Using logic, statistics and his experience from working 19 years as a police officer in the Chicago-area, Louis Hayes penned an article last month that is ruffling the feathers of his Brothers in Blue by proclaiming there is no such thing as the War on Cops.
Hayes is a rarity of a cop who is able to lay out his argument in writing without having to use ALL CAPS or create fictionalized tales about being in fear for his life.
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And Hayes’ article definitely falls under the intelligent journalism spectrum by confirming what we’ve been saying for years; that if there is any war, it is a Police War on the People because they are trained to view each and every one of us as enemy combatants.
American police training is a complex venture. In a time-compressed format, the police training takes Joe Citizen and turns him into Joe Cop. His trainers debrief incidents when officers are injured or killed. Joe watches countless dash-cam videos of police officers being murdered in front of their patrol cars. He learns to be skeptical of everyone. Joe participates in scenario drills in which old ladies and young kids ambush him. He is taught to expect the worst possible outcome—and take precautions in order to prevent becoming another statistic himself.
He will also be trained to shoot to kill, instead of to wound or incapacitate. “Even if an officer shoots [someone] with a lethal firearm, it may not stop a person,” David Klinger, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told ABC News recently. “When there is a threat to life right now, or serious bodily injury, deadly force is the appropriate response.”
The idea of a “war on cops” confirms this mindset. Emotional imagery and war stories are more compelling than statistics. Joe Cop becomes even more afraid. He is afraid of people who keep their hands in their pockets; he is wary of people who get too close or videotape him or want to shake hands. Everyone is a potential assailant.
When one adds race and unconscious prejudices into the mix, the issues become even more complex. Implicit bias affects both civilians and law enforcement professionals—although civilians are presumably not as emboldened to act upon it in potentially lethal ways. As noted by New York University psychologist David Amodio in 2010: “Recent research in social neuroscience has revealed that prejudiced reactions are linked to rapidly activated structures in the brain—parts of the brain associated with fear and disgust, likely developed long ago in our evolutionary history.”
He concludes with the obvious, that there needs to be a complete overhaul in training where officers learn how to deescalate situations rather than escalate them as they do daily.
Simply out, police training in America is in dire need of an overhaul. Too many departments still ignore emotional intelligence and behavioral analysis aspects of threat recognition. We need implicit bias training and community outreach. Our training spends too much time and effort on the “exceptions,” and not enough on the “rules.” Police training should emphasize slow-down strategies and tactics that allow for police officers’ critical thinking skills to complement, and, if necessary, override, emotions like fear or prejudice.
Above all, we need to adopt evidence-based risk management modeling that will appropriately train our officers to be aware, prepared, and ready, instead of using biased, anecdotal war-storytelling methods that–unintentionally or not–create an us-or-them mentality.
Even in 2016, a police officer’s chances of being violently attacked or murdered are statistically very low. But in the battle between fact and fear, fear seems to be winning.
Hayes is obviously not your subpar IQ beat cop biding his time until retirement by beating as many citizens as he can, then whooping it up with the boys by high-fiving each other over beers while comparing minor bruises and anticipating the upcoming award for their bravery.
But teaching cops to think like a tactical philosopher goes against everything they are actually taught, which is to think like a tactical predator in a hostile war zone.
Doug Wyllie, editor at large of Police One, which tends to attract the most vile, gung-ho cops from across the nation, the ones that call themselves sheepdogs on their Facebook page and boast Blue Line Matters portrait photos, and are quick to call you a “cop hater” if you dare question a police killing, stated the following:
I have always said, “While I have a mind I reserve my right to change it.” Hayes certainly has an interesting perspective on the subject, and I personally disagree with a considerable portion of it. I have not changed my thinking that there is an undeclared war on American law enforcement. However, I commend him for presenting the counterpoint to what seems from anecdotal evidence to be the opinion of just about every cop with whom I’ve had a conversation on the topic.
Where I do agree with Lou is that there is room for more training, especially of young officers, in decision-making skills. And I’m not just talking about increased work in the use-of-force simulator. Problem solving skills gleaned from studying things like philosophy and Socratic debate are enormously valuable on the streets. That’s probably a topic for another day.
What do you think? Sound off (respectfully) in the comments section.
Most of the comments on the Police One Facebook page were a variation of what Wyllie said; that perhaps there is room for improvement, but they don’t feel inclined to stop killing citizens any time soon because it’s either kill or be killed on the war-torn streets of America.
But as aways, you have your usual low IQ cops chiming in, one of them blaming Obama for leading the war against cops, even though Hayes included a link that confirmed the number of cops killed during the Obama Administration is lower than it was during the Bush, Clinton and Reagan years.
And it was much worse in the 1970s before Reagan took office and even worse than that during Prohibition in the 1920s as you can see in the graph at the bottom of this article.
Then there was the other dim-witted cop who wrote Hayes off completely because he not only mistook the writer for a woman , he mistook his 19 years working as a police officer as being his actual age, making him (or her as he puts it), “a rookie at best.”
My guess is, if these cops are unable to read and understand simple English, then they are unable to understand the laws they are paid to enforce.
And it doesn’t take a guess to assume these are the same cops who started the War on the People, only to proclaim it to be a War on Cops.
It is these cops that must be weeded out of the police force if we are serious about police reform, but we know it is these cops that are continually protected by their superiors.
However, if they continue their warmongering style of policing, they just may find themselves fighting a real War on Police because history shows us the numbers of cops killed can easily double or triple with the right amount of provocation.
But Hayes is hoping to prevent that, which is why you should check out his website where he has several case studies posted, which shows he has put much time and thought into this – unlike those cops making comments on Police One’s Facebook page.