If you haven’t listened to “Embedded”, a podcast by NPR, you should listen to their episode about policing Skid Row in LA.
Embedded is a podcast that takes an item from the news and takes your ears inside the situation to gain a greater perspective of the situation. This particular episode of “Embedded” displays two methods of policing and the responses to them by the people living on Skid Row.
Police have been in the news a lot in the last couple of years due to brutality and violence. I know police officers who are great people, but I also know that the United States’ problem with police and criminal justice is a systematic problem. The individual officer’s personal goodness and there being a systematic problem are not mutually exclusive. It is not only ‘crooked’ or ‘bad’ officers who are at fault. I recommend reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The book shows how police departments have been incentivized to issue citations and make arrests very clearly at one point.
At the very least, listen to this episode of Embedded, and ask the questions:
- If I was living on Skid Row, which officer would I want to meet?
- Which officer would I want to be?
- Which policing tactic do I think is best for society?