You just reminded me of how politicians somehow evade all responsibility when we have these convos. If you make incredibly draconian laws for petty theft and nonviolent drug use, police have to enforce those laws. At some level I feel like every city politician is catering to the subconscious fears of their bourgeois gentry class over the most vulnerable citizens. Petty theft is usually the worst thing that can happen if you’re white and upper middle class. If you’re a Black teenager and living in the hood, suffice to say that theft is not the worst thing that can happen to you.

A part of me resonates with police officers as a member of a similarly underresourced, high pressure public bureaucratic institution. You are a political pawn for both the right and left. People think you can control things well beyond your control — you’re asked to do a lot that’s not really in your capacity. Most of my students were reading on a first grade level in middle school when they came to me. I had to meet them where they were at, and when one of my kids jumped to a third grade reading level, I was ecstatic.

But there’s only so much you can do.

Where is the accountability for politicians who make these draconian punitive policies that result in over policing? Sure, the crime epidemic had its own cultural and social context, but it showed that the solution to crime is not over policing with relentless brutality and no accountability.

Where was the voice for police reform during the crime epidemic? Where were the same politicians supporting mass incarceration?

Anyways, in education we can often blame Bush for No Child Left Behind and Obama for Common Core, but police are given orders to be more aggressive or arrest more people in given communities too. Their bosses’ bosses are probably obsessed with the numbers game.

Just food for thought. I don’t think an overcorrection the other way of the crime epidemic will serve us well in a decade either

Written by

Believer, Baltimore City special ed teacher, and 2:40 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire,” God’s gift to the Earth. E-mail: ryanfan17@gmail.com

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