The Urgent Need for a National Police Academy

The latest of many cases of egregious excessive force by the police has just occurred in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020 accompanied by an attempted cover-up of the murder of George Floyd by the policemen involved and possibly the police department itself. It should be amply clear to everyone by now that we desperately need a prestigious national police academy with extremely high professional and moral standards, having the mandate of training and certifying as highly qualified all members of American police forces, including police directors.

Yesterday’s Minneapolis case was caught on video by one or two passersby, without which it seems there would have been a cover-up, as suggested by the false initial police report of the event leading to the death of an unarmed, handcuffed man lying on his stomach, posing no threat to the police.

Such a national police academy with the power and mandate to train, certify and decertify all state and local police employees including directors, would be constitutional since its purpose is to ensure universally high standards of policing all over the nation, in order to further civil rights protections and promote interstate commerce and interstate travel.

Under this program, every single police officer and police director would have to undergo training by the national police academy and be certified as being highly qualified professionally, of high moral standards, and free of problematic psychological characteristics, such as being short-tempered, abusive, racist, narrow-minded, and unempathetic. Without such certification, no individual could be employed by a police force. Every police officer and director would have to be re-certified annually, after a performance review and psychological evaluation.

While strict national police academy training and certification would result in very few cases of police misconduct, particularly excessive use of force, unjustified arrests, abusive behavior, and general incompetence, nevertheless it should be mandatory for all police officers and directors to wear video cameras always turned on while on the job, with the video stored in case evidence is needed in the future.

A prestigious, ultra-competent national police academy would end our disgraceful history of egregious police misconduct. It would restore trust in the police which has been severely degraded over the past decades. It would remove one very destabilizing factor in American society, and help create a more positive, humane environment, leading to a more serene society while removing fascist tendencies.

But something else should be abundantly clear: the need for every high school to have four year courses in 1) psychology accompanied by “group therapy” and “good parenting” workshops; 2) ethics and empathy; 3) the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the world history of human rights violations; 4) logic and critical thinking. What a difference maker that would be.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves and keeping our heads in the sand. There are all too many Americans with psychological problems and with a low degree of honesty and morality in all walks of life, in all professions. Is that the society we want? Are we satisfied with having so many dishonest, violent, abusive, and mentally disturbed citizens, including politicians? Are we finally going to do something about it? Until we do, we will remain a shameful nation in steep social and political decline.

© Edward Sonnino 2020

May 27, 2020

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Edward Sonnino

Edward Sonnino

Born and raised in New York City. Best course in college: history of art. Profession: economic forecaster and portfolio manager. Fluent in French and Italian.