, “I am tired of this. The way I am reforming our police is to have free mental health care services.” There are numerous solutions we could implement now to help people before they get in the hands of the police.
Police reform will eventually make cops more accountable for their actions, but at the end of the day what are we really doing to stop the police from being the solution to our social problems?
It only seems logical that to truly reform the police, we need to solve our social problems.