- Oct 30, 2000
The issue is that there currently is no duty to protect for police officers. People don't know this. There used to be duty to protect laws, but those were removed. There is a double edge sword on this issue. If there is duty to protect and officers get in legal trouble when they don't come up with exact outcomes, you are not going to have police officers anymore. Think of it this way, if fire fighters were always under law to prevent house fires, and they got into legal trouble when a house burned down they couldn't stop then you'd have no more fire fighters. No one in their right mind would do that job. Duty to protect laws for cops are the same thing. It is a hard thing to balance and provide narrow enough scope for. It is much easier to balance out what behavior cops shouldn't be allowed to do legally such as no longer doing chokeholds when there is enough officers around to subdue someone without the need for it. Also removing policies, that MN still had but most places don't, that require officers to always subdue mentally impaired individuals to wait for mental health experts to arrive on scene and not let up on their submission hold until those experts arrive. The specific policy is allowing Derik Chauvin a defense in the George Floyd case right now.I'm picky about police reform measures in terms of which ones I think work and which do not. I support the "Cariol's law" reform she is pushing. Officers need to get in serious trouble for not intervening to stop illegal behavior on the part of other officers or at least, if a non-violent offense, reporting them for it. They also need protection from retaliation when they do come forward.
Anything which strengthens accountability of police is the key to reform. You can give them bias training 5 days a week and it won't change a thing. But make them think they're going to get into serious trouble for breaking the law and things will change.
What sucks is although most places have identified the issues, like chokeholds being poroblematic, years ago not every police department has acted to fix those problems in all these years. Most don't because to them they haven't had an issue yet with those policies. That old saying, "If it isn't broke don't fix it" is typically why most government agencies are so slow to fix problematic issues.