Saturday, May 22, 2021

Thanks for Nothing

This may be too local, but our Ramsey County sheriff (Bob Fletcher) should not be in office. That's a different topic, though. What I wanted to say is that Fletcher probably wouldn't be sheriff if the previous one, Matt Bostrom, hadn't resigned to pursue a Ph.D. at Oxford. The guy who was appointed to replace Bostrom lost the next election to Fletcher.

What has Bostrom been doing with his time at Oxford? I hope it was worth it!

Well, a letter in today's Star Tribune filled us in. And I'm afraid... not.

Bostrom...has developed a systematic way to ask members of the community what they are looking for in police officers and then integrate the findings in new policies of recruitment, assessment and training of those officers....

His goal was to identify ways of increasing community/police trust.

On the surface this sounds good, but increasing trust is not the problem: making cops trustworthy is.

Should we somehow learn to trust these cops? Or these? Or these? Or Derek Chauvin and his three fellow cops in Minneapolis a year ago this week?

The crux of Bostrom's research is data from community surveys in Plano, Texas, and Los Angeles, where he asked people what qualities they would like to see in police officers:

The top four qualities citizens wanted were, in order of importance: high character, emotional intelligence, servant leadership and cultural competence.

Well, no duh, Matt. Sure, of course!

But what are the structures that would make it possible to attract and retain people with these admirable qualities to jobs in policing, given this history of policing in this country? How does the military style of training and operating undermine this goal?

You left us with Bob Fletcher and his drive-through filming of his own illegal car chases in Saint Paul for this pablum?


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