Monday, December 1, 2014

Obama to Toughen Standards on Police Use of Military Gear

Today, Obama reviewed the police’s equipment and announce a new policy that would train many police officers the right procedure to handle firearms and handle situations similar to the Michael Brown incident. In addition to these upcoming policies, Obama has also announced that the government would create a $263 million program that would provide police officers body cameras, allowing them to clarify situations.

Obama recently stated this Monday that with the incident, there are changes needed to be made starting with the retraining of police officers and law enforcement officials. With it, it allows officers to be combat-ready in times of crimes and terrorism. Although a report claimed that police were fully armed and with armored vehicles when they clashed with protesters, administration officials stated that only 4% of the equipment was considered combat-ready”.

In my opinion, improving equipment and training would definitely help counterterrorism, however, that is not the only main issue. The main problem in the US is the racial issue that has lasted for more than 300 years in American history. Bias and prejudice within white on blacks can never be solved or fade away because it is inherited or planted in American people's mindset. The only thing Obama can do is reduce the damage to blacks as minimal as possible.

How is racism creates bias and prejudice within the police force on minorities like African-American?



Brendan Vroom 6 said...

I think that Obama's reaction this incident was appropriate, as it not only addresses the issue of police brutality, but also will calm down the nationwide riots.
I think that one of the major issues with the Ferguson Police Department is the dominant majority of white police officers as compared to black police officers. The police force completely under-represents the black population in Ferguson. Ferguson is 67% African-American and 29% white, yet the police force consists of 50 white men compared to only 3 African-Americans. With a majority like this, in an area where racist ideology is more common, incidents like this are bound to occur.

Brendan Vroom 6 said...

Elias Bermeo said...

Brendan brings up a really important point about the disparity between the demographics of typical Ferguson residents and those of the Ferguson police force. Police officers aren't "representatives" and they're not chosen by the electorate, but they are entrusted with the responsibility of protecting and looking out for residents within their jurisdiction, making them somewhat similar to representatives. When there's such a great discrepancy between those in power (the police force) and those they are controlling (the residents) there's bound to be tension.
I think that Obama's plan to fund the use of police body cameras is important. Hopefully this will increase a sense of accountability among American police officers and deter future incidents like this one. It's disheartening that we need to allocate so much money to this program to increase accountability among law enforcement, but I think as of now it's the right move.

Rene Chen said...

Racism in the police force has existed ever since slavery existed in America. With that being said, I think that even with the cameras attached to the bodies, it will not make a difference in a situation where a cop has to point a gun at a potential criminal. Though, I like what Obama did, for it quelled down the situation as of now.
But, it is inevitable incidents like this are likely to occur again, because, like Brendan said, places with a majority black, but having a majority white police officers will doubtfully result in some sort of complications.

Alex Li said...

It is true that police brutality still exists and that minorities such as African Americans are disproportionally targeted by the police, but it is pretty harsh to say that whites are inherently racist and will never work towards racial equality because that is a huge generalization. America has been making steady progress in promoting equality throughout all social groups, as tremendous progress has been made since years past. I don't agree with your point of view that "prejudice on blacks can never be solved", that is just really a negative way to look at thing.

Jeremiah Rondeau said...

A training program would be completely missing the point. Police departments are getting military equipment directly from the U.S. federal government. Obama should stop this practice with an executive order.

Are cameras a good idea? Of course. Will this materialize into a good program? Likely not. Remember what happened when data was demanded of the IRS? Camera footage will always be available when it is needed to throw a civilian in prison, and never available when it's needed to lock up an officer. If you collected footage that would land you behind bars for decades, would ensure the tape makes it into evidence?

Don't believe me? Look up some officer reactions to being filmed by civilian cameras on Youtube. If more accountability was really the goal, it could be achieved for free. Stop threatening pedestrians who film you.

The only way I would feel comfortable with this program is if strict guidelines were put in place regulating the use of the footage. The footage could be live-streamed to both police servers and insured backup servers, with laws ensuring equal access to both the defendant and prosecution. Otherwise, this will end up as an even more Orwellian version of traffic cameras.

To answer Jing's question, I'm sure race could play a role in shootings, however your statement that "prejudice within white on blacks can never be solved or fade away" is ridiculous. As our friends who went on the "Sojourn" trip can testify, some of the figures in the civil rights movement are still alive today. A tremendous amount has changed within just one lifetime, and due to their efforts, the racial tensions that face our generation are far less severe.