Across the country we see policing work as it was intended –to contain and control those that society fears. As a result, trust in police and the government that employs them has eroded.
We have real concerns around public safety. Shootings are up and too many young people are losing their lives in neighborhoods like Brownsville and the South Bronx. Some communities are fearful of homeless residents who may suffer from serious mental health or substance use issues. Too often we make poverty a crime or criminalize people when what they need is a mental health professional, a social worker, a mediator or a job. In fact, the majority of calls the NYPD receives are for problems, not for crimes–problems that can be solved by people who don’t have a gun or a badge. We have an opportunity to reengineer how we respond to the crisis and non-crisis needs of our residents.
We also need leadership that will demand law enforcement accountability and culture change. Leadership that believes we can demilitarize the force while still clearly responding to and investigating serious crime, illegal guns, and threats of terrorism. Leadership that forges real partnership and community power through both precinct-level community participation in policy and priority-setting as well as a civilian commission tasked with formal and transparent stakeholder input.
Read Maya’s plan to address gun violence here.