Majority Leader Paul Gazelka knows what is needed for police reform and he cannot understand why Democrats are not gleefully embracing their proposals…
So what are they? In a late night video, Gazelka gave us a brief outline.
- Ban choke holds…except in an emergency situation. Trump was floating this today as well and let’s just be blunt, it is worthless. Police classify everything as an emergency. When dealing with suspects you know that they will label anything they do as necessary for the emergency situation. So the only real method of change here is to ban the use of the choke hold altogether, period.
- Training in crisis intervention, cultural diversity, and mental illness. I am not sure what Gazelka means by this, because most jurisdictions have been doing this education process for some time now. Either the education is not working or the police don’t bother applying it. And besides, how would you enforce this and what would constitute a violation. And as for mental illness, police officers are never going to be trained enough in mental illness to make a difference on the street. Bring in actual mental illness professionals. Again, GOP ideas are pretty much worthless in practicality.
- Mental health treatment after trauma. The interesting thing to note here is that Gazelka is wanting more help for the police officers involved in these incidents. If they shoot someone, then they need to get help to deal with the “trauma”. I think mental health intervention would be helpful prior to any escalation for both the officers and victims. Screen the officers when they are trained, not after they have a problem. A few sessions with a psychiatrist seems unlikely to alter an officer’s behavior anyway.
- Expand background checks for employees of the law enforcement agencies. Which begs the question, haven’t they been doing that before? Please don’t tell me they have less secure background checks in regards to employees than they do with guns – because that will never instill any confidence….and what is the penalty if something is missed?
- Mandatory reporting of deadly force incidents to the BCA. Same question…they have not been doing that already? It is almost like deadly force by a police officer is never really a crime? So now, the GOP decides it needs to be mandatory and then the BCA will whitewash the investigation like they generally do with police incidents. Hand the investigation outside of the law enforcement chain – to either the Attorney General or an independent investigator. Once again, another watered down action.
- Blunt force as last resort. Seriously, Gazelka, saying that and developing policy that enforces that are totally different things. I am sure that police training says protect life and use blunt or deadly force as a last resort. Really, does anyone believe that in the incidents we have recently witnessed, cops are seriously resorting to weapons in a slow and deliberative manner? Again, either have some kind of penalty or outside investigation. Too much talk – no action.
- Duty for officers to intervene if another officer is out of control. Yes, absolutely. But make any officer on the scene an accessory to any crime committed if they do NOT intervene. Yeah, in the heat of the moment it can be difficult, but anyone who witnessed the George Floyd murder knows that the other officers watching had plenty of time to do something but did not. It is a code – a bad code – within the force. They protect their own.
So there you have it. The Republicans are solving the issue of police use of force. Gazelka cannot understand why he is not being praised for his legislative initiative. The Democrats are just silly to criticize this.
I think we all know better than that. This is just another whitewash. Throw a few bones and make it all go away so that law enforcement can get back to doing what they always do.
A corrupt force protected from within by the brotherhood and by the GOP legislators on the outside.
I think Gazelka needs to stand aside.