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As each day passes, our country seems to fall into a deeper and deeper divide among people of differing ideals.  As in any election year, these ideals and conversations tend to fall more along the political party lines than others, but this year we have seen race relations become one of the biggest hot button political topics.
The complexities added by the restrictions brought on by Covid-19 coupled with the videotaped deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have greatly contributed to this divide as well ,but when dealing with matters involving the police, I think there is an opportunity for more of a consensus than one might guess.
Especially in the current climate, there is so much time spent on sensationalism; yet almost no time is spent focusing on the things we can all agree on and then going from there with our process for dealing with issues.  
Resolving differing viewpoints are old issues in many places of business and have always been dealt with through training and policy enforcement.  I think these concepts can be applied specifically to civilian deaths involving police officers.  Too often in today's society we look to make allowances for actions when rules are not followed and this primarily where we see the breakdown between the people's ideologies.
For the purposes of this article, we would like to focus on only the things that I think most people would agree on, whether you identify with one political party or another.

For example, I think we can all agree that we do not want the police killing anyone based on the crimes they are committing or have committed.  Death penalty cases are adjudicated by judges and juries;  this is how our system is set up.  Our system works correctly when police arrest, district attorneys prosecute, judges adjudicate and juries render verdicts.  This is not controversial.  This is the goal of police as an institution, the goal of the district attorney's office and the goal of the judicial branch in government.
However,  it is when we start to deal with the exceptions to this agreed upon ideal that we start to see the changes in opinions.  In the case of Jacob Blake, so much attention and conversation is centered around Blake's previous crimes.  Yet if his crimes warranted being shot, we can all agree, that decision could only be made at the judicial level.  As a result, the circumstances surrounding his shooting could only be based on his actions during his interaction with the police.  Any attempt to bring up past transgressions are only an attempt to distract from the initial issue.  Even the concept that prior arrests would factor into an officer's decision to use deadly force is not based on any training or policy currently in place.  Every situation in which the judicial system wants people with prior convictions to be treated differently than the rest of the population, it is explicitly spelled out in both the probation and parole system. And any violation of either of these systems never results in capital punishment.

Another thing we can all agree on is that in situations where police force leads to the loss of life, it should be treated as a big deal.  A 2017 study showed that only 27% of police officers ever fire their service weapons.  So I think we can all agree that when officers are responsible for a loss of life, whether due to use of their service weapon or not; it should not be dealt with flippantly or without due care.  In the case of Brianna Taylor, the officers filled out the incident report with no injuries listed.  I think we can all agree that while situations during the interactions can be tense; professional officers need to be able to intelligently and capably follow department protocol and provide accurate and competent recounts of the interaction.  I don't think there is anyone who thinks someone who has consistent memory issues fits the description for what the position requires.  On this issue, police officers, themselves, would agree given that no one wants to work with someone who can't remember anything correctly.

Lastly, I think we can all agree that when police are involved in the loss of life; it should be investigated, the same way any loss of life would be investigated and would have to be investigated by an unbiased party.  Too often in our current system, we are able to see situations where at the very least, professional discipline would need to occur, even if criminal actions have not occurred. Policy violation after the use of force should be viewed differently than policy violations for unauthorized overtime and other professional compliance issues.  Again, I don't think anyone on the left or right would disagree with these broad statements.  Even in situations where criminal charges are not warranted; too often, no discipline occurs including professional discipline.  This further compounds the issue by giving the impression that the behavior is acceptable for both the officer in question and other officers who are privy to management's handling of the situation.

All of this, only serves to start dealing with one little issue, deaths caused by police.  This will not address excessive force by the police that does not result in death.  It will not fix the vast divide in rate at which blacks are pulled over by whites and will not address any of the systematic laws that are in place to enact harsher restrictions for person's of color.  Too often, we see paralysis by analysis and the idea of ending systematic racism being too big to tackle, resulting in distractions and inaction. This is only to deal with the issue of public servants killing the very people they are sworn to protect.

Once we agree on some basic human premises, we can find common ground on a path forward.  The idea that police officers should have a built in margin for error is a fallacy that again I think we can all agree on, and the idea that police are the best among us should not be a punchline, but an actual standard we enforce across the board.
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