Please join us for the next Community Conversations About Race (CCAR) session: Policing Madness - Public Safety in the 21st Century with Holona Ochs, PhD. Dr. Ochs is the Marcon Institute Director and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University.

In some senses we do demand more of the police than we do of other groups…  But this must be the case because it is to the police that we look to deal with so many of our problems, and it is to the police that we entrust the legitimate use of force" (National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence 1969). This timeless insight is also somewhat problematic. Since 1969, US criminal legal policies and practices as well as cultural practices have become increasingly punitive and are a part of the oppressive practices that contributed to the UN finding the US guilty of human rights violations (Amnesty International 2021). The police are being used to address a public health issue for which many officers themselves say they are “not prepared for” and “not properly trained to deal with.” The result is increasing violence and increasingly poor public health outcomes that act as an accelerant in the punitive, privatized security industrial complex at the expense of the public. We should hold the police to the highest of standards, but we cannot expect the police to solve all our problems. The discourse on race, violence, and mental health obscure our shared interest in addressing social problems without force. Co-response models of public safety show the greatest gains for low-income communities of color, while making everyone else safer too.

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  • Valeriia Bychkova

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