Taking it to the street: A modest proposal to apply education reforms to police work

Borrowing a page or two from satirist Jonathan Swift, University of Georgia professor Peter Smagorinsky makes a modest proposal of his own, apply current education trends to law enforcement.

So, here’s some spoofing to spice up your Sunday:

By Peter Smagorinsky

modestThe nation has recently been exposed to cases of police misconduct in a variety of cities, from Baltimore to Cleveland to Ferguson and beyond. It’s time to rethink the whole way in which police officers are recruited, trained, and evaluated so that such incidents no longer occur, and all communities are safe and secure.

I would like to propose that U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, fresh from her triumph over the forces of FIFA, institute an alternative policing system, the Charter Police Force Approach. It’s clear that the present system of keeping the peace is outdated and needs rejuvenation from people from outside the system.

As someone with no experience as a police officer, and no law degree, I am ideal for taking on this challenge.

Charter Police Forces could make proposals to local communities by means of a “charter” through which they outline their purpose, methods, and means of assessment. They would be funded by the public, but will not be mired in traditional ways that do not work, as evidenced by the fact that some police officers have been derelict in their duties. Some might even be For-Profit Charter Police Forces in which officers work on commission for each crime they solve, parking ticket they issue, jaywalker they arrest and so on.

Other things must change as well. It’s very clear present means of training police officers are not working, in that some police officers have been caught on camera engaging inappropriately with the public. Alternatives are desperately needed to replace historically ineffective means of preparation.

The first reform I suggest is to create a Police For America program, through which recent graduates of elite universities are assigned to the nation’s most dangerous, crime-plagued communities. The summer following graduation, they could take a 5-week Boot Camp in which they learn the entire profession of law enforcement. By the end of this period, they will be highly qualified to know how to operate a service revolver, arrest heroin dealers, conduct high-speed chases, arrest suspects without incident, and engage in the remainder of their duties.

Accepting a two-year term as inner city police officers should prepare them well for graduate school after they have completed their service to the public.

Innovative Charter Police Forces might also try other methods within the scope of the No Prisoners Left Behind Act. Rather than putting prisoners in jail cells, they might strap offenders to the front of commuter trains for the duration of their sentences, for example. The sky is the limit when you open your mind to new possibilities, especially when the sharpest and most knowledgeable people on the force are presumed to be 22-year-olds whose Boot Camp experience has prepared them for all law enforcement eventualities.

It’s important to make the people who train police officers accountable for the performance of the officers once they are on duty. Data for these assessments could come from crime statistics, and the only statistic needed to compute police effectiveness is the number of crimes committed on an officer’s assigned beat. A Value-Added Model could then single out specific officers and their trainers as statistically demonstrated failures, with the bottom 10 percent fired annually as a way to incentivize the reduction of crime. Of course, crimes committed on an officer’s beat when a particular officer is off duty would also count against his or her effectiveness score, and the score of his or her trainer(s).

An essential part of this approach would be to eliminate the pathetic excuse that poverty is a factor in crime. Although Police For America graduates would not be penalized for crimes committed on their watch in inner-city neighborhoods — their law degree applications would surely be compromised — all other police officers and their trainers will be evaluated identically, whether they are assigned to Buckhead or Bankhead. Fairness is a hallmark of this new approach.

Given their success with educational assessment, Pearson Education should be in charge of all training, education, and assessment of this program. Moreover, a program of such national significance needs a great leader to ensure its success. Such a person, I believe, should be independent of the status law enforcement quo.

All of us have lived in a nation governed by the rule of law, so each of us is well-qualified to serve in law enforcement at any level, making each of us eligible as CEO of this initiative. Given that it’s important for a national law enforcement official to come from a wealthy background, since high character follows from affluence, I believe that Khloé Kardashian should head up this program.

Perhaps the greatest virtue of the Charter Police Force movement is its populist roots — I have no background with law or police work, and so this recommendation comes straight from The People. Further, it has never been attempted before, even at the pilot level. On paper, it works impeccably well as the solution to crime in our communities. It should therefore be instituted immediately at the national level, with results expected by the end of the month.

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country. My only apologies go to Jonathan Swift, from whom I have plagiarized the penultimate line of this essay.

 

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54 comments
ZelIlano
ZelIlano

Good discussion ! I was fascinated by the details ! Does someone know if I might get a template Jamaica defence force application form version to fill in ?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Correction:  Evidently, I was mistaken about the Rev. Billy Graham's having apologized, personally, for not having done more for the cause of Civil Rights in the South.  It was the spokesperson for the Southern Baptist Convention who had made that apology in behalf of the (essentially white) Southern Baptists.  My apologies to Dr. Graham.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

"The nation has recently been exposed to cases of police misconduct in a variety of cities, from Baltimore to Cleveland to Ferguson and beyond."


Except that Michael Brown attacked a police officer when he got shot, or that 400# tub of lard Garner resisted arrest when he went unconscious, or the other guy in St Louis, who attacked a cop and tried to take his tazer when he got shot, or.....


Maybe what we need is reading comprehension classes for so-called English professors.....

popacorn
popacorn

From the NY Times: 'After a misprint in test booklets about the time allotted for taking part of the SAT earlier this month, the College Board said on Monday that it would not score two sections of the exam, and would waive its fees for students who wanted to take the test again.'


Time to dump the SAT!

Greg Palamas
Greg Palamas

I think it would be a wonderful idea for students at elite universities to spend two years as cops. Nothing would be more just than for them to live among the oppressed people they champion, solving their problems. I can hear the calls to the dispatcher now:

"Officer taking fire! Vibrant youth are deconstructing my white privlege!"

"I had to shoot an oppressed teen. Members of his peer group are gathering outside the local CVS to engage in acts of protest/resistance by liberating the OxyContin and ephedrine kept from them by an oppressive capitalist system."

"Their peaceful protest seems to be misunderstood by the local Koreans and Sikhs, whose wealth is being redistributed. They are fleeing the area. We need an immediate tactical diversity enrichment."

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Greg Palamas Except many, many colleges are not at all caring toward the "oppressed." They are conservatives in training.  Now SOME colleges do attract many liberals, frequently colleges that emphasize service to others.

Greg Palamas
Greg Palamas

I would love to know where all these conservative colleges are. My college of education was comprised entirely of Marxists, as is every single other college of education in America. Listening to them hold forth in class, whining about privlege and oppression and all the other cant and twaddle, made me wish Marx himself was there. Unlike those mediocrities, the doctor had a superb education, writing his dissertation on Lucretius. It is ironic that no one taught by any of his modern spiritual descendants will ever hear about that ancient Roman philosopher, unless they run out of White people to resent.

class80olddog
class80olddog

The "police for America" graduates would NOT need training in the service revolver, since weapons for policemen were outlawed years ago. Weapons just encourage violence and may damage the self-esteem of the criminal. We have adopted the position that if the police don't carry weapons, then the criminals won't either

popacorn
popacorn

@class80olddog

And although police deaths have skyrocketed, it's not a problem because there is an endless supply of less expensive cadets ready to take their place. But no one really knows because these deaths are not reported, and indeed covered up, in order to make the Academy look good. 


class80olddog
class80olddog

I don't think the PC crowd found our posts humorous

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@class80olddog 

I do, and am always accused here of being PC. 

Of course, not all of the posts are that humorous. It's rough though, having Jonathan Swift as your competitor......

popacorn
popacorn

Getting accepted to police school will be a snap, and graduating will be even easier. All cadets will graduate with honors. No minimum IQ required. Most police will be women, and cop cars will be pink and white with stuffed animals inside. Instead of a typical siren, the sound will be a loud, piercing, whining wail, audible at all times. All police will work part time, but be paid for full time work. None will work in the summer, and all will have a calendar marking the days until retirement. Once in retirement, they will have all the answers, and piss and moan and brag about how they lowered the crime rate to 0 during their tenure.  They will discuss and analyze, at length and in depth, how to fight crime and help the community, but in reality do nothing about it.

All the while, complaining about their pay. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

Some police administrators, in order to make their precinct look better, have been changing the trial verdicts from guilty to not guilty.

class80olddog
class80olddog

One of the worst teachings in the current Police Academy was the teaching that a criminal should not be put in jail if he committed a crime. So year after year when trials indicated a person was guilty, they were freed in the vague hope that they would get through the next year without committing a crime.

class80olddog
class80olddog

the legislature, seeing an obvious increase in crime, started requiring police officers to hold more trials. A lot of police officers, afraid that this would make them look bad, have been campaigning for "less trials". Obviously less trials would make it seem like less crime. The legislature also created a "grand trial" to determine if a person had never been a criminal, and if do gave them a Good Citizen Certificate. Then families of criminals complained so the grand trial was eliminated. Then the legislature, bowing to pressure, granted Good Citizen Certificates to 8000 convicted murderers. Of course now these Good Citizen Certificates are worthless.

Dee4685
Dee4685

Love this: "All of us have lived in a nation governed by the rule of law, so each of us is well-qualified to serve in law enforcement at any level, making each of us eligible as CEO of this initiative." --perfect parallel to all those who think they're experts in education because they've been students in schools. Thanks for writing this.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Dee4685


So true!  The thoughts, above, were what I had reference to, in my first post on this thread, when I wrote:


"As darkly humorous, but sadly true, for teachers as for police officers.  The perceptions of "The People" - by popular consensus - Oh, My!"

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Dee4685 And we will be guided by, as advisors, former police officers who falsified data, or were police officers for a few months, or who just have a great deal of money!

scrappy-22
scrappy-22

"Further, it has never been attempted before, even at the pilot level. On paper, it works impeccably well as the solution to crime in our communities. It should therefore be instituted immediately at the national level, with results expected by the end of the month."


Definitely my favorite line, and right on point. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@scrappy-22


The thoughts above were, also, what I had reference to, when I wrote my lines about the perceptions of "The People - "Oh, My!" 

class80olddog
class80olddog

I don't think you mentioned enough in your article about WHY the need to create a Charter Police Force.  The traditional police force had been stripped of all powers, not allowed to carry any weapons, not allowed to chase a criminal, and if they talked to the criminal in the wrong way, the criminal is set free (geez, this is sounding SCARY).  Furthermore, ALL criminals must be treated in exactly the same way.  Because we recognize that poverty is the source of all crime, any criminal who comes from a poor family will have all crimes (even murder) excused and will be let free.  Criminals will not be penalized if they do not show up for their court date.  Finally, criminals who have been proven guilty will be given a suspended sentence and "promoted" back into society.


Thank goodness we recognized how idiotic the system had become and created this Charter Police Force that actually is freed from some of these ridiculous requirements, and able to go back to the tried and true police methods that worked in years past.


The Police For America program was an audacious program, but has actually worked well because those Police Officers had never received the brainwashing from the current Police Academy and had not become jaded by the status quo.


Thank you, Charter Police Officers, I can finally sleep peacefully at night without fear for my life!!

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

''We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.''  Jonathan Swift

Astropig
Astropig

@MaryElizabethSings @redweather


" Even ministers as revered as the Rev. Billy Graham would not speak out against the evil of segregation of the races.  "We are all one, in the Holy Spirit."  MES"


Total, self serving nonsense. In my little corner of GA, it's really well known that Billy Graham took a courageous stand for inclusion of all races in his crusades.Just across the border in Chattanooga, he made a little history-


http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/326348.aspx


Get your facts straight. I'm not a religious person by any standard,but I hate to see falsehoods spread by people with an agenda.

Astropig
Astropig

@MaryElizabethSings @Astropig


So your grandfather had him speak multiple times and only now you imply that he didn't do enough (in your mind) to build bridges between people of faith of all races?


Profiles in courage- circa 2015.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@redweather @MaryElizabethSings


Few would.  I remember during the turbulent 1960s when the most segregated time of day and week was on Sunday mornings in places of "worship."  Even ministers as revered as the Rev. Billy Graham would not speak out against the evil of segregation of the races.  "We are all one, in the Holy Spirit."  MES

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Astropig 


It is obvious to me from most of your posts that "(you) are not a religious person by any standard," but at least you have self-awareness enough to see that and honesty enough acknowledge it.


As for my facts about the Rev. Billy Graham, who often spoke at my grandfather's events in NC, Dr. Graham, himself, later made a public apology to the American people for his not having spoken out strongly enough against the evils of segregation. Now, there was a man with the grace of the Holy Spirit.  (Google it, yourself, to read the veracity of that fact.)


bu2
bu2

@MaryElizabethSings @Astropig 

From astropig's article:

On the black side, Graham found himself facing criticism that he wasn't doing enough so support the black community and that he "didn't speak enough about civil rights," BGEA associate evangelist Dr. Ralph Bell said.

Graham went to King for advice.

Graham recounted his conversation with King: "Martin Luther King suggested to me that I stay in the South and hold integrated meetings and that he was going to take to the streets and that he would probably get killed in the streets. 'But I don't think you ought to because you are going to be able to do some things that I can't and I'm going to be able to do some things you can't, but we're after the same objective.'"

And so he did, holding crusades from Arkansas to Alabama.

"So here we were with neighborhood after neighborhood after neighborhood in my state on the verge of violence, and yet tens of thousands of black and white Christians were there together in a football stadium," recalled former President Bill Clinton.

"And when he issued the call at the end of this message, thousands came down holding hands, arm in arm crying," Clinton said. "It was the beginning of the end of the old South in my home state. I will never forget it."

bu2
bu2

@MaryElizabethSings @bu2 


A sermon from one of my minister's stays in my mind.  The theme was that you shouldn't be waiting for the big things to help the world.  It was the every day small things.  There was a line from the movie "The Hobbit."  Gandalf says the other wizard only thinks the powerful can hold back evil.  He says its the opposite.  Its the every day small kindnesses that hold back the darkness.


Most crusaders think they make change by standing in the pulpit and calling out those that don't share their point of view.  But that often tends to harden attitudes and draw lines.  Small things, like sharing a revival, can sometimes do far more than any amount of protests and pontification.


Astropig
Astropig

@bu2 @MaryElizabethSings


Agree. Really not equitable to judge anybody today by the standards of 50 years ago.Social constructs that weren't even imagined then are common in our day.

bu2
bu2

@MaryElizabethSings @bu2 

In media, people like Oliver Stone just preach to the choir.  They don't influence anyone.  But TV shows like Julia, the Jeffersons and Room 222 can influence without preaching.


If Billy Graham had come out very strongly, he might well have lost his audience and influence.

popacorn
popacorn

Even funnier when teachers compare themselves to doctors. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn 

You don't seem to get it. This is not a favorable portrayal of the Teach For America teachers!

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@popacorn Even sadder when John Q PUblioc believes schools can be run like businesses!

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

Peter, a suggested change, please:

Innovative Charter Police Forces might also try other methods within the scope of the No Prisoners Left Behind Act as well as within the incentivizing scope of the Shoot to the Top Competition.

Astropig
Astropig

@jerryeads


 Speaking strictly for me, I appreciate his using recent human tragedies (including deaths) to satirize the problems facing America. My knee is sore from all of that slapping.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Astropig @Wascatlady @jerryeads 

Hm.  You suggest a level that hadn't occurred to me: the comparison of the neophyte Teach For America grads to the police officers involved in Ferguson, et. al....implying the officers were also neophytes or else that the TFA grads are like those officers with similar final results. Makes this more savage satire...but Swift's original was pretty savage too, suggesting that impoverished Ireland could solve its problems by selling its children to the English as plump roasts to be eaten.


Good one.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig @jerryeads Astro, so it is okay to use recent human tragedies for political commentary by one hand, but not by the other hand?

Mandella88
Mandella88

@Astropig @jerryeads

Waaaa, waaaa, waa....

(sniffles)

A.pig got his widdle bitty feelings hurt and now he wants to be the stoic blogger of all that is righteous