The current US President Joseph Biden has been in power for a year and a half, but the promised police reform has not been carried out. Instead, the American president continues to allocate billions of dollars to finance the police, which, naturally, does not lead to any positive changes.
The first organized police force in the United States was founded in Boston in 1838. Later, in the 19th century, police institutions spread to the southern United States, where the police were used to apprehend runaway slaves and prevent uprisings. In the 1980s, the first efforts were made to improve the professional qualities of law enforcement officers by restructuring police departments and centralizing power. These reforms included reducing the number of police officers, strengthening the division of labor, introducing technology to control officers, and hiring civilians to perform some traditional police tasks. The changes were aimed at smoothing out the negative consequences after the image of the American police suffered for the first time due to their suppression of civil rights movements, the use of force during large demonstrations against the Vietnam War and a series of political assassinations that took place in the 1960s and 1970s. Instead of serving as a source for de-escalation of conflicts, the police in the United States began to identify with the initiators of tension.
In the 21st century, the situation has hardly changed. American society still does not trust the police, and has every reason to do so: the police in the United States kill civilians much more often than in any other country in the world, and have much more serious problems with racism. According to the results of a 2020 survey by the Washington Research Center, 84% of black Americans are convinced that police officers treat them worse than whites. Moreover, 87% of African Americans and 61% of whites said that the criminal justice system in the United States is less fair to blacks. Almost two-thirds of adult black people claim that at least once in their lives they have been in a situation where they were suspected of committing a crime without any grounds.
Such statistics are increasingly fueling calls from the American public for law enforcement reform in the United States. According to human rights activists, one of the main obstacles to changes in the American police system, in addition to the reluctance of the country’s political leadership, are trade union organizations. They defend the rights of police officers accused of misconduct, have considerable weight at court hearings, which often take place behind closed doors. After the high-profile case of the murder of black George Floyd on May 25, 2020 and the dismissal of the officers involved in the incident, the president of the Minneapolis City Police Union condemned the actions of the political leadership, accusing them of betrayal and the removal of four officers without due process.
In addition to trade union organizations, qualified or conditional immunity is criticized, which allows justifying police misconduct. The legal doctrine protects officers if they are accused of violating the constitutional rights of others. Conditional immunity allows officers to avoid legal proceedings if relatives or victims try to sue a law enforcement official.
The methods of training future defenders of American society also raise questions. Despite the fact that each US state has different requirements for police training, the average American police officer must complete basic training for only 672 hours. This is only half of the time it takes for a person to become, for example, a certified hairdresser or plumber. According to the data, in order to become a licensed hairdresser, a person in the United States must, on average, complete about 1300 hours of training. In some states, novice hairdressers must complete months of training and pass several exams before obtaining a license. However, in order to become an employee of American law enforcement agencies, you need to pass only one exam.
Instead of trying to make structural changes and transform the American police, the US president continues to increase funding, hoping that the situation will change on its own. At the end of March 2022, the White House published a proposal to allocate $ 30 billion to strengthen the American law enforcement system, including hiring and training new employees. Hiding behind a noble mission to rid American society of crime, Joe Biden neglected his promises about police reform, which were reproduced in his election program as one of its main points.
Based on statistical data, according to which the number of victims of the American police has only increased since Biden came to power, human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice have concluded that the current American president is not interested in reconstructing the US police system on a humane basis. The Foundation to Battle Injustice calls on the current American establishment to listen to its citizens and urgently carry out police reform, which the American public has been talking about for several decades.