Cops have a tough job, no doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean things can’t improve. Right?
In researching groups that are attempting to ameliorate community-police relations, I came across Campaign Zero, a group dedicated to ending police brutality and violence against citizens.
Campaign Zero says that over 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America.*** Organizers want to bring that number down to zero. Hence the name “Campaign Zero.”
In an effort to do so they’ve hatched a new #8CantWait campaign, which highlights eight policies that they claim can reduce police violence by as much as 72 percent.
Here are the recommendations:
- Ban Chokeholds & Strangleholds – Allowing officers to choke or strangle civilians, in many cases where less lethal force could be used instead, results in the unnecessary death or serious injury of civilians.
- Require De-Escalation – Require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, by communicating with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force.
- Require Warning Before Shooting – Require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian
- Exhaust All Other Means Before Shooting – Require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force.
- Duty to Intervene – Require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.
- Ban Shooting At Moving Vehicles – Restrict officers from shooting at moving vehicles, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic.
- Require Use of Force Continuum – Develop a Force Continuum that limits the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance.
- Require Comprehensive Reporting – Require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians.
On the website, they have an interactive section that allows you to select your city to see which, if any, of the policies your police department has approved and enacted. To give you an example, I picked Burbank, CA, a place I used to call home. Here were the results:
Probably all of you reading this article are gun owners and 2A supporters. And many of you are also firearms instructors, active or former military, active or former law enforcement, martial artists, CQB aficionados, etc., and I’m wondering what you think of these reforms?
Moreover, what’s missing (if anything) and/or what would you change about law enforcement training and protocol to make things better for police and the citizens they serve?
Maybe you don’t think anything needs to change, in which case I’d like to hear from you as well.
Let me add that this is not about piling on police. Many of my best friends work in law enforcement. Many of the contributors to GunsAmerica over the years have worked or do work in law enforcement. This isn’t an anti-cop hit piece. What I’m trying to do is start a conversation about ways to improve the situation.
Looking forward to reading your feedback in the comments section.
***Police may kill 1,000 people per year, but Campaign Zero does not appear to distinguish between cases where the use of lethal force was justified and instances where it was not. Maybe that’s not something they care to pay attention to but I believe that if we’re going to have an honest dialogue about police violence we need to delineate between lawful instances where lethal force is used by an officer to save a life (or lives) and unlawful instances where lethal force is used by an officer to take an innocent life (or lives). Because self-defense is very different than murder. The two should not be conflated. For example, does Campaign Zero include cases where police take out mass shooters on their tally of people killed? If so, that doesn’t make much sense as in many cases the only way to get them to stop killing is deadly force. I sent an email asking them that question and am awaiting a response.