One of the 18 poor, black women who accused an Oklahoma police officer of raping them summed up an urgent issue facing America in these poignant words:
What kind of police do you call on the police?
It’s a question that resonates across America today.
Officer Daniel Holzclaw is a sexual predator who will spend many years in prison. But you can bet he is not the only cop who has used his badge to get sex. I suspect there are others out there who haven’t been caught.
You know the old saying – power corrupts.
And you would think the folks who run the country know that as well as you do. Give some men a badge and a gun and you’re asking for trouble. The corpses of young black men littering America’s sidewalks bear tragic testimony to that fact.
Throughout the country, in Chicago, in Baltimore, in Ferguson, in Cleveland – even in cities as innocuous as Minneapolis – fatal police shootings are under horrified scrutiny. It’s beginning to look as if the nation’s law enforcement system is rotten – or at least rotting.
So who do we call?
You cannot have a society without law enforcement. But when the law enforcement culture goes bad, it can be worse than having no law enforcement at all.
Of course America has not reached that point. There are still a lot more good cops than bad cops. And they are still – generally – doing a good job of keeping us safe.
(But I wouldn’t go as far as Donald Trump did the other night, depicting the police as victims of “political correctness.”)
The way I see it, the federal government needs to appoint a task force to examine all types of law enforcement, then clean out the bad apples and establish nationwide recruitment standards and day-to-day procedures. Special attention should be given to the use of deadly force and special training should be provided to guard against the abuse of authority.
The feds should also set up a bureau that citizens can call to report police abuse.
I know, this would be a massive undertaking. Costly, too. But it has to be done. It is every bit as urgent as the threat of terrorism.