Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Importance of Accountability-Law Enforcement and Crime

Holding people accountable is necessary for a justice system to function properly. Without it we must also wonder what the essential purpose of the system is and whether or not it will function as intended in the future. Most officers I have met are very good people but they are people and some have personality flaws that come out in their daily work life. Accountability is important in the law enforcement institution as it is in other institutions as well.

People think everything is about getting someone in trouble. That isn't the truth. Sometimes holding people accountable is about allowing the system to confront bad actors, find out what their motives were and then ensure that such behaviors don't happen again. It becomes a way to discover and improve.

Think of it this way. You have a child who takes your quarters out of your jar and even though you know he is doing it you don't say anything. A few quarters turn into many quarters and then you have a problem because that turns into dollars and that turns into other people's dollars.

Responsible parents confront their child, have him tell the truth, make him do some work to pay back the money, and use the opportunity to teach them about theft. Yet if you say nothing and do nothing then you are partly responsible if that child grows up to steal other people's money. Your blind eye led to greater crimes.

The same can be said for law enforcement and crime. If a criminal does harmful actions and isn't held accountable in some way then they will feel empowered to do it again. Perhaps it isn't a criminal but it is a law enforcement officer themselves that needs to be held accountable.

We are not talking about misinterpretation or a mistake but intention to intimidate and do harm. Like the other example, if we let them take quarters and never say anything lets not be surprised if that turns into other's money? At what point does the system start to self-correct and help itself.

Accountability isn't always punishment. It is about bringing to light bad things and it is about encouraging others to report such behaviors faster so they can be snipped out quickly. We don't always do this because we don't want to upset the apple cart. Yet, the more a culture of silence takes hold the further out of sync the system is with societal values.

Its difficult to be reasonable when there is an abundance of radicals. There are so many people who love police and so many people who hate them. I love them and I want them to be the great system they were intended to be. They have a seat at the table in making our country powerful and they have a direct influence on people's lives. We must not tarnish their reputation with ineptitude and inaction.

I may run for politics someday but I will run off of truth and the need to be as honest as I can to make our country function as it should. Perhaps I only play a small part but It is something our nation longs for just at a time when people fear change. It needs leaders that can think divergently and see both sides of an argument before making decisions and proposing laws. Maybe there is little room for such people, or maybe I don't have the personal strength to deal with it everyday, but I can start walking slowly in that direction and see what happens.

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