September 6, 2017

We Need to Implement a “Zero Tolerance” Policy for Racism in our Police Departments.

I’m sick of being upset. 

Today, I posted this tweet:

Enough is enough.

I refuse to watch blatant racism from our men and women in blue, followed by what equates to slaps on the wrist and lip service from our police departments.

And for that reason, I believe it’s time that we make the bold assertion:

Every police department is racist.

Not some. Every single one.

They’ve lost their right to “innocent until proven guilty.” Police departments have shown themselves to be morally bankrupt and, unfortunately, the blue code means that officers are not able to effectively police their own. For that reason, I am advocating “zero tolerance” guidelines that include the following provisions:

>> That until further notice, it will be assumed that every police department in our country is racist.

>> In order for a police department to lose their “racist” tag, they need to show real commitment to fair and just application of the law to all people, regardless of color.

>> One of the main ways in which they will show this commitment to justice is by enacting a “zero tolerance” policy for racism in their police department.

>> “Zero tolerance” will be incorporated into a larger plan that includes screening and extensive training for officers, as well as teaching the important skill of de-escalation as a first approach in all matters involving the public unless an imminent danger exists. (In which case, a jury of citizens would have to agree that the only course of action was one of force.)

>> Each police force will have trained community members (who mirror the diversity of the community that is being served) who will be part of the overseeing of police officer interactions with the public—including any and all complaints and injuries of the public in the application of the law by officers. They will also help write the “zero tolerance” code for their community police department that will replace the unofficial “blue code” that has been running local police departments.

>> “Zero tolerance” means that officers will be terminated from the police force for any offense in which they have shown prejudiced or racist behaviors toward people of color.

This is just the beginning. But it is a beginning. The status quo is dead. The past is dead. What worked yesterday as part of the modus operandi of police departments is insufficient for today.

We are sick and tired of raising our voices, being angry, and being ignored by those whose job it is to protect and serve all of us—and whose jobs are paid by our tax dollars.

As we have received neither respect nor justice, we are left with no alternative but to assume that each and every police department is, to some extent, committed to racism.

Ultimately, “zero tolerance” is a position that is meant to be mutually beneficial both to the public as well as to all law enforcement officials and agents.

As the public feels safer knowing that police departments are taking steps to show their commitment to fairness and justice in the application of law, the environment in which law enforcement operates will also become safer.

I urge everyone to spread the word about “zero tolerance” and to be part of the movement that puts police departments on notice.

Use the hashtag #zerotolerance on social media for all posts involving law enforcement and police department issues.



Author: Alex Obed 
Image: Dave Phillips/Flickr
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron


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