Monday, June 01, 2015

Police Unions Part of the Problem?

According to the NY Times, the " decline of public trust in the police we’ve seen after a string of incidents in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland, New York and Baltimore has many causes. Policies like hot-spot policing and stop-and-frisk searches — outgrowths of the “broken windows” law enforcement strategy — have put enormous pressures on minority and low-income communities. But the role played by police unions in shielding their members from accountability for excessive force has also contributed to the erosion of trust. . . .
I met hundreds of officers in my work. The vast majority are honorable public servants, and many see the need for fundamental change.
Union-negotiated rules are only one barrier to change — and police chiefs sometimes cite union contracts unfairly, as an excuse for inaction. But state laws and collective bargaining agreements must be reformed. Disciplinary procedures should be less complex and rules that limit the effectiveness of civilian oversight must be eliminated. Transparency in police conduct must be the rule."  This article presents examples and argues that unions must not be barriers to reform.

I support unions but not if they attempt to shield their members from legal accountability for serious harm.

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