Police officers in 2017 have little room for error. In recent years, a few bad apples have spoiled the bunch and made people question the credibility of law enforcement. For many communities, it feels like the people the police are supposed to protect and serve oftentimes become the victims of brutality.
In a new investigative piece published on the Washington Post, at least 1,881 officers were fired for misconduct that “betrayed the public’s trust. However, more than 450 of them have been re-hired or reinstated from winning the appeals process. What they found was that police chiefs were overruled by arbitrators who are assigned to the defendant’s appeals cases.”
“In many cases, the underlying misconduct was undisputed, but arbitrators often concluded that the firings were unjustified because departments had been too harsh, missed deadlines, lacked sufficient evidence or failed to interview witnesses,” the investigative piece read.
It continues to illustrate a few examples highlighted in the piece. “A San Antonio police officer caught on a dash cam challenging a handcuffed man to fight him for the chance to be released was reinstated in February. In the District, an officer convicted of sexually abusing a young woman in his patrol car was ordered returned to the force in 2015. And in Boston, an officer was returned to work in 2012 despite being accused of lying, drunkenness and driving a suspected gunman from the scene of a nightclub killing.”
“It’s demoralizing, but not just to the chief,” Charles H. Ramsey, former police commissioner in Philadelphia and chief in the District, told the Post. “It’s demoralizing to the rank and file who really don’t want to have those kinds of people in their ranks. It causes a tremendous amount of anxiety in the public. Our credibility is shot whenever these things happen.”
Millennials have often been maligned by the media as being professional snowflakes who protest virtually everything under the sun, with an emphasis on police shootings and President Trump. While there’s little that anti-Trump millennials can do to change the man sitting in the Oval Office, there is something they can do with the former category. If more millennials who want to see a change to our justice system want to put thoughts into action, it’s time to start joining the ranks of law enforcement.
If those same socially conscious, “woke” millennials want to do more than protest and scream “f— the police!”, then maybe they become the change, themselves, that they wish to see in the world. If they think they can do a better job than a lot of officers currently on the force, then they should show it. And, in doing so, they may learn the struggles about being a police officer in a world where everyone seems to hate, target, or want to kill them.
Many millennials, by trade, are self-starters. They’ve built massive, multi-billion dollar companies from tiny startups. This is a turning point for millennials to build on their social justice movement for the better. By putting their money where their mouth is, they have a golden opportunity to calm the anxieties of our society and actually bring people together rather than pushing them further apart.