The Ferguson Commission, a 16-member panel appointed by Missouri Governor Nixon, has asked for the decrease of the use of police force.
The Ferguson Commission was formed after the shooting of Michael Brown. It doesn't have any power to enact anything it proposes, but it sure has some good ideas...
According to the 198-page report released online today, the commission is calling for “the consolidation of police departments and municipal courts in the St. Louis area, and decreasing the use of police force.”
Nationwide, there were 461 reported cases of “justifiable homicides” last year at the hands of law enforcement. A “justifiable homicide” is what Michael Brown’s death is classified as. Watch this video to learn more:
According to the Associated Press, Governor Nixon has said the Ferguson Commission “has his office’s full support” although he didn’t grant them power to do anything other than suggest changes and state the obvious:
"The law says all citizens are equal," the introduction of the 198-page Ferguson Commission Report states. "But the data says not everyone is treated that way."
Aside from hearing testimony from many black residents, the commission also took note that police departments and courts in St. Louis seem to target minorities to raise revenue – which leads to mistrust of the police – as well as the fact that use of excessive force continues to strain already tense relations between communities and law enforcement.
As much as this makes sense, I don't believe it is based on any new data:
"The regular use of force has led many citizens to view the police as an occupying force in their neighborhoods, damaging community trust, and making community safety even more difficult," the report said.
To solve the problem, the commission suggested “new use-of-force policies, officer training and a change in department culture."
It also recommended the establishment of a statewide database to track use-of-force incidents and statistics. Again, good idea, but something that other organizations have asked for repeatedly.
St. Louis County currently has 81 municipal courts and 60 municipal police departments. The Ferguson Commission suggested “consolidating at least 18 of those departments into just three that would oversee different areas of north St. Louis County.”
The reasoning is that the consolidation would end the "costly and a grossly inefficient use of taxpayer resources," as well as address the many impediments to justice that many St. Louis residents experience, the report said.
All great suggestions…however, there are some who are skeptical that the report will actually change anything.
"It's hard not to be cynical of these kinds of reports given the track record," Remy Cross, a criminologist and sociologist at Webster University in suburban St. Louis said. "[Commissioners] are really not given any authority. Everybody agrees with the report, and nothing really comes of it because no one wants to pony up the money or get down to the brass tacks of the policy changes."
The Associated Press reports that Ferguson has made several changes since Michael Brown’s death, “including installing a new police chief and municipal judge.”
So what do you think? Is the report meant to bring about change or stonewall it? Sound off below!
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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