Police Brutality, Racism and Kalamazoo
What separates Kalamazoo from Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, Houston and Dallas?
Kalamazoo recognized a problem and took steps to make a change before something escalated.
In 2013 a year long Lambert Consulting study proved that black motorists where pulled over over twice as often as white motorists. Keep in mind, this is a study regarding racial profiling, not police brutality. However, it definitely points out a smaller problem that can lead to a larger problem. That larger problem is surfacing nation wide with daily videos of white police beating or gunning down black citizens.
According to Aljazeera America,
At first, many Kalamazoo police officers reacted to the study by cutting back their traffic stops dramatically. In the month after the study became public, stops fell off a cliff, dropping by 45 percent.
Where that was expected it's not the goal. According to Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley,
it's only natural that officers faced with the report's conclusion would get more skittish making stops. But his hope was to reform the force in a deeper way. His first move was to consult leaders in Kalamazoo’s African-American community, like Walker. A retired sociology professor, Walker felt that much of the problem was rooted in implicit bias – beliefs that operate outside your conscious awareness.
Chief Hadley, did more than just own the problem. Which is a big step in itself. But he also spearheaded a "softer policing strategy." He and his department realized that aggressive policing has a negative affect for both the citizens and the police department.
I'm a true believer that if we want to make a change we have to start locally. A rage filled facebook rant from Kalamazoo is doing nothing to help the victims in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, Houston or Dallas.
I vow to be both pro black and pro police, at the same time. I also vow to
Nobody here is claiming that Kalamazoo is perfect. However, from the Chief of police all the way down to this little radio guy, we take responsibility. I support our brothers and sisters in blue that put their life's on the line every day for us. I also support my friends and family who are minorities and have to live life in fear of becoming another viral video. These two things should NOT be separate.
I hope to have someone from KPS on the Morning Mayhem this week to have an open conversation about what's going on right now in our country and find out what we as citizens can do to make a positive impact.