Essay by: Bryan Ruffin
Essay Subject: My good friend and professional cyclist David H. Sylvester has announced a new Hugs & High Fives Tour. This summer Dave will travel, on his bicycle, from San Bernardino, California to Philadelphia, PA. He will be stopping at many cities along the way.
Police brutality has caused great turmoil throughout America within the last few years. Most recently, citizens have started to retaliate and cry out to lawmakers to end police brutality. With the most recent attacks on police in Dallas, citizens are making it clear that they are tired of being brutalized by those who should be protecting and serving the citizens, not murdering them. The effects of police brutality have caused some citizens to not trust the police and even obtain firearms to protect themselves against the potential of being victimized. Some have even formed rallies or attacked police officers and other law enforcement agency members.
There are several ways to reduce social unrest in our society related to police actions. A huge part of the problem is distrust. Citizens do not trust police and therefore the first step to ending this problem is to build positive relationships between the police and citizens. This can be done in several ways. Communities can form events where police and citizens come together to work on teams such as playing games, collecting school supplies for needy children, or performing community service together. Citizens need to see law enforcement agency members outside of their normal jobs so they can get to know them on a personal level and so law enforcement can get to know its citizens without the threat of being victimized.
Another way to reduce social unrest is to have police officers and law enforcement provide positive rewards for drivers and law abiding citizens. For example, police officers stop law breaking citizens for speeding or reckless driving to issue citations. Wouldn’t it be nice if police officers stopped citizens sometimes for abiding by the law? They could even give them a small reward for adhering to the speed limit like a small gift card or coupon. They could even give them a certificate for a free hot dog or fountain drink at a local restaurant. Not only will this bridge the gap between law enforcement and citizens, but it will encourage citizens to make good choices because they know their hard work will likely be rewarded. Think this idea is far-fetched? Having worked with children my entire career, I know that providing positive rewards is a great way to get them to behave and as citizens we are no different. When we do what is right, a reward doesn’t hurt. It’s certainly worth a try and lots of businesses would be willing to donate tax-deductible items to the police.
In conclusion, police brutality is a real problem in our society. It needs to be addressed and until we can build positive relationships between police officers and citizens, the problems will continue to escalate.