A Tactic for Reducing Police Violence

It’s hard to imagine any American city or town’s police force going completely gun free (even in the UK the cops have guns–just not on their hips. They have them around though). But we might see a significant improvement in statistics relating to police use of violence if we reorganize police forces into two groups of officers encountering the public, one unarmed, the other armed. Unarmed police–that is, cops armed only with nightsticks and pepper spray, and protected by kevlar–will be sent on most calls.

Other cops–not SWAT, that would be a subdivision of the armed group–would be dispatched if there’s some reason to believe there’s a possible wrongdoer armed with a gun. An armed robbery, for example. The armed cops will get extra training on subduing without killing. They will have the guns but will be encouraged to look for alternatives to using them. This will be an opportunity to rethink police training–but it won’t be disarming police.

If it works in one town to reduce needless killings by police, other towns may be encouraged to try it out.

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