Implementing police reform could save lives and make for a more efficient and safer task force for cities says Abigail Finley

One year after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, the jury declared Derek Chavin guilty of second-degree murder. Justice may have been served, but our justice system still has a long way to go. Our police system is broken, especially in Minneapolis. 

Why introduce Police Reform? 

Cities should reform their police to make them safer and efficient for the public. Cities should establish a community-based organization to handle minor traffic stops or offences. They should also establish a mental health task force with professionals that know how to handle mental episodes.  

The issue at hand is the police killing innocent African Americans. The issue of police overusing their powers is also an issue for the mental health community. Police in recent years has created a Crisis Intervention Team, also known as CIT to train officers to deal with mental health crises. However, the instances such as the death of Daniel Prude and an injury of a 13-year-old child in Salt Lake City have shown the CIT has failed to help. 

Finding Solutions.

To solve this issue this NPR article talks to Ron Bruno, a former police officer about his solution, “‘All I’m talking about is a non-law enforcement crisis response team. Whatever disciplines you want to make up that team, it works,’ Bruno says. But that’s rarely happening.” 

There is a need to establish a mental health task force team that focuses on de-escalating the situation rather than using violence as a first resource. This could also be used at traffic stops. Simple traffic stops can be a cause of violent interaction between the police and other civilians. This issue can be solved by prepending funding to the mental health task force to de-escalate mental health issues. 

Roughly a year after the murder of George Floyd another innocent black man was killed at the hands of police in a suburb just outside of Minneapolis. Duante Wright was killed in April of 2021 at the hands of the Brooklyn Center Police, due to a traffic stop that escalated. Shortly after the killing, the police officer was convicted of manslaughter, but Brooklyn Center wants to make sure this is the last incident that happens in the area.

Police Reform in Brooklyn Center.

The Brooklyn Center City Council voted to pass a package of sweeping reforms to its public safety system.As per Star Tribune “The proposals will remake the city’s police force with more independent oversight, prohibit arrests for low-level offences and use unarmed civilians to handle minor traffic violations. The reforms also will create a new city department to oversee public safety.” 

A community-based task force is probably better for the community, because around over half of the population are non-white, according to the US recent census. This could cause fewer deaths due to low-grade traffic stops in the city. Brooklyn Center is one of the few cities to pass sweeping reform like this after the death of a person at the hands of police. This reform could be a model for many cities and help chip away at systemic racism in our country. 

Setting an example.

As Brooklyn Center successfully proposed and passed police reform in the city. The question lies in what has Minneapolis done to address the issues. The city has failed to vote or pass any police reform in the area. 

Murina Mohamed of the Minnesota ACLU has been pushing Minneapolis to have a force similar to Brooklyn Center that handles low traffic. She says, “When you don’t have police stopping people for minor traffic enforcement violations such as tinted windows or registration, what you do is you save them time and you have them focus on violent crime, and you have them solve murders.”

Making our cities safe.

No one is supporting getting rid of the police altogether, rather than having their attention focused on other important issues in the city, rather than just traffic stops. Duante Wright and George Floyd both lost their lives at the hands of the police such as expired tabs or a suspected fake twenty-dollar bill. We need to start redirecting the police to more important crimes rather than small traffic stops. This could save lives at the hands of the police.  

With the deaths of George Floyd, Duante Wright, and several other people who lost their lives at the hands of police, it is obvious that police in the United States needs reform. It equally shows the urgent need to change international development.

Brooklyn Center has made efforts for a non-violent community-based organization for minor traffic stops in the city. Minneapolis should follow suit and start using police for important homicide cases, rather than small traffic stops or minor crimes. These tactics could save lives and make for a more efficient and safer task force for cities across the United States. 

Feature Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash

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Police Reform in 2021

by Abigail Finley Reading time: 3 min