Anyone who is truly invested in the wellbeing and cares about the success of the modern-day policing culture, as I do, knows one clear and undisputable fact: cultural change is inevitable in policing and the culture will either transcend or implode into change. You see, transcending the culture from one of “policing power" to "community empowerment” will be an ugly, rough, and sometimes torturous journey. During this process, the policing culture will continue to make horrible mistakes (racial profiling, excessive force, etc.) in their dysfunctional relationship and growing fear of Black America. This transcendence will force some officers to resign, be terminated, or become part of the inmate population, but in the end, the growing pains will be worth it. We will have a stronger and more competent policing culture, ready to morally and legally face the unique challenges of upholding their oath to serve and protect a globally diverse new America. However, there is the later and the much more painful process…implosion… and that’s what everyone is seeing today across the country. One look at McKinney, Texas says it all. Police officers are becoming a national punchline for incompetence, insubordination, and intolerance…and the world is laughing out loud at the policing culture, not with them. The “imploding” process has created an environment where police officers are perceived as undisciplined children being placed in “time-out” by their own police supervisors, politicians, and communities, where their trustworthiness and respect factor has, with the exception of a dedicated few believers, been almost eliminated.
So, what’s holding the policing culture back from making this transcension? The true enemy of policing: the apologists.
You see, it’s very easy to identify a policing culture apologist: (1) They have never been a sworn police officer and have no idea what it’s like to live within the policing culture. No, having a father, mother, spouse, brother, sister, or a very close friend in policing does not count…they are all considered outsiders; (2) They have some monetary investment or profits from policing (trains police officers, sales rep for policing equipment or weapons, etc.); and (3) They have a very deep fear of losing their own sense of “entitlement” in our rapidly changing and diverse nation. They long for the return of the “good old days.”
Anyone who has ever had a drug addicted family member knows exactly what an apologist does…they are the enablers…the real sick individuals…the people giving your addicted loved ones the money to purchase drugs…but they don’t use drugs themselves. They look directly into the eyes of the addicted and lie right in their faces, telling them “you’re not an addict…you don’t need rehab,” while at the same time rationalizing any drug dependence. In the policing culture, which has been ill for a very long time, the apologists do the exact same thing. They lie right in the faces of the policing culture, telling them “you don’t need to change…you're a hero...you’re just doing your job” and rationalize any corrupt police behavior. The apologist are always ready to enable the culture, whether its in Ferguson, Cleveland, South Carolina, Baltimore, McKinney, Texas, or anywhere in-between, and are ready to defend any police action as “justified and necessary” regardless of the circumstances. The harm these apologists have done to an already fragile and vulnerable policing culture, is immeasurable. The sad part is, the policing culture knows deep down the apologists do not have their best interest at heart, but just like the drug addict, they would rather hear a blatant lie than face the hard truth, and deal with underlying problems that are causing the addiction in the first place.
Transcension or implosion, the policing culture will change, but how depends on them.