Opinion: Reform the Law Enforcement System

Police officers don’t need more training nearly as much as most politicians, police administrators, crooks, those who resist arrest and the media need more training” – Buz Williams

Whenever there is a highly publicized police shooting, violent law enforcement/criminal encounter or video of officers overcoming resistance to arrest, the long knives come out to stab the cops in the back. A study of every well publicized police incident from the start of the Watts riot in 1965 to the George Floyd video, shows that if the offenders hadn’t resisted arrest, they would not have been injured or died.

Until the COVID/George Floyd/“mostly peaceful” riots in 2020, the normal response of our so-called leaders was to call for more training for law enforcement. That “solution” usually came after the media and politicians demanded the firing and/or prosecution of the officers involved in the incident. That is hardly surprising since training involves spending taxpayers money and, a politico’s usual answer to any problem is to throw money at it, regardless of how ineffective that is.

Even before I retired from the Long Beach Police Department in 2002, we had received all kinds of training. Up until the mid 1980s, most of the training was pertinent to the job. We received training in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation(CPR), Shoot/Don’t Shoot, Legal Updates, Court Rulings and New Laws, etc.

After that, while there was still some good training available, the powers that be started to give us classes that could only be described as sensitivity training, directed at certain groups of people, rather than individuals. Those cops who worked the streets knew that this was unmitigated hogwash.

Years of experience fighting crime in the communities had taught them that no matter how you separate groups, by race, sex or orientation, there are individuals in those groups. Some will be cooperative, some will be antagonistic, some will resist and some will become violent. The lessen learned is that it is not the group in which the person is categorized that matters, it is how he or she reacts when coming into contact with law officers.

Police work is a reactionary job. A cooperative attitude by a subject demands a similar response by officers. While deescalating tactics can be attempted with uncooperative persons, they don’t always work. Resistance to arrest must be overcome and often becomes violent. To anyone who has never had to take a violent, resisting man or woman into custody, it may look brutal but it has to be accomplished. Cops aren’t paid to lose fights and the safety of communities is compromised when they do, often leading to anarchy.

In 2020 anarchy reigned in hundreds of communities across our country. In cities and towns, police officers were ordered to “stand down” by their chiefs and administrators. Large areas of these municipalities were ceded to the rioters and anarchists. The vast majority of the law enforcement officers wanted to restore order, but were restrained by their command officers. The chiefs and command officers were ordered not to take any action against the rioters by mayors and other city officials. Here is where reform is most needed.

In the last century, Chiefs of Police and their command staff had Civil Service protection. While the Chief would listen to the mayor, city manager and/or police commission members, he wasn’t in danger of losing his job if he didn’t follow their direction. The last quarter of the last century, things changed dramatically in law enforcement and not for the better.

Chiefs and high ranking command staff became “at will” employees. If they didn’t do what the mayor, city manager and/or the police commission wanted, they would be dismissed. That is why, in leftist, progressive cities, mayors and other city officials order the Chiefs not to stop the rioting. That is why the chiefs ordered their officers to stand down. That is why cities burned. The Chiefs have to do what the politicians tell them to do or they will lose their jobs. These politicians are often corrupt or have prostituted their morals to an extreme leftist political ideology.

County Sheriffs, on the other hand are elected by the people. It is much easier for a sheriff to do what he knows is right because he answers to the electorate rather than self serving political hacks. To ensure that the Chiefs of Police do their jobs to protect the people and property of the jurisdictions, every city and town in the country should enact laws that require that the Chief of Police be elected, so that he answers to the people and not to some perverse political agenda.

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1 thought on “Opinion: Reform the Law Enforcement System”

  1. This is another good article by Buz. Most people don’t comprehend that many of our institutions in this country are politicized including the police and the courts. Like Buz pointed out, the politicians and, ultimately the voters in the “progressive” cesspools keep imposing their failed policies on law enforcement and the legal system with predictable results. In the wacky state of California smash-and-grab robberies and other crimes are on the rise. And, why not? Crime pays when law enforcement practices catch and release and the courts are reluctant to send criminals to jail.

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