In multiple cities across the nation, calls for police reform have ignited protesters to destroy standing statues, establish an autonomous zone in
In multiple cities across the nation, calls for police reform have ignited protesters to destroy standing statues, establish an autonomous zone in Seattle and even assault a state senator in Wisconsin. Yet, when lawmakers attempt to pass police reform bills, both sides of the aisle can’t seem to agree on legislation. Wednesday, a Republican-authored police reform bill failed in a Senate test vote after Democrats opposed the bill on the basis it did not go far enough.
According to a sheriff on Long Island, N.Y., politics will play a significant role in how policing continues in our nation.
“We know this is a very unfortunate circumstance, but clearly politics is playing a huge role in how police should actually police,” Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon told Fox News.
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As calls to defund the police are being chanted by protesters, Toulon thinks that is an extreme approach that won’t work.
“I think if the community, our elected officials, our police officials all come together in each city to meet the specific needs of those residents, we can come to a common agreement– while also understanding [that] maybe there are some things that police are not understanding that’s going on in the community and definitely the community does not understand why certain tactics are used,” Toulon said. “The police are not going after innocent civilians. We’re looking at hostile individuals who are looting, rioting, disrespecting. They’re doing things to the police that they wouldn’t want done to them.”
When it comes to police reform, Toulon thinks training can be an effective way to make changes in police departments.
“We really need to take a hard look at the police officers. The officer that comes on in their early 20s is not the same officer in their early 30s and early 40s. And so it’s really incumbent upon supervisors to make those tough decisions, whether it’s an individual [that] needs to be retrained or maybe someone just isn’t suitable for the job anymore. And it’s tough. It’s tough on law enforcement to say that. But maybe we have to look at whether the individuals that are working for us should still remain police officers,” Toulon who has worked in law enforcement for 30 years said.
Toulon says police departments need to have constant retraining instead of a single hours-long training seminar once a year that’s typically state-mandated.
“We really need to reinforce this training. We need to engage with our staff. We need to talk to our staff. We need to have regular meetings. And we have to have those hard discussions about the staff members who may not be performing appropriately,” said Toulon.
Police have a job to protect and serve the community but officers are asked to play many roles and deal with issues that far outweigh the scope of their positions. Sheriff Toulon believes these issues are “breakdowns in society” that must be addressed.
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“When you talk about when there [is] police involvement with someone in the community, there are many, many breakdowns before it even gets to the police department. Education, health care, employment, housing, all of those things are a culmination of an individual to have some sort of criminality or some sort of criminogenic behavior.”
When it comes to the “blue flu,” which is a strike action in which members are absent on the prefix of sickness. The NYPD, LAPD, Atlanta Police Department have experienced a number of call-outs and a text message was sent out urging officers in Chicago to make fewer arrests, and to call out sick. Sheriff Toulon is urging officers to resist these calls and to remember “the oath to protect and to serve.”
“All of our law enforcement agencies throughout the country are dealing with difficult circumstances. They feel like they’re under siege. They’re not supported by a lot of their elected officials,” explained Toulon. “And so it’s understandable that the old guard would say, no, just call in sick. But these officers took an oath to protect and serve. Calling out sick in mass is not the solution to what’s occurring right now,” said Toulon.