What Can We Learn From the Gates Case?

July 31, 2009 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

FF_raves_gates1_fNot only has the national media been a-buzz with stories relating to the arrest of Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates, but law enforcement agencies are also asking what they can learn from the situation.

In a recent story by NPR, police departments are divided over what lessons to walk away with. Joseph McMillan, outgoing head of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, thinks that police departments need to be learn more about resolving situation peacefully, deescalating not aggravating difficult confrontation.

On the other hand, many law enforcement agencies feel that the public needs to learn more about law enforcement. Dr. Joe Thomas Jr., police chief in Southfield, Michigan, says that the public needs to know that this is not an officer ego issue, but rather a public safety issue. Says Thomas, “There’s a certain amount of respect. There are certain things you don’t say to ministers; there are certain things you shouldn’t say to your mom, your dad, or the clergy. It’s how you talk to people that got responsibility and authority for controlling people, because if you disrespect them, you take away that authority and it hurts everybody.”

Clearly the lessons to be learned from this controversy are far from clear on both sides of the debate and between citizens and law enforcement officers.

What is your opinion? As community members, what are the lessons we can learn from this situation? Leave a comment.

Source: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111372433

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