Policing: Is Baltimore the Turning Point For Change?

Change is stressful, it is uncomfortable, unpleasant, confusing, disorienting, it forces reflection, and it brings an air of uncertainty.

Without change, our nation is heading for a summer of violence.

Do we really want to repeat the mistakes of the past?

How many times do we have to have lawlessness in our cities before we act and find the courage to change before tensions exploded into violence? Violence only brings more violence, and no solutions.

The Uncomfortable Issues

Building relationships that lead to trust and respect starts with admitting there is a problem, looking at the causes, and finding solutions to address the problems.

The issues brought forth are to help start dialog so that the underlining issues can be addressed and we move forward as a united people who respect our laws, respect our fellow citizens, create opportunities in which there are none, and make change within our government so the people are secure and have the freedom to pursue happiness and peace.

Government and Business

  • Failed economic policies that have led to businesses leaving and taking jobs
  • Failed criminal justice policies that have created a culture of increased incarceration
  • Lack of creating opportunities for youth
  • Creating a welfare culture is not sustainable
  • Failed educational policies that have driven good teachers out of the classroom
  • Funding officer’s education and professional development

Community Issues

  • Lack of accountability and allowing criminal activity to flourish within your own community
  • Community leaders who continually display a victim’s mentality and incite instead of unite
  • Personal responsibility and roll modeling lawful and respectful behavior
  • Criminal behavior can no longer be acceptable as the norm by the community

Law Enforcement

  • Lack of willingness to change or admit police strategies are not working
  • Lack of accountability, honesty, and integrity when investigating suspected police abuse of authority
  • Lack of restraint that leads to bad decision-making
  • Lack of police leadership and failure to communicate sending mixed messages to the community and officers
  • Additional training on developing emotional intelligence skills when dealing with difficult people

One thing is certain, the ways things have been going are not working and leading to a breakdown in police community relations. Taking ownership makes change possible. Change is only going to occur when we openly discuss the issues and work together to find solutions that address accountability and equal justice. The issues noted above are only a few items that each group is failing to address. These organizational and community failures, combined with a lack of courage to want to change have collided and brought us to the breaking point we are witnessing across our country.

About the Author

Mark Bond

Mark Bond has worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms instructor for more than 29 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in criminal justice, and M.Ed in educational leadership with Summa Cum Laude honors. As a lifelong learner, he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with a concentration in college teaching and learning.  Mark is currently an assistant professor of criminal justice at a university and adjunct professor of administration of justice studies at a community college.