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Ross: The real way to truly change police culture

A woman begs for the police to understand their cause while they proceed in to arrest protesters in New York. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

I was hoping that when the President raised the Holy Bible aloft, we’d hear a booming voice from above reassuring us that he knows what he’s doing.

For some reason we did not – I blame the satellite delay – but while we wait, I am hearing some constructive suggestions from other sources. Santa Cruz Police Chief Andrew Mills says his cops aren’t perfect, but should still be accountable for the actions of their fellow officers.

“But we have a little mantra, that if you see it you own it,” he told MSBNC. “You can no longer say ‘that was somebody else’s responsibility, it wasn’t me,’ — if you were there, it was just as though you did it, if you didn’t intervene and stop excessive use of force.”

That’s certainly a way to “change the culture.”

And it also occurs to me that another way to change a culture is to change who you hire. I could imagine a whole new kind of protest, where instead of surrounding police headquarters, you have hundreds of young people lining up at police headquarters armed with resumes, ready to actually apply to be cops.

I see people in those crowds who feel deeply about their communities, who obviously believe in protecting the vulnerable, who seem to be learning how to get the looters under control, and who clearly have the stamina to be on their feet for hours at a time.

You train a few hundred of them for your police department, and how could the culture not change?

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