Dear Mr. or Ms. President,
Recently, the topic and issue of police brutality has aggressively taken over social media due to the current issue: the killing of people at the hands of a police officers. This recent issue that is seen all over social media is frightening to me, let alone the public, which has shown an impact on our nation which has been found through research. From his study of mass media, researcher, John Wihbey claimed, “It found that in 2008, among people who had contact with police, an estimated 1.4% had force used or threatened against them during their most recent contact, which was not statistically different from the percentages in 2002 (1.5%) and 2005 (1.6%)." This research shows that through the years, a negative interaction with a police officer over a few years has increased. Wihbey also discovered through his research that, the new thought that crosses Americans minds is , "Now, we must always consider the excruciating possibility that when we call for help, we may well be summoning our own executioners." It is shown that people are less trusting of law enforcement after current issues, like in Ferguson. We need to solve this epidemic and fast or the riots will continue and our country will crumble. Two ways we can solve this issue is through video cameras and more deeper background check on racial views of the officer.
Police Officers are supposed to protect all but, what if they have racial views that conflict with how they are able to perform their job? Through investigation, Wihbey has found that in some area’s extreme racial views from officers has resulted in many unnecessary incidents that have occurred. In specific Wihbey states, “A 2014 Pew Research Center survey confirms stark racial divisions in response to the Ferguson police shooting, as well, while Gallup provides insights on historical patterns of distrust.” Seeing all of these conflicts, riots, and situations occurring in these different states have shown me how much of an issue this has become in our country. This sheds light on the untrust that is shown dating back in history to now, due to the racial issues within the U.S.. Due to an officer having a certain view of an ethnic group, it clouds their thought process and behavior in certain situations which interferes with their job in protecting. From these views of officers, a rift has started to form between officers and different racial groups which will continue to occur if there isn’t a resolution. I believe a way for this to be fixed is for more training in the field of different situations as in a mental training on how to deal with situations, not just physically deal with. Another resolution could be a more detailed background check and longer training to fully make sure the new officer coming on board has a equal mentality to all races. Not only will a healthy and accountable mental state help the U.S. police officers perform their job better but, also solid evidence that cannot be questioned against one another’s word.
Police Officers are only required to have cameras on the dashboard of their cars to document police chases and other activities to be used as evidence but, why shouldn’t police officers wear cameras as a part of their uniform? From an article written by another researcher, Adam Shiff, Shiff explores the idea of cameras and hypothesizes that, "Having a video record of events not only deters the use of excessive force, but it also helps dispute or demonstrate claims of police brutality”. Video cameras would help stop the police violence in the United States due to having evidence either against the officer or the one being stopped/ arrested. This could either protect the officer’s rights or help the victims case and overall create a more safe situation for both individuals. Shiff’s hypothesis was tested with the Rialto, California police department and the results showed that, “With half of the police department wearing cameras recording each interaction with the public, the department experienced an 88 percent reduction in complaints against officers. Additionally, the study found that shifts without cameras experienced twice as many use-of-force incidents as shifts using the cameras”. Cameras would create a safer environment for now and future generations to come so everyday people, like me, will not have to be scared when dialing 911 for help. Through the testing of his hypothesis, Shiff has shown that cameras on officers would create a positive impact on the public.
Overall Shiff’s tested hypothesis shows that cameras on an officer would create a safer environment for both individuals and lower the amount of the incidents daily, decreasing the deaths that wouldn't have had to happen in the first place. Found through his research, Wihbey found that, “Surveys in recent years with minority groups—Latinos and African Americans, in particular—suggest that confidence in law enforcement is relatively low, and large portions of these communities believe police are likely to use excessive force on suspects.” This shows that the faith in Police Officer within these two ethnic groups has decreased due to an unnecessary, excessive amount of force being used against them. With camera’s creating a potential chance of having repercussions for unnecessary force on an individual and being caught would help deter the possibility of police brutality in the U.S. and make individuals have faith in the law once more.
In conclusion, Mr. or Ms. President, this is an issue that needs to find a resolution fast before more issues arise from it. We need funding from each community to help support and pay for the costs of this recent issue. Enforcing cameras on officers would create a more safer environment that would create an equal and fair standing between officer and civilian, not just an unfair word against the word of the law. A thorough background check of each individual wishing to be an officer and is put through correct and sufficient training would limit the amount of incidents per year. I would personally feel more safe and comfortable within my country if these changes were made in the police department and so would the public. Both of these, camera’s and thorough background checks would ensure a safe and fully fair system for all.
Schiff, Adam. "Body Cameras Will Stop Police Brutality." Police Brutality. Ed. Michael Ruth. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Crescenta Valley Weekly Op-Ed: Department of Justice Should Play a Role in Funding Body Cameras for Local Police Departments." 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 9 Sept. 2016.
Wihbey, John. "There Is Conflicting Information on Police Brutality." Police Brutality. Ed. Michael Ruth. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Excessive or Reasonable Force by Police? Research on Law Enforcement and Racial Conflict." 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 9 Sept. 2016
Rowe, Richard. "Police Brutality Must Be Stopped." Police Brutality. Ed. Michael Ruth. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Op-Ed: Seven Simple Steps to End Police Brutality, and Restore Justice to America." aattp.org. 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.