By: Ariana Falco
Let’s talk about cops. Let’s talk about violence. Let’s get uncomfortable.
In today’s society cops are becoming more and more polarized each day. That being said, whoever is reading this probably has their own strong bias. While you read my post I would like you to put that bias aside and read what I have with an open mind. In practice this is harder said than done, believe me, I know.
When Kelly McMillin came into our class I wasn’t sure what to expect. I assumed this former cop would give the plain old argument about gun control and how we need weapons and so on. To my suprise, he began talking about how he is a retired Chief of Police, and now works in the Cannabis industry, shocking to hear but definitely spiked my interest. This was just his introduction of his background, but it was a good ice breaker to know this wouldn’t be your normal cop to civilian conversation. I was wrong about that.
Coming from Colorado, I don’t have much experience with gang related violence, but more familiarity with school shootings. In the discussion we focused more on gang related violence. With that we broke down the violence to the root of the problem, and decided that it came from the youth within the community and the need for security. We decided that if there was a way to implement more security for the youth at a young age, then they wouldn’t be so prone to join these violent gangs. Kelly said he noticed this and wanted to make a difference. He began to place cops within the neighborhoods and around the communities, to better understand the inner workings of that community. This seemed odd to me at first because cops look so militarized nowadays and putting that in the middle of a neighborhood would make me more skeptical, but that’s another discussion for another day. With placing these cops in the area, they were able to build a relationship with the community, and even greet the kids when they came off the bus at the end of the day. This new home for security helped to bring gang related violence down in the area while building more trust between the community with the cops. Trust is a big foundation that is currently lacking in a lot of systems around the world and it is slowly approaching ours. That being said, it was fascinating to hear that this program worked in such a violent area. I believe that the community alliance for safety and peace is a wonderful program that money should be going to. The problem of why this isn’t so widespread is that it costs money that cops want as a raise rather than a social worker job. So who’s responsibility should it be to take care of these kids? Who should help keep them off of the street? I believe that people don’t want to fund the social workers and the communities don’t trust the social workers like they would a cop, even though it’s ironic. That being said, this is yet another issue that needs to be solved.
Following this topic we dove into a conversation regarding gun violence. Where does it stop? Why is it an arms race within its own country? These are questions that went through my mind during the lecture. Yes, this is a very hot topic in today’s society and will only get more controversial with time. And yes I agree with his comment that there will be no way to truly ban all guns, it’s nearly impossible. The suggestion that he made by banning the glock 40 cal and then taxing bullets changed my mindset. I hadn’t thought about that but it was an interesting concept.
Both of these discussions were very eye opening for me and gave me hope that even cops can be open minded. It was nice to have a discussion that came from education and not from a defensive point of view.