I'm sorry, but it is never too early to be discussing lessons. Especially not in the current world of ADD, where folks move on as soon as the headlines disappear. For me, the two primary lessons to learn are: own responsibility and get involved.
What. No rant about Muslim-haters, police cover-up, irresponsible media reporting? No. Well, some about the latter a bit later. But, no. Why? Because you can't change what you can't change. What you have to do is own responsibility for what you can change, and get involved to change it.
It is clear from recent police forums and from experiences shared by people of color in our communities that we have a serious problem with racial equity in policing in Orange County. The most recent example is a guest column by Stephanie Perry in Sunday’s Chapel Hill News (12/21/14). Perry serves with me on the board of Orange County Justice United. We heard other stories like this during the Carrboro community forum on policing in October.
I'm going to be a little awkward. There is already a thread about the recent Carrboro and Chapel Hill Police Forums. I will be linking this post to that thread. But I want to set out (at boring length) what I have been advocating for since those Forums. And I don't want to clutter up the entirety of that other thread with my meanderings (as fascinating as I know you will find them!).
This coming Saturday (October 4) and next Monday (October 6), Chapel Hill Police and Carrboro Police respectively, along with representatives from their funding agencies, will be holding Public Forums, at which citizens will be invited to offer thoughts on the way they wish to be policed. I will be unable to attend the Carrboro Forum as I will be working. But I have written a letter to the organizers, a letter which is (amazingly) quite self-explanatory:
In the wake of the President's call to re-examine the militarization of police in the US, I go one step further, and wonder if it is not time now actively to consider disarming front-line police officers?
Calling all Carrboro
Residents- The Town of Carrboro and Developmental Associates are
beginning the process to select Carrboro's new Chief of Police. As we
kick things off, the community is invited to attend
a Public Input Session on April 22, 2013 @ 6:00pm at Carrboro Town
Hall. We want to hear your opinions on the challenges our new Chief
might face, and what qualities and competencies you think are important
to look for in the selection process.
Many of us were very disturbed by the Yates Building incident in
Chapel Hill last year and wondered how the police were trained to deal
with public events and demonstrations. How do the police do arrests?
What crime and other public safety issues do we have in Chapel Hill?
Well, here's a chance for you to find out how our officers are trained
and what they do.
For the last
year I've been working with the Community Policing Advisory Committee and the Chapel Hill Police Department to dramatically
revamp its Citizen's Police Academy. The new Academy will give participants an