Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown has said police are feeling the strain of their work.
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” Brown said. “Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. … Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let’s give it to the cops. … Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”
How do we resolve this? How do we avoid police being called in on a mental health emergency, a crisis at school, a loose dog that someone sees as a threat or other problems?
Yes, police officers everywhere are overloaded.
Their main role of protecting the public has been diminished by parents who don’t take responsibility for raising their children and then blame the police when their kids get into trouble.
As one who spent 40 years in education, I experienced too many occasions when a parent protected a child who was caught doing wrong things. It didn’t matter if the kids were caught cheating on tests or selling drugs.
It seems a lot changed when the government took prayers out of public schools.
Law enforcement is an honorable profession, and the officers can’t do everything. It’s way past time for parents to start taking responsibility for their children’s actions.
Edward Lindsay, Fort Worth
Police use the “authority” and “power” of the criminal justice system to solve the overburdened demands made by society.
If a person consents to follow authority, matters get resolved quickly and peacefully. If not, power becomes a necessity and conflict too often follows.
The basic issue is that some African-Americans justifiably know that police sometimes lie, exploit and abuse and therefore they do not respect police authority.
Conversely, to a large degree, white people inherently believe in the legitimacy and authority of the police. This is why the two communities so rarely see things through the same eyes.
Some police can and do exercise their discretionary authority differently, which can be perceived as biased.
If this practice could be reduced or even eliminated, I believe that respect for authority will begin to grow in black America and societal demands on our police could be reduced.
Patrick Jenkins, Arlington
Given the “culture of violence” that exists in this country today, our expectations of police officers is truly unrealistic!
We as citizens need to recognize the insurmountable stress they face every day as they go about the daunting task of protecting us.
Clearly, the public needs to put into perspective the excessive demands placed on them and go “above and beyond” in cooperating with them to help them do their jobs.
Showing them the respect they deserve would also help!
Angela Benvenuto, Arlington
Police overload? Yes.
I’m retired and mostly out of it, but I took five years to research and write about this issue while incorporating 30 years of diverse police organizational experience.
Not much has changed since the 1960s riots, except for new cellphone technology. This has expanded news coverage that now highlights, and at times misrepresents and even embellishes, police-citizen contact, and is nearly always presented as negative in one way or another.
In my experience, police have always been called upon to intervene and provide solutions in situations not covered by their charter or authority.
Not until politicians and some communities solve the inner social and criminal proclivities that cause police response in the first place can the blame game be significantly solved.
Richard M. Holbrook,
Those who choose a career in law enforcement know the inherent risks.
Police cadets are taught and trained to protect and serve. They are not psychiatrists, or animal control officers. But folks expect them to do work beyond their call of duty.
Police departments don’t have the resources to deal with all the mental health problems and other situations that need specialized attention.
This could be resolved by our legislators if they weren’t so lackadaisical.
Mayors have significant influence with city leaders, and they should start the engine to solve these problems. It’s called funding.
God bless our men and women in blue.
Delores Cantrell, Fort Worth
The responsibility of the police is to keep the public safe from harm.
This includes crime control, prevention of crime, riots or uprisings against the law.
If a situation represents endangerment, actual or potential, the police should be involved.
Animals may fall into this category. Also unsafe conditions, traffic control or anything else concerning the public safety.
Of course the line must be drawn somewhere, particularly problems in the medical arena.
Police should not have to worry about outside problems unless it involves public safety.
Grady Fuller, Kennedale
My biggest concern is the police having to deal with disrespectful miscreants.
What do thugs expect a cop to do when the thug misbehaves and threatens the cop?
I’ve always been treated fairly by cops. But I’ve never acted like a thug, either.
Eva Snapka, Arlington