Today, our police are facing unprecedented challenges: well-armed and violent street gangs; well organized and financed drug cartels; an ever-present threat of terrorism; and an ever hazardous state mental health crisis. Additionally, our officers face a public and a press that is not only aware of, but searching for instances of misconduct and malpractice.
Yet, the officers we send out to police our streets, in some case, have not been properly screened to ensure their suitability; some too often receive inadequate training and some lack proper supervision. Demoralization due to unprofessional leadership, political meddling and in some cases corruption is a concern.
Some officers serve side by side with individuals, who are unsuited for the service. This may be due to inept or corrupt leadership, or the lack of legal and financial resources to remove them. Some are removed through agreements in which no record of their misconduct is recorded, allowing them to re-surface in other departments, placing their new employers at risk of liability over “negligent retention.”
Policing is a fundamental state responsibility. The police service needs help to improve selection, leadership, deployment and training. It must inculcate for the next generation of officers, principles and methods that will (1) promote coordinated action among departments (2) produce officers with competence and integrity and (3) promote equitable and fair treatment both inside and outside of the stationhouse. A P.O.S.T. system can greatly help meet these challenges.
POST offers an oversight system to monitor and guide police selection, training and management methods and policies.
It is a licensing system that certifies police officers ensuring a basic degree of competence
POST can also de-certify officers in cases of very serious police misconduct, relieving local depts. of the legal burden of removing them.
It can also establish a registry to track officers dismissed for serious misconduct from re-applying to department that may be unaware of their past.
A POST system can be compared to the role of the State Board of Education providing oversight and guidance to local school systems.
We strongly urge support for this legislation. A study is a prudent way to approach these concerns.
Dennis J. Galvin
“The Law Will Never Be Respected Until Those Who Enforce It Are”