Policing the Police: The Rapid Report System
Who polices the police? We do -- thanks to the NAACP's Rapid Report System.
[The Rapid Report System is] a quick, effective way for citizens to report instances of police misconduct, and to help public safety officials move beyond the “tough on crime” policies that have lost their effectiveness.
Witnesses to police misconduct can document their observations by sending text messages and forwarding pictures and videos taken with a cell phone to a central location. Web-based reporting is also available.
Why is the initiative necessary? [more ...]
“Research has shown that there are many barriers to reporting incidents of police misconduct, including intimidation at police departments and a lack of trust in the integrity of the system, among other reasons. This breakdown leads to an absence of public safety and a deterioration of the quality of life in many communities of color. But public safety is a civil and a human right; and so we want a more accurate count of these incidents,” [NAACP President and CEO Benjamin] Jealous said.
The likely* case of racial profiling involving Henry Gates provided a recent example of the need to police the police.
The NAACP’s Rapid Report System is brand new but the prejudice and bigotry it is designed to ameliorate is as old as time. We commend Professor Gates for recognizing that what happened to him also happens to uncounted, lesser-known black Americans each day. The outrageous incident reminds us that America will not be “post-racial” until it can achieve post-racism – and that much hard work remains before we arrive at that place.
The Rapid Report System provides a way for us all to contribute to the hard work of ending police misconduct, whether or not it's racially motivated.
*Addendum: Although this post is about the Rapid Report System, not about the Gates arrest, one of the comments below challenges my allegedly "irresponsible" inference that the Gates arrest likely resulted from racial profiling. The commenter asked me to explain that conclusion. I did so here.
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