Cops should be voted on and rated by the communities they patrol (Opinion)
And be held to a renewable term limit of three years until retirement. If you really are one of the good, honest, hard-working police officers doing everything you can to keep your community safe, there should be nothing stopping you from collecting that sweet, beautiful pension.
I'm not going to sit here and give you some sort of detailed Power Point on how to execute this because I'm not nearly that smart, but it really doesn't seem like that radical of an idea. Simply put if a community is dissatisfied or angry with the police that patrol their streets, the department is doing something wrong. A lot of it starts with the mindset.
A pretty fair amount of people I grew up with went on to become police officers. What I've learned in conversations with some of them both before going to the academy and after is there are two types of people that go on to join the thin blue line. The first are those who truly want to protect and serve their communities, serving as a guardian. Then you have the second type of person - someone with a chip on their shoulder and nowhere else to turn.
Is this what makes a good cop or a bad cop? Not necessarily. Everyone is capable of change and growth, or whatever the opposite of growth is in this situation. Shrinkage perhaps? Either way, it seems like we may be scratching the surface.
The bottom line is if an officer has a reputation in town of being a cop always trying to catch a bad guy vs. a cop always trying to help out any way they can, they should be held accountable for that. The community is who the police are supposed to serve. And if you look at what's happening in a lot of places around the state and country, many of them are doing anything but. You should only be allowed to serve your town if the citizens are satisfied with you.
After an officer's first three years, the citizens of the town would send in a ballot with all of the officers they deem worthy of serving them. There would be no limit on how many they can choose if you think the whole department is absolutely killin' it. A popular vote, that's it. No electoral college BS where Henry up the street's vote counts more because he has a farm and lives away from town center. Make approval ratings of these officers public, and make it easy for folks to share their criticisms or satisfaction with the department.
The only way to weed out the "bad cops" is by letting the people decide what is good vs. bad. If police are to be held to a higher standard, then they should have more on the line. It's only fair.
I guess this is where we'd have to get into the minutia of it all. And my email inbox is always open if you have any more insight you would like to add on this. Or you can tell me it's a stupid idea or that I am stupid. But at the end of the day, a dialogue has got to start somewhere between the citizens and the police.
Remember this won't solve everything. These protests are not aimed at the police. They are aimed at putting an end to generations of systematic racism - fueled by watching a black man die in a ten minute video by a cop who only had to do one thing, let him breathe.
Jeff Deminski does an outstanding job of explaining this in ways I could only dream. But even still, I will never truly know what it feels like to experience America through the prism black people experience it. But as you'll notice with so many of these protestors being white, people of all colors and backgrounds are fed up with the way the system screws over black people and other minority groups. We've got to do better. Injustices like this happen so often in America, I bet you already forgot the name Ahmaud Arbery.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.