Please reform police use of force

by Erik, 18 Jun 2020

I strongly support the peaceful demonstrations of people throughout the region and the country and ask that you sign a pledge to review and reform use of force for Vancouver police: https://www.obama.org/mayor-pledge/

This issue has been allowed to fester for years. It's beyond time to act.

In my own experience, I've had positive interactions with Vancouver police and some interactions that were unnecessarily tense in the two decades I've lived in this community. The neighborhood police officers are outstanding and truly represent the best ideals of community policing. However, there appears to be a false division between the work of neighborhood officers and patrol officers. An emphasis on community policing dates back at least 30 years, yet I see too many officers operating in our city as if they're engaged in an armed military incursion.

Policing is a tough job, and it's understandable that officers brace to encounter people at their worst. However, society entrusts our officers to represent and reflect the community's interest in preserving the health, safety and dignity of all citizens -- especially in difficult situations.

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis resulted in justifiable outrage in towns large and small throughout the nation and here in the Northwest. It should be a time for all of us to reflect on broad issues of structural racism in education, land-use, housing, criminal justice and the economy.

We must also act immediately to change police culture. As recently as this spring, a man lost his life in Vancouver due to another in a series of police shootings in our community.

I ask that you commit now to review and reform use of force by police in Vancouver by signing this pledge and following through: https://www.obama.org/mayor-pledge/.

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