• Matthew Diemer

Let's Talk Cops

This week, we’re talking about justice reform.

It can be a fairly controversial topic, which I find a little strange, because can’t we all agree that we want to live in safe communities?

But just like so many topics in American politics that we’ve discussed, people have sown so much division that the conversation seems to only leave 2 options-- defunding police or giving every officer a submachine gun and tank.

Once again, I want to look for the middle way.

I strongly believe in the role of law enforcement in keeping our communities safe. And I truly believe that most officers go into that profession with the best of intentions.

Unfortunately, officers who are making huge, lethal mistakes are giving the rest of them a bad name, and engendering even more historic distrust in certain communities.

First of all, I stand in agreement with Justin Bibb, Cleveland mayoral candidate, in the desire to add a little more nuance to our 911 emergency responses. If there’s a non-lethal mental health crisis, i do believe that specially trained social workers should be added to the call. Police officers have enough to try to deal with, and I believe that adding those social workers would not only help regular people in our communities feel safer and better understood, it would also help support the police officers, who are also a part of our communities, not outside of them.

That being said, the solution I would like to see us talking more about, that I believe a LOT of everyday people find to be common sense, would be to focus on police training and qualification.

We should be treating police officers as the linchpins of safety in our communities that they are, from the second they apply to police academy to the day they retire.

What this means to me is that the profession of policing should be treated like a medical profession-- I would like to see a 4 year training program with a possible 2 year extension for specialties such as suicide prevention, drug enforcement, mediation, and more.

They should be trained experts in law, mediation, and physical combat-- so they are comfortable using basic nonlethal techniques to subdue people who are out of control.

They should be coming out of their extensive training program with higher pay and more support, so they don’t feel like they have a target on their back every time they put on their uniform.

I believe that our current officers would have a huge role in implementing these changes, by helping to develop the more extensive training programs.

I believe that better trained, better supported police officers would be better for our community. I can see a future where communities that have historically had antagonistic relationships with law enforcement come to appreciate the security and safety that an expertly trained force would provide them.

Also, better training and better pay for police officers goes along with my platform of bringing and creating good jobs in Northeast Ohio. Helping to elevate the law enforcement profession, by making it more selective and making the training more complete, would mean that those jobs could become safer, and more well-paid.

What do you think?

I would love to know, so find me on social media, share this blog, and keep the conversation going!