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Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: The Problem With Police “Unions”

By: Quick News Daily Podcast

When it comes to activist groups and labor unions, police “unions” operate much more like the former. In fact, they are closer to the NRA than they are to a teachers union, and they often do not even call themselves unions in their name. The best example comes from the city that started this most recent, worldwide movement: the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. In fact, it’s an insult to the labor unions who have spent decades fighting for workers’ rights and changing the workplace to label them as such, when in reality they act almost exclusively as lobbyists. These police associations do not concern themselves with compensation or benefits like health insurance, rather, their sole purpose is to keep police officers employed. While keeping people employed is not inherently bad, the problem is that it keeps everyone employed, including the Derek Chauvin’s of the world.

Campaign ZERO (a fantastic resource for this time in history) collaborated in a national effort with legal scholars, activists, and lawyers to review the labor contracts for police departments in America’s 81 biggest cities. Through their analysis of their findings, they identified six common policies that make it harder to hold police accountable. These six methods include: disqualifying misconduct complaints, restricting how officer interrogations commence, giving officers access to information that average civilians do not see before being interrogated, limiting disciplinary consequences/limiting the ability of regular civilians to hold police accountable, requiring cities to pay costs related to misconduct, and preventing information on past misconduct to be recorded or kept on an officer’s personal file. These policies prevent any real “reformers” from changing the culture because it makes it difficult to fire these cops who abuse their power. Citing three separate, independent studies in an interview with Pod Save America, former teacher-turned-Campaign ZERO activist DeRay Mckesson revealed that the only statistic that meaningfully changed when these contracts were implemented is deaths caused by police.

You see, because they are wolves in sheep’s clothing, meaning that because they share some attributes of a regular union, legislating them out of power is incredibly difficult without harming those noble unions. So, what do we do?

One extreme example is that of Camden, New Jersey. In that situation, in one of America’s deadliest cities, they fired the entire police force and set up a new one under the supervision of the county. This force was comprised of lesser-trained officers (who also took less pay), and murder rates decreased. Initially, they were not supported by a union, but even though they are now, they signed off on a mutually beneficial use-of-force policy. This may be an enticing opportunity for cities as the fallout from COVID-19 reaches their budgets since the lesser-paid cops naturally act as a cost-saving measure.

However, something so extreme would take a greater amount of time, so for practical solutions that can be implemented quickly, Campaign ZERO has started the #8CantWait initiative. As its name would suggest, these are eight data-proven policies that can be quickly implemented and lower the percentage of people killed by police by up to 25% for a single policy. I would strongly suggest visiting their website and reviewing how you may be able to bring some of these policies to your city immediately.

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