“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”-Albert Einstein
I fully understand that not everyone thinks exactly the way Humane Policing does, if everyone did, there would be no need for this. The Communities served by Law Enforcement would be appreciative of how Law Enforcement went beyond the call of duty to better the lives of everyone in the community. We would join together to overcome any challenge or obstacle.
The first step in solving a problem is coming to an agreement that there actually is a problem. Maybe it was me being naïve or just overly optimistic, but I believed that most if not all would agree that Law Enforcement has a significant problem with the relationship, they have with the communities they serve. A few days ago, I had that belief shattered. While travelling I met an active Police Officer who possessed of 30 years of front-line experience. I asked him what he believed the biggest problem in Law Enforcement is currently. He stated, “This will all be over on November 5th.” I guess the confusion on my face prompted him to continue. He said, “This is 100% political and will go away with the election.” I stated, “Really?” He stated, “Well that is my take on it.”
This article is being written for that Police Officer and everyone else believes that there is no problem between Law Enforcement and the communities they serve. If we are ever going to actually solve or even improve the problem, it will be absolutely imperative that we agree there is an actual problem and it is not some ploy created by politicians and the media to some how change the outcome of n election.
Police Executive Research Forum conducted a study detailed in 72 pages titled. “The workforce crisis, and what are Police agencies doing about” written in September 2019.
If there was not an actual problem, there would be a surge of applicants to the law enforcement profession and enjoying a rewarding profession to retirement. This is exactly the opposite of what is accruing in our society today.
When they surveyed 32% of government employers cited law enforcement personnel the most difficult position to fill which was the largest problem among nearly 40 types of professions.
Agencies surveyed 41% of stated that there is an increased shortage of full-time officers compared to with 5 years prior. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in August 2018 that the number of full-time employees in law enforcement decrease 3.2% during the period of 1997-2013. This at the same time population of jurisdictions continued to increase, causing a 10 percent reduction in officer staffing per 1000 citizens.
The retention of officers has reached critical status where the average career of law enforcement has plummeted to 12 years. Voluntary resignations that occurred 29% was within the first 12 months with 69% happening within five years of service.
Due to all of these stressors and public opinion, fewer and fewer law enforcement personnel are lasting long enough to retire.
These shortage cause cities and agencies to hemorrhage money crippling their budgets due to massive overtimes, forced to be utilized.
We have substantial problems in law enforcement that are reaching critical levels, as the weeks and months pass by without action the ability to recover becomes more challenging.
To address these complex social issues, we first have to be honest an admit there are actual problems. Once we agree there are problems, we can begin to work together to solve these issues. We need to take action while we are still able to take corrective action.
Humane Policing’s mission is to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”-Nelson Mandela
Darron Spencer is the author of Humane Policing: How Perspectives Can Influence Our Performance and founder of Humane Policing – Transforming Police Culture. For more information, visit humanepolicing.com.