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Petition: Replace US Police Departments With Private Sector Companies (#GotBitcoin?)

The police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in Minneapolis on May 25 sparked the recent protests that have fanned out across the country. Petition: Replace US Police Departments With Private Sector Companies (#GotBitcoin?)

The two largest issues with police in America is the “Qualified Immunity” protections combined with a militarized police force. The problem is so bad that even officers who kill children asleep in their beds avoid accountability while entire homes have been blown up without any material compensation for homeowners.

When combined with the fact that police are the ones who investigate themselves it’s obvious why so few face criminal charges. If the average citizen had the ability to do that no crime would go punished. We need outside investigations to be conducted without a bias and we need for the average citizen to have the right to their fair day in court.

Updated: 5-23-2021

Police Overhaul Unlikely by Biden’s Deadline, White House Says

The White House acknowledged on Friday that lawmakers are unlikely to pass an overhaul of policing practices in the U.S. by President Joe Biden’s deadline, the May 25 anniversary of George Floyd’s killing by a White police officer in Minneapolis.

“What we’ve seen from the negotiators — and we’ve been in close touch with the negotiators as well — is that they still feel progress is being made,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

She added: “Yes, it’s unlikely — as they’ve conveyed as well — we’re going to meet the timeline that the president outlined in his speech.”

Psaki says police reform legislation is unlikely to pass by the May 25 anniversary of George Floyd’s killing by a White Minneapolis police officer https://t.co/R7LYm4DBML pic.twitter.com/4POgm4Iq8C

House Democrats passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in March, but a similar bill hasn’t passed the Senate. The measure would ban choke holds and federal no-knock drug warrants, eliminate the liability protection for law enforcement officers, prohibit racial and religious profiling and establish a national standard for police department operations.

Lawmakers in both parties say they remain optimistic a deal can be struck, but they haven’t agreed on how best to bolster accountability for police officers accused of using excessive force or violating the constitutional rights of suspects.

The legislation followed last year’s killing of Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. Floyd’s killing, recorded on video, sparked protests worldwide and gave new urgency to discussions about racial inequities and police treatment of minorities. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted last month on second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

A group of lawmakers from both parties and both chambers of Congress continue to work on a compromise but have said that the Tuesday anniversary isn’t a realistic deadline.

“The most important thing is that we have a bill that hits the president’s desk, not the date that it does,” Representative Karen Bass of California, who’s leading Democrats’ efforts on the bill, told reporters on Tuesday.

Confidence In Local Police Depts. Reaches A 30yr. Low!

Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, said they eventually want to see police forces abolished entirely. Meanwhile, she would like to see at least some funding shifted from police departments toward organizations that support marginalized communities.

Experts Respond

“It’s a powerful moment,” said Ms. Cullors. “I think that we have to really respond this time to the courage of these mayors and city council members because they’re listening to the community—finally.”

These Are A Few Examples Of Where We’ve Used Contracted Policing Services In The Past. Competition Usually Results In More Efficiencies And Less Complacency Amongst Incumbents:

* The 1975–1977 Oro Valley, Arizona-Rural/Metro contract.
* The 1980 Reminderville, Ohio-Corporate Security contract.
* The 1976 Indian Springs, Florida-Guardsmark contract.
* The 1976 Buffalo Creek, West Virginia-Guardsmark contract.

They can be officers who contract with various firms to patrol the area, as in the case of the San Francisco Patrol Specials.

A specific type of private police is company police, such as the specialized railroad police or mall security.

Also, private police were in used in the Kalamazoo, Michigan-Charles Services contract, which lasted 3½ years.

Private police services are sometimes called “Subscription-Based Patrol.”

Poll: Could The Private Sector Replace Police Departments?

Updated: 5-26-2021

In One Minnesota Town, A Police Overhaul Is Working

St. Cloud is building trust between law enforcement and locals. Other cities should take notice.

In the year since George Floyd’s murder, the distrust between the residents of Minneapolis and their police department has only deepened. Reform efforts are mired in politics, personal animosity and policy disagreements, while the widely shared goal of addressing the root causes of crime and racial injustice in the city is foundering.

Seventy miles to the northwest, the small city of St. Cloud offers a striking contrast. In 2017, local officials embarked on a small but ambitious policing experiment that seems to be showing real results. In fact, it’s been so successful that supporters in St. Cloud — and in Washington — hope to see it become a national template.

It’s called the COP House (short for Community OutPost), and from the outside it looks like a regular split-level home. Inside, it houses a small police substation and a slew of community-oriented programs, acting as a hub for local public services.

When I visited last week, college students were digging a community garden in the front yard and immigrant Somali neighbors had arrived for a vaccine. Since it opened, the facility has helped to build trust between the police and the neighborhood, while driving a significant reduction in crime.

“This is all about community engagement and building and strengthening,” said Blair Anderson, St. Cloud’s police chief since 2012, as he led me inside. “And it sounds corny as hell, but it works. It absolutely works.”

*****

With a population just shy of 70,000, St. Cloud is the largest city between Fargo and Minneapolis. In a reflection of its German-Catholic heritage, the city has long been mostly white. But its demographics have been shifting in recent years, thanks partly to a large number of refugee-resettlement organizations in the area. Today, about 9% of residents are foreign-born, with a significant population from Somalia.

That shift hasn’t been painless, and St. Cloud has had its share of ethnic and religious tensions (it’s still sometimes referred to pejoratively as “White Cloud”). But it has been far more proactive in addressing them than some of its neighbors. In 2005, the police department spent a year hammering out an agreement with community groups to reform procedures such as traffic stops and search requests. Under Anderson, the deal was renewed and updated.

When I asked him about it, Anderson emphasized that the process itself was what counted most. “The important part was the relationship building, the airing of grievance and the coming to consensus during those meetings.”

In 2014, one of Anderson’s officers, a native of Racine, Wisconsin, told him about a program in his hometown in which the police department had stationed officers in seven houses scattered in troubled neighborhoods. In addition to enforcing the law, they also provided an array of social services that helped create a closer relationship with the community. Over two decades, the city once known as the “murder capital of Wisconsin” had seen crime fall by as much as 70% in some areas. The officer suggested a similar experiment in St. Cloud.

“And before he was halfway through his proposal, I said yes,” Anderson said.

*****

Although St. Cloud has never faced a crime wave on the scale of Racine’s, it’s had its share of problems. The home demolished to make way for the COP House had had 100 police service calls over a five-year period. “Whatever was going on here was a pain in our ass on a regular basis,” Anderson recalled. A park across the street had been a hub for “drug dealing, fights, guns, all kinds of mess.”

Even so, the largely immigrant neighborhood wasn’t entirely keen on having cops move in. “When we were in the planning stages, the rumor got out that the residents were afraid that this was going to be an FBI spy-house,” Anderson said. To allay those fears, he sent officers door to door. “Not only to explain to them what this is going to be. We didn’t tell them what we were going to do, we asked what was needed.”

It turned out that a lot was needed. Taylor McIntyre, an officer assigned to the facility, rattled off a partial list of current programs at the house.

“ESL, breast feeding, public health comes through and does WIC,” she said, referring to the federal supplemental-nutrition program. Other efforts are underway “for health care, for kids, jobs, helping these new refugees find their place in this community.” Anderson added: “We’ve done hundreds of mobile dental clinics. We have several sports teams and leagues that we run out of here. We have kids of color on ice skates out here. Fishing club.” The Mayo Clinic uses the house as an ambulance substation and the regional health system keeps an office upstairs.

All day, the house buzzes, but never more so than after school, when neighborhood kids arrive for homework help and the full freezer of ice cream. Such an investment in the lives of young kids, especially immigrants, pays off in myriad ways, McIntyre said.

“Moms and dads from the apartment building just west of here, they knock on the door and say, ‘Hey, can we just talk about the issues that are going on in our apartment building?’” That information, in turn, helps the police build relationships and stabilize the neighborhood.

Data suggests it’s working. A 2019 study on the house found a reduction in burglaries, thefts, damage to property and liquor-law violations in the area since its opening. Narcotics arrests increased, a trend largely attributable to “proactive enforcement,” the report found. In an accompanying survey, 90% of respondents felt the COP House had improved the neighborhood.

*****

For all of its success, however, the house hasn’t erased all of the challenges that Anderson faces, including rising anti-police sentiment.

Two weeks after George Floyd’s murder, a local 18-year-old shot a police officer in the hand while he was being detained. Rumors spread online that the police had shot an unarmed Black man. That night, an angry crowd gathered at the police department wielding bricks and bottles. The city appeared to be on the verge of its own riot. By Anderson’s admission, community policing didn’t help so much at 3:00 a.m. “In that instance, I’ll be honest with you. The tear gas helped us more.”

Yet as the crisis played out, the department’s connections with community groups helped tamp down the rumors and quell the anger. At a press conference, the leader of the local NAACP chapter praised the police for their restraint during the incident. Other local leaders said that they had been in touch with the department as tensions rose. At a time when many communities are at an impasse with law enforcement, that kind of communication stands out, especially for a city just over an hour from divided Minneapolis.

*****

Anderson, when pressed on whether there will be another COP House in the city, deflects (in fairness, the decision belongs to the foundation that runs the house, not the police chief). “I’d hope these spring up all over the nation,” he said diplomatically.

He might just get his wish. Representative Tom Emmer, a Republican who represents St. Cloud, has introduced legislation that would offer grants to help communities establish their own COP Houses. So far, it’s not part of the police-reform package being negotiated in Congress. But in a phone call, Emmer told me that “the White House is interested.” From his perspective, a national COP House program hits a political “sweet spot” that should appeal to both sides of the bitter partisan divide over policing.

Here’s hoping that he’s right. Over the past year, activists and officials across Minneapolis have been looking for ways to help police and community voices interact more constructively. The answer may be closer than they think.

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