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re-imagine the police. tom and rp sit down to discuss the state of policing in america with police chief william bratton. amid mounting encouragement to reform policing in america, bratton discusses systemic changes from both outside and inside the police. bratton served as the New York City police commissioner for two terms (1994–1996 and 2014–2016) after previously serving as the Boston police commissioner. he also took on the role of chief of police in L.A. and continues to influence American law enforcement today. he is the author of the book Turnaround.
tom scott is chairman & co-founder of the nantucket project. rp eddy was the architect of the Clinton administration’s pandemic response framework and the United Nations response to the global AIDS epidemic & is CEO of global intelligence firm Ergo.
rp is co-author of the best-selling award-winning book Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes with Richard A. Clarke, Former National Security Council counterterrorism adviser.
rp daily re-imagine the police.mp3
[00:00:18] Good morning, everybody, my name is Tom Scott. Chairman of the Nantucket Project, join, as I always am, by R.P. Eddy. Also today by Chief William Bratton, who Arpey, who has a long history with and is going to give us an introduction to the chief. So, Arpey, take it away.
[00:00:35] Chief, I’m so glad you’re here. Thanks for being here.
[00:00:37] In as an unfamiliar and I don’t think many people are, you’re considered perhaps one of the greatest leaders of policing in last century. I’m not the only person to have said that far, far from it. You’re the only person to have been the chief of police of both L.A. and New York, America’s largest cities. In fact, you were the police, the police leader in New York twice. You are largely credited for the massive decline in crime in New York from about 26, 27 years ago, when it was perhaps the least livable, least safe city in America to now when it’s one of the safest in America. Most folks say you are a humungous, if not the sole reason for that to happen. You also, as I mentioned, the police commissioner of Los Angeles, end of Boston, you’ve helped London and the UK with their policing system. You’ve been recognized by the queen as a OBD for your service there. And you’re generally recognized as one of the foremost leaders on on advances in policing, such as cop stop broken Windows series, variety of other things. You and I have been friends for well over a decade. It’s been a pleasure to work with you. You and I spent most of our time working on counterterrorism, another area where you’ve been an extraordinary leader. And perhaps as we talked today, counter-terrorism might be one of the reasons the police are in a bit of the pickle they’re in today about the militarization of police. It’s something we hear a lot about, etc.. So it’s it’s a privilege to have you here. I really appreciate you taking the time. And I look forward to learning from you in a moment when being a police officer in America is probably as hard as ever been. And being a black man in America is probably as hard as it’s ever been as well. So this is a tumultuous time. And leaders like you who have deep knowledge, deep wisdom and deep empathy are going to be critical to us to to chart a path ahead. Well, I know there’s a lot of good actors and way more than there are bad actors. So thanks for spending some time with us.
[00:02:22] It’s great to be with you. If I may expand a little on the introduction as relates to you and I. When I go back a little, almost a quarter of a century, not 10 years.
[00:02:31] That is how much time flies experience together expanded greatly post 9/11 days that those that know, you know, you have a particular interest and expertize in the area. Terrorism, your relationship with many of the top leaders in the world in that regard. Coming up, Richard Clarke, who certainly was a major player in the events of 9/11, was introduced to to you. Our relationship is that close that, you know, I offered you a position with me when I went to the LAPD with John Miller, who was heading up counterterrorism, to come out and work with us to create for that department its counterterrorism expansion after 9/11. And we’ve kept in touch on a myriad of issues since that time and a privilege to be here to also attend that great conference you put together here in New York with many of the leaders in the world discussing many of the world’s issues. I can hardly wait for the 20/20 version of that for all that’s going on. It’s going to have room for all the issues that need to be discussed. So just a little background for you, your audience in terms of I am a sensitive patient.
[00:03:44] Thank you, Chief.
[00:03:49] Chief, what I thought I do is just give you a little bit more of an intro to the show and then also just to give an audience a sense of the point of view as we come at this today. I think it goes without saying where three white men here, our perspectives are what they are and limited to certain extent, which makes sense to me. My great grandfather, Charlie Scott, was the chief of police of Porchester, New York, many years ago.
[00:04:13] My father, both father and brother Marines. I would describe myself politically as a version of a libertarian, which is to say generally maybe a little bit more conservative than most. But I also have a specific view of the time that we’re in, and it relates in many ways to that the tenor of the show. And generally we’ve avoided politics because our feeling was that particularly in a time of Kova getting out really reliable information, which was very meaningful and towards the tail end or whatever, or, you know, a number of months into the covered story, the George flawed story kind of blew up. And the tenor of the show has changed a little bit. And I thought that I would give us just a quick video introduction, which sort of outlines partly my point of view, because you’ll see it a lot from my point of view. But I think also will outline generally the point of view of the show itself and in a way that I think might be helpful both to you and to people watching. So I’m going to do that now.
[00:05:23] Friday, I participated in a in a demonstration in the city. I went to New York and who was a Black Lives Matter gathering. And it was pretty powerful, I have to say, was one of the more powerful experiences in my life. I got very emotional, you know, and I got emotional in an unexpected moments from unexpected things. It was people’s passion. Like I was really inspired by their passion was very clear to me that there was big groups of people who were sort of at their wit’s end. But they also just had such I felt hope. That’s what I felt. I felt a degree of hope and like a strident desire to be heard. And I thought I was beautiful. What followed was the mayor of Washington and the city council.
[00:06:19] Change the name of the it became Black Lives Matter Plaza. They wrote Black Lives Matter in the road.
[00:06:25] In between the street and the White House is Lafayette Square. And this image from the sky showed the White House currently occupied by Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter. And for me, I posted that on Instagram. I’ve never done a political post. I don’t know if you call that a political post. I guess you’d probably call it political post. I know exactly where I stand on that image. I know exactly that. I stand with the hopes of what Black Lives Lives Matter currently represents versus the way the White House is acting and speaking. I just I know exactly where I stand and that, you know, anyone who starts starts to bring up different technicalities of either side of that equation. I know exactly where I stand on that equation, which brought me to do it. And you’re right. We are talking a lot about Donald Trump. It’s interesting because you if you’ve been listening, you hear us say what we say about politics.
[00:07:24] But what we and we talk about it from a point of view of humanity like we want to be. We wanted to be informative to humanity about covered. And I stand there still. But I think humanity has been played out so clearly in my head that it’s hard to keep my mouth shut. And in some ways, it does relate to my children, but it also just relates to this notion of my brothers and my sisters, symbolically speaking, at myse fellow citizens like I want to. I want to be part of a healthy, happy, loving culture. And therefore, whether you think we should be back to business or not around COVA, just wear a mask. It’s OK. Like no one’s it’s OK. You’re going to be better off with the mask and you can probably be in business and you can treat people with respect and you can treat people with love and lift them up and do. Those are the things we do not have to be an opposition to ourselves all the time. And if the president is going to so loudly proclaim his desire for divisiveness, I’m going to declare the other. So, you know, you get a sense I mean, again, that was a lot of that was personal to me.
[00:08:26] But I think it also reflects the journey that the show has been on. And I’m comfortable today talking about specifics, of course. Oh, maybe it’s not, of course. But I am. And I know that this the spirit of the conversation will be healthy. But I also just wanted to, again, set up short sort of how we were viewing this and why I think, you know, having these kinds of conversations at this time is is, you know, important, but also tricky. And I’m sure this isn’t the first you’ve heard of this. So anyway, Arpey, that that’s sort of my setup for today. And I’m going to toss it to you and and let let’s let’s get into it. And again, Chief, thank you so much for being here. We really appreciate it.
[00:09:07] Chief Bratton, again, it’s so great to be with you. Thanks. This is one of you. Is there been a more difficult time to be a police officer right now? Is there ever been a moment that’s been as complex as this right now what we’re seeing?
[00:09:20] I don’t think there’s ever been a more difficult time, but certainly from my experiences over 50 years and.
[00:09:29] The idea of the show being on a journey, in fact, policing has been on a journey since. What I would describe as its beginning in 1829, Sir Robert Peel. Metropolitan Police has nine principles which have been basically my Bible. And that first principle was that the basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder. And another principles is the idea that the people are the police and the police are the people. And I would describe where we are on that journey now as in question point, as a extraordinary point in time, a time of revolution.
[00:10:15] The 50 years I’ve been associated with policing has been an evolutionary period interrupted by four or five revolutions. Let me take a moment just to take you back and bring you forward. 1970, I commit to policing in Boston. Just back in Vietnam War was a time of great change in our country. Similar demonstrations we’re experiencing now against the war in support of civil rights time with great hope and optimism, so much of which faded over the next 20 years as the issues of race seemingly got better. But as we’re clearly seen recently, there was always just beneath the surface, this volcano ready to erupt. Policing also went through phenomenal changes in this time mostly for the better. We entered in the 70s and 80s, what we call the professional era, which were going to try and professionalize, try and prove ourselves. And we ended up in what we describe also as the response, Florian’s era emphasis on responding to crime after the fact. 9/11 reactive investigations wasn’t we please could prevent crime, that society was going to be responsible for that. But society failed miserably in the 70s and 80s. So by 1990, after 10 years of steady crime increase, 1990 was crime in the history of our country. Certainly New York City is reflected on that. Police, leaders, academics, reformers, community activists got together in Harvard Kennedy School and at the executive sessions and came up with a new philosophy of policing called Community Policing, the idea of partnership, community working together, focusing on mutually agreed problems with a return to emphasis on prevention. And it’s been my model of policing actually since the 70s as a young guy in Boston. The focus of Sir Robert Peel on not only the prevention of crime, but also just sort of the so-called broken windows quality of life, emphasized something we must focus on in the 70s and 80s. And in responding only to crime, we didn’t focus on preventing it in the 90s in the community police era. We created a new successful revolutionary step, timely, accurate focus on crime, the extent that we could predict where was going to occur. Focus on also quality of life to prevent things from getting larger. By focusing on them when they were small for that area, we also began what has been one of the main targets of a lot of the demonstrations. Mass incarceration. We had to try to correct the chaos of the 70s and 80s. Well intended efforts to control behavior. A lot of people went to jail, started to join treatment to alternative types of correction of behavior. And we ended up with some of the terrible grievances we’re dealing with today. We also one of the tools we use was overused over the next 20 or 30 years by American police in New York and elsewhere. That’s the stop, question and frisk tool. Absolutely essential policing. But it was overused in any event. The 90s saw 40 to 50 percent decline in violent crime in the country. And as we moved into the 21st century, we were then in the midst of another revolution, 9/11, which by policing into the counterterrorism world, but policing coming into the counterterrorism world became much more intrusive into the private lives of many citizens, Muslim citizens. Once again, our black citizens in new ways that were being challenged. So police will once again find themselves in conflict. And then we ended another revolution in 2006 to 2008, social media revolution. The smartphone was invented. And without all the technology that’s flow creating the social media effort, kindle Twitter so much that shapes our world today. And please, trying to get their minds around that and to use it. And then now the era that we’re in, which effectively is the precision focus of policing, using intelligence so that we can concentrate on the criminal that we identify rather than the broad. Minority community that we live, in many respects abusing over you, stop, question, frisk, even understanding the unrecognized aspect of that world, that the majority of crime in our country, unfortunately, in cities, occurs in the inner city on minority neighborhoods. Vast majority of victims are minority and unfortunately, the vast majority of perpetrators minority. So police as to became more precise when it’s dealing with terrorism, dealing with traditional time is short up with finding themselves in increasing conflict. But along the way, we lost an important component of what some of it feel identified. And that was legitimacy. We lost the support of those. We are trying to protect those we are trying to prevent crime for. And the crux of the issue now in this era of racial redress is that what people are demanding is police legitimacy, transparency, accountability, much more responsiveness. So you correct a long winded answer. This is our time, like any other time.
[00:15:36] No surprise. But that was encyclopedic, probably because you were part of that initial conversation. All those conversations, including the one at Harvard where you decided to direct policing back towards community policing. So if I hear you correctly, you had there is this initiative in 70s and 80s, probably more in the 80s of let’s get back to serving our communities back to the Peel Principle. But at the same time, you have mass incarceration going on. You have overuse of stop and frisk going on. You have counter-terrorism being given to policing, something you and I worked a lot on in a role that I think policing is critical. Police have a critical role in and in the entire time. Police are losing legitimacy because of those some of those behaviors being overused. And in many communities, police are looked more as occupiers, looked at more as occupiers and worriers, and less as a group working with the community and more as a group working upon the community. And so that entire thing, again, as you say, the police began to lose legitimacy in many communities. And that actually leads not only to huge problems, often for minority populations, but an inability to police as well as a police officer or police department. Should the communities not working with you? You’re not getting the intelligence. You’re not getting the insights. You’re seeing, again, as an occupier. And it becomes a really nasty dynamic.
[00:16:57] Is that is that about my summarizing effectively what I think I heard you say that the frustration of American police leaders at this time and I’ve been very fortunate over these last 50 years, particularly over the last 30. I’ve worked with some extraordinary reformers. I myself describe myself as a. I think they would describe themselves as progressive, Democrat or Republican. We serve whatever the office holders party might be, but progressive in the sense that we recognize were always evolving and always seeking to get better. So in many respects, we’ve been leading the modernization of policing. We’ve been leading the of community policing. We’ve been leading the embrace of transparency. A frustration we feel at the moment. And I’ll speak for myself. I think I speak for my colleagues who I stay in close touch with, many of the major chiefs of major cities that are in the midst of all of this travel. I would describe this as an Etch a Sketch moment for us in that 20, 30 years of significant reform of our profession that has resulted in a traumatic turnaround of crime, effectively addressing terrorism, trying to address all the changes that technology has brought about, dealing with the very contentious debates around artificial intelligence, facial recognition, use of cameras, the whole idea of social media privacy that we’re in the middle of all of that. And I think we have really come a long way. Minority representation in apartments and women of minority communities, all communities, gay communities, for example. And our frustration is at the moment, the demonstrations that we referred to that are still going on, most of them now very largely peaceful, thank God, because they’ll get done with that violence. But that is not a recognition of how far we’ve come. In some respects, it’s as if all the progress of the last particularly 20, 30 years, going back to 1990, the creation of very policing. It’s as if none of that ever happened to date. Police departments that are now being attacked, New York City, L.A., Boston, maybe to a lesser extent, L.A. and New York. Once we started this more significant reformation of any organization in America, the consent decree in Los Angeles that I get it up to seven years largest in the country, New York, with all the oversight that everybody is demanding, it already is. So we are not a perfect institution like Madison trying to divide us. It’s not a perfect institution because it’s still wrestling with how to deal with it both to try to advance it, as well as to try to heal it. We’re still wrestling with what is the best way to prevent it as well as to heal it. And we give it no credit at all for the many positive changes. So as we seek to now come to common ground and collaborate, you’re going to hear police chiefs advocating that, look, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. A lot of the things we’ve been doing already work. It’s a matter of institutionalizing them in many departments, changing that culture. So much of what’s being looked at is cultural change.
[00:20:09] So there are there are clearly there many dramatic advances in policing.
[00:20:17] And I think you’ve described them really clearly in a way that makes a lot of sense. At the same time, there are these absolutely inhuman brutalities that we now all share the slow motion murder of George Floyd. We all have to see we all, unfortunately, should stand with and witness to. And it appears to be a drumbeat. It happens over and over and over. Now, I know there’s lots of ways of looking at that. Well, so sure. While there’s black men being murdered by police with some regularity among one million law enforcement officers in America. Right. So I understand that statistically we’re understanding what we’re looking at. And I also understand that there’s violence against police officers. But the focus right now is on that violence against black people and particularly black men. And and as much as there has been all this progress with policing, there are still departments and there are still parts of certain departments, I suspect you agree, that need a dramatic shift. And again, I’m thinking of the police chief of Camden, a protege of yours. I think his name is Scott Thompson. And you were saying earlier and I’ll I’ll just I’ll just make sure one understands the time I’ve spent with dozens of police chiefs. They all really of major police departments are your proteges. Right. So to listen to you right now is a huge privilege. You have an insight into what’s going on there. Scott Thompson had a previous head of the Camden Police Department completely defunded, stopped his entire police department, rebuilt it. And in so doing, really does not try to design this police department type the mentality. Again, back to your Peel principle of S.O.P, citizens on patrol by the citizens with the citizens versus occupiers and warriors. It appears that it worked. I don’t know that you need to do that in L.A. or New York or Boston. Departments you ran in perhaps this because you ran them or the consent decree or other things. But are the departments around the city or part of Suzanne, around the world or parts of departments where we need to do something this dramatic? We have to say, look, just stop, restart, regear. We understand, get back to we need community policing and demilitarize, et cetera, and understand that you are servant leaders. You are here to serve and protect. Is that necessary in some places or not?
[00:22:32] It’s definitely necessary. And the good news is we are at that inflection point where there is an opportunity to reimagine.
[00:22:40] Yes, Sir Robert Peel did an 18 twenty with his imagination at the beginning of policing. What police should be doing and if you look, is nine principles. Basically, there is every bit as applicable today as they were back then. But we imagining police is the idea of so much has been put upon the police as governments and budget crises in response to move waves of epidemics, whether it’s the mentally ill, whether it’s the drug addiction issues of crack in the 80s. Opioids are the most recent time that the homeless issue, which has been forced upon the police in a big way that always reminded that commercial many years ago of give it to Mikey.
[00:23:20] Mikey will lead it. We’ll give it to the police. Won’t do it. And look at what’s been lately dumped on the police. Why? Because we’re there 24 hours a day like the fire. And with with the exception of hospitals where the only three entities that are there 24 hours a day. And when we imagine the police, a lot of work we’re looking at is taking some of those responsibilities away from us and giving them over to people who are more skilled, more trained, added or sharing those responsibilities.
[00:23:52] The AWC has been investing with this with the homeless issue, spending billions of dollars on it with very mixed success. But we need to imagine what is the role of the police? The concept of defunding the police effectively. If you look at it, it’s four elements. It’s we form the police. We imagine he’s talking about defunding, taking actual money away and maybe putting it into other services. Dismantling the police are not going to happen. That’s a paradigm shift that most people are not going to accept. And the abolition of the police will have to be pretty far left so far to the left that you’re actually not even in the frame frame any longer. Nobody’s going to basically abolish the police. So we are focusing on reform. We imagination. But ironically, talking about doing that with less money. So how are we going to train the officers, retrain them? How are we going to attract new officers at a time when policing is being so vigorously attacked for its failings and not celebrated for any of its successes? How do you expect that we’re going to get minority young men and women in to police departments? We’ve been actually doing pretty well. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago. Almost every flexion of the population concentrations. So they are all minority majority police departments now, but are going to continue to attract young people into this profession. When has been so vilified? That’s why I talk about the Etch A Sketch moment. Instead of taking a look at this has failed. But this has worked. We talked about Scott Thompson. Everything Scott did in Camden was a reflection of things that were being done in Boston, Los Angeles, New York being done on larger scale. He had the benefit, the phenomenal benefit of being able to effectively get rid of his city police department. But the services were taken over immediately by the county. So he was able to effectively take the best bit of the worst and had phenomenal success, 50 percent reduction in crime and an extraordinarily distressed community.
[00:25:59] So where we are is not where we want to be. It’s a long way from where we want to be. But in that evolution I keep talking about that is an opportunity to in the course of this revolution, let’s get it right. In all the previous revolutions, we’ve got some things right. But we also got a lot more. I worry in the frenzy of the moment that we don’t have the time to really work on it, digest it and come out of it with benefits for all.
[00:26:33] I think it’s important that, wow, there’s a tremendous amount to be proud of about how policing has evolved.
[00:26:41] And I think you mentioned a lot of the new burdens police have had. That this is also a moment when we have to recognize and you’re clearly doing this, that policing in some places by some police or maybe general aspects of culture across police have got to change. And I think a lot of what I hear you talking about, a lot of your protege is talk about about the the occupier mentality, the warrior mentality, kind of it’s a bit of a, you know, the samurai versus Ronin, you know, the armed the armed person who’s enforcing the law upon people versus with people. As much as we can get away from that, as much as we can acknowledge that the better part of what. When you mentioned what defined police means and you know, it means a lot of things, a lot of people to Rashomon. One thing, it means that any good. Be very careful about is it means to further write law and order voters. And that’s a category of voters. They’re called law and order voters. It’s a dog whistle that Donald Trump is using to motivate them to vote for him. Because of the point you make, Chief Bratton, that, you know, there’s this immature idea that we’ll just get rid of policing. Obviously, we can’t do that. We have to be able to protect the sheep from the wolves with sheep dogs. The sheep dogs need to be there. But it’s become a dog whistle. I guess I’m really extending the dog, the dog analogy, or it’s become a dog whistle to far right voters because of its it’s fear and basing to them, looking at videos of our president sending videos of African-Americans hurting white people, you know, is really blowing the dog whistle hard. But I think this is a moment where people like you. I’m so glad you’re standing up and others saying like, let’s reconsider how citizens can work with citizens to reduce crime and let’s reconsider what it is we ask of police. I think it’s worth noting that you go back to this moment where community policing was created a re-created in the 80s and 90s and again, largely by you and in and of itself, that probably would have been a pure and good mission and it probably would’ve been largely successful. But too much then was asked of the police and put on them. And perhaps we have to figure out how to break it down. I think of New York, where you dial nine one one nominally for an emergency or a violent crime. You dial three one one for a lifestyle problem, a noise violation, a parking issue or whatever. And I think of the UK where you’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of the police response and police presence is unarmed. More of that three one one de escalating community policing. Get to know your town kind of policing that you’ve advocated for so long. When you need the nine one one emergency response, you need the armed response. It shows up. Is there a role to take the guns away from a number of police officers or law enforcement officers or community polices or community assistance in this country? Can we get towards that British model or are we too much of a gun culture and unable to do that?
[00:29:42] And we have several comments in Britain. There is great dissatisfaction with police services, has been for generations now, despite Postum being unarmed, free choice unions over there have consistently voiced opposition to being armed, that focusing on de-escalation would properly what living in a very different society than us in a country like ours with more guns and people with the love of firearms. The history of firearms. England is a very different society, so you really cannot compare the two experiences. But even in England, Mendis racial tension around policing talked about this idea of policing in America. There’s no belief in America today to disarm the police. I’m sorry. The society we live in. You can’t ask officers to go to the dangers they face. It’s terrorism. Traditional crime can’t do it. Can we seek to involve many other types of agencies working in partnership with them? Oftentimes. Maybe separate from them. This is the funding effort that we’re talking about. Possibly that some of the things that been proposed, New York has tried it with limited success. One of the reasons things keep getting dumped on the police is that the use of police powers oftentimes ends up becoming necessary. Isn’t New York City every four minutes. Give us a call. An emotionally disturbed person in the city. That call usually fits a nine on one. They now have teams of officers and specially trained medical people that can respond to some of those calls. But so often those calls, you don’t know what’s happening to you. Get them. And that’s the difficulty. Three. One, one. Judy, what you just described, those type of calls. It was nobody in New York to respond to those three one one calls except the police.
[00:31:40] We won one when it was set up by may have Bloomberg. It was not something that was going to take police out of the response picture effectively, just basically remove the emergency out of it. Nine one one was priority one, life threatening calls for people and one was far less life threatening. So, for example, at we’re now into what we describe in policing as the barbecue season in the inner city, the barbecue on the corner. People don’t have backyards, so they barbecue on the front sidewalk on a block party. Unfortunately, many of those block parties get out of control. What is the first call that is sent to three one one? Because it’s a nuisance complaint, but who ends up having to come as the police? So as part of this reimagining of police, it is going to be a discussion around who has to go.
[00:32:29] Do we need to send in our police officer or can we send a neighborhood representative from the community who knows everybody at that party? Those are options we can look at. What’s the same as we police now for twenty five years using gang intervention players who are oftentimes former gang members who can relate to gangs better than we can in L.A.? While I was there as chief. We created a gang intervention academy where we literally sent all these young men to school, gave them diplomas, oftentimes was the first one they received in their life. So we’re trying a lot of different things. The problem at this juncture, IP, what I’m worrying about is unlike previous times, because of that situation, we find ourselves the rotavirus, the economy, the credible political divide we have when nothing is getting done in Washington. I don’t think the money is going to be there to do all these things. When you’re talking about an 11 billion dollar deficit in New York City, laying off thirty three thousand employees, including three thousand police officers. Where is the money going to come from to fund just quality of life, enforcement, petalled enforcement in Manhattan? You live in Manhattan. You may with the pedalo situation, illegal peddlers. They want to take have they taken over take away from police. Police want to get rid of it. But when they sat down to discuss taking it over and they saw all the bureaucracy that was involved, Readiest stole all these goods. You get. How do you inventory them? How do you keep track of them? How do you keep them safe? Could it they backed away very quickly because the cost of the new bureaucracy was something the city was unwilling to take on. So a lot of great ideas at this particular point in time. But what I worry about is the soft underbelly of so much of what’s going on is the funding that’s going to be necessary for it. And with the political divide we have in Washington right now, for that matter, and cities that are a money that we assist funding going to come from.
[00:34:32] It is a horrible time in America right now, unfortunately, the U.S. economy has shrunk, is shrinking. States like New York and others are going to build massive deficits. As you mentioned, the money to try creative things isn’t going to be there yet. We are demanding of our governments to do things they haven’t done before, some of which are going to cost a lot of dough. It’s a horrible reality. I was looking at the protests in Philadelphia and how the police cornered a bunch of protesters and tear gassed them as they were stuck between fences and a highway. New York Times that a piece on that today sparked. You’ve seen it. And I was struck with the fact that you had a relatively small number of Soire police there. And I didn’t see any white shirt leadership. And I was wondering, where are the city council members? So when you think of the second force, I know. I know you’ve really obviously worked extraordinarily closely with your civilian leadership in your policing history. But I wonder if it’s time for us to ask our council members and our mayors and others to get down on the street with the police during these protests and take a look at what’s going on. And ultimately, their response was ultimately there. It’s their force, at least from a chain of command status. And I know I never see that.
[00:35:45] So this is one quick thought out along that line that quite obviously some of the tactics that police have used to deal with the disturbances, those that drifted into violence, looting, disorderly behavior, and on occasion, unfortunately, when that behavior was not disorderly, it was over use of police equipment, which he Agassiz said, well, that was pepper spray. I’d point out that in New York City, city of St. Louis today with one I’m very intimate with the New York City Police Department should not use tear gas since the 1960s, doesn’t use rubber bullets, with the exception that CSU usually and hostage type violent situations where they effectively use the cops with taunts and occasionally shields. So enchanted by the shields in 2014. Is it inevitable that when we’re in the midst of those disturbances after the various police officers, Ramos and Liu? So going forward, there’s going to be a significant re evaluation of what is appropriate police response, what is appropriate? Police quickly. I’d like to raise an issue that you’ve touched on twice in the commentary about police. So much of our activity is directed by politicians who disgrace the nation where we’re so many politicians during the recent disturbances. Many where their voice was lost in the Tomball to voices. These demonstrations in many respects were leaderless and some of them upset about is celebrate the fact that they don’t have organized structure, which makes it very difficult for police to deal with demonstrations when you don’t know who to talk with, who actually speaks with the voice of the Martin Luther King in the civil rights demonstrations of so many events that I dealt with back in 2014. But the idea is that politicians oftentimes to their policies, laws, actually control and direct police activity. So whether it’s fare evasion, whether it’s in Ferguson, Missouri, the state of Missouri, many other cities and counties in Missouri rely on revenue from police enforcement activities as a principal source of revenue. So when they after effect in Ferguson, when they analyzed it, the bulk of that city’s revenue came from the city, pushing the cops to get more tickets.
[00:37:59] What are the cops do? They responded to political question and leadership and got more chickens in a community that has a huge number of minorities. They ended up getting caught the middle of it. So there’s a lot of blame to go around here.
[00:38:12] And as we go forward, the idea of assessing who to blame, but that assess after we get out the blaming, let’s get on with getting it fixed.
[00:38:22] So, you know, I think one of the things that that’s important to point out is that, you know, racism in America is a cultural problem. And in many ways, it’s way upstream of policing and it’s way downstream of policing. And, you know, police sits in this critical middle place and you think about, you know, just mass incarceration, for example, and, you know, the sentencing structures across the country. Again, that’s that’s these these are voters. These are these are politicians who are making these decisions. And I just want to point out that side of this equation minut currently at the moment, the police are like right in the middle of this this this question of racism in America. And so that’s kind of one side of the equation that makes life difficult for police. And I want to point out that when I was at those demonstrations in New York City, there was a lot of police were there. They were a multiracial, you know, many races represented in the force. And, you know, a lot of abuse towards them. And I was fully impressed with, you know, their their their demeanor, their commitment. I mean, they’re playing such a critical role. And it was just such an interesting cultural moment to sit in that place and. Feel that. And I was, you know. And listen, I was there’s no science in this. But what I observed, I was very impressed with. So that’s kind of one side of it, is that the police get caught in in this in this cultural place. The other side of it is and, you know, we did it. We did a film a couple of years ago, Chief, on on the life of police. And, you know, the first time you’ve you pick up a SIDS baby or the violence you you witness or the stresses that come with the job and then the abuses that come with the job. And that’s a whole nother side that most people just don’t have the time to think about or to consider. And so it was like the psychological makeup of the police force itself. You know, and I remember my brother when he fought in the Gulf War, he came back and he would tell me these stories. He doesn’t tell many stories about those days. But, you know, the one thing he does say is that when you’re in these certain critical situations that most humans have never experienced, it’s going to break some people down mentally in ways that aren’t that easy to understand as outsiders. And I think so both sides of that equation and sort of for the police to be left in the middle of that. And I want to be clear that police could do better jobs. That would be my observation. But the pressures are real and generally unknown. And I’d be curious on the on sort of the second part of that equation, which is the life of a policeman on a day to day basis and the challenges that go along with that.
[00:40:49] Well, the point you’re raising, the idea of looking to a prison that has many images, depending on which part of the prison you’re looking at and the vast majority of police is do the right thing.
[00:41:05] Almost all the time make mistakes. Some of them, unfortunately, intentionally cross the line across the brutal, vivacious on average in the police department s led. I would indicate, based on the complaint structure of those departments. The three to four percent of those officers shouldn’t have been on the department. We worked very hard to try and get them off. The department were limited by labor rules, by laws, etc. But we’re very understanding how they can corrupt the image of that. Vast majority work very hard. I’d like to comment about the demonstrations that you attended and the idea of the videos that are played over and over again, either by the news media with cable TV or the networks or on social media that in those demonstrations were 10, 20, 30, 40 thousand people in New York City, for example.
[00:42:01] We have seen the same, I’d say ten or twelve incidents played over and over again. This where almost everybody in New York is carrying a camera.
[00:42:11] The video came spiteful and meet the regular media was out there in force. And when you consider the thousands of officers that were engaged on a daily basis and what they were dealing with, some of the tensions you talked about, whether you saw some of what was directed at the police and by allies, the response of being stalking, you know, sucking it up and do some of them great from time to time.
[00:42:37] We saw some of that. So those egregious actions which are being dealt with. But I would point out that why do we play the same Channel 12 images over and over again? As there were 10 or 12 images. You think if any of those demonstrators, yourself included, captured with the iPhone, an officer, engage in what would seemingly be an egregious action, they wouldn’t push that out. So some of the good news is that we effectively have in this country now a couple hundred million monitors carrying a smartphone. First time a police engagement, whether it’s lawful but awful, they start videotaping. And what do we see on television? We’ve had some horrific incident certainly the last couple of weeks as it’s just the scale of demonstrations. But the good news is as we go forward, we can actually put things into a proper perspective. There’s a lot that goes on a police car and it shouldn’t. And we have better ways of dealing with it. And that’s a lot that goes on. The behavior of the public and these demonstrations that shouldn’t happen is a way of addressing that also. So coming out of this, that is that is the times I’m optimistic based on previous experiences that we use, if not of these times, the better for the.
[00:43:51] The cauldron that we find ourselves in this time, however, the idea is that the issue, systemic racism with us for 400 years permeates every form of our society. We’re not all racist, but we operate in a very systemic racial society.
[00:44:07] And it’s just denigrations world, for that matter. But just against blacks. But it’s it’s the nature of the world. It’s an opportunity to do better, to make it a better place everywhere for everyone, at least in this country. Let’s not blow that opportunity. That so in the midst of some of the chaos, in the midst of some of the anger, frustration. Let’s find a place where we can all get together some common ground that we can collaborate with each other and everybody come out of it with something. Is everybody going to get everything they want? Abe Lincoln was so smart when he talked about you can please some of the people some of the time. Please mall. Let’s start to please as many as we can this time and come out of this experience to better for.
[00:44:53] Thanks. The whole conversation was fantastic. I think part of what we have to understand here is we’re we’re basically talking about basketball with Michael Jordan. So you have been, you know, if not the best, certainly recognizes as one of the very best police commissioners and chiefs of last century. And if we had every police department run by someone like you, we probably wouldn’t be in this problem. But we don’t. The cities that we mentioned today and talk about where things are going relatively well are largely departments that have been run by you or your proteges or other very enlightened police officers. But we still have a number of police officers who feel like occupiers and feel like it’s there. There’s some warrior mentality. And perhaps in the culture change that we need to get to here, we can reimagine that as well.
[00:45:38] And it has been a change. The warriors that we saw each recruit in the 80s were necessary because the 80s were horrific. The gun violence. Twenty two out of forty three murders. Six thousand people shot with streets New York in 1990. You had to make the streets safer for keeps them plowed into the streets. You also had to make it safe.
[00:45:57] The she could recruit a different type of cop who effectively would be going into a different environment. And I think we’ve been succeeding at that. It’s not been as recognized as I’d like it to be. But even going to Michael Jordan Coleman, thank you for the compliment. Call me that.
[00:46:13] I get attacked as much as I get praised, and particularly in this age, going after quality of life, spoken with windows, now going after concert at all, things I’m very proud of and will continue to fight up. But even using Michael Jordan, that dramatical couple of weeks ago about Michael that were the most significant basketball players in history, talking about him in the sport that the other side of him. So even the legendary hero ends up getting beat up about some of his issues. It is moot for all of us to get up there, and we do. But we need to get beyond that and take a look at what’s worked out to make it work better in the future.
[00:46:52] And I thank you for this opportunity to talk about it is it’s not just a soundbite conversation. It’s it’s a deeper discussion on the map and has to be a deeper discussion.
[00:47:00] And I also think it’s really important that we all hear you recognizing the systemic racism in our society, the major fixes that have to happen at the time from your imagination and the outer world.
[00:47:11] That the old Beatles song Imagination did that song back in the 60s. It’s it’s it’s a wonderful theme for 2020. It really is that term. So that’s said that should be the the anthem with 20 20.
[00:47:27] Chief, I admire your candor, your commitment. I lived in the last 30 years, led to Boston, I lived in New York, I lived in Los Angeles. So thank you also for your service.
[00:47:37] And I appreciate your time tonight serving continue to enjoy serving. And I look forward to seeing the finished product to you when you guys get done with it.
Copyright TNP 2020
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