That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Police for America – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

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There's no reason that citizens like these couldn't be armed and patroling urban streets within 5 weeks.

Unlike most things that President Obama likes, I have become a big fan of Teach for America.   The program allows privileged white 20-somethings to go into urban schools and like modern day Jane Goodall’s see poor children in their native habitat–school.   These exceptional young men and women spend 2 years teaching in an urban school while they contemplate what to do with the rest of their lives and move back home with mom and dad.   It occurs to me that the only thing missing from this great program is guns.   Just as there are inequities in the country’s schools, there is also tremendous inequality in the police protection enjoyed by residents of this country.

One of the trademarks of Teach for America is it’s alternative teacher training program.   Afterall, if you’re only going to teach 2 years, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend 4 years learning to do the job.   I see absolutely no reason why we can’t bring the same approach to law enforcement.   A lot of the training that cops receive really isn’t necessary for the average police officer’s daily routine.   If we can take our most promising college graduates from schools like Princeton, Yale, and even Brown, and we give them a crash course in basic police procedure, we should be able to have them armed and on the streets in 5 weeks, the same length of time it takes Teach for America to train new teachers.

What’s more, Teach for America alums often wind up in leadership positions in education.   Think how much more smoothly a big city police department would run with a gifted young go getter with a couple years of police experience in charge.    One problem that big city police departments face is cops who have been on the job for a long time and have been burned out by the things they have seen.   Police for America members would bring fresh enthusiasm to law enforcement and would do so for a fraction of the cost of veteran police officers.  Critics often complain that less than 30% of Teach for America teachers stay in the classroom after their two year commitment and I am sure that would be true of Police for America, but that’s OK–there are always new graduates from college drawn to the excitement and danger of exploring the urban setting.


Written by thatsrightnate

November 2, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Posted in Police Reform

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