By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com
The most recent killing of Rayshard Brooks, a 27 year old black father of four, breaks one’s heart. Something does need to be done – to ensure the safety of black people across the nation. Perhaps we should consider the following three suggestions:
- Institute a Hippocratic Oath for Law Enforcement – we have it for doctors and we should have it for law enforcement as well – something like, “I will uphold the constitution and above all, I affirm to do good and to do no harm.”
- To purchase for and train all members of law enforcement in the use of non-lethal and non-dangerous methods of restraint, and alternatives to arrest when dealing with a non-violent incident. The Bolawrap is one such device and there are many more.
- To offer law enforcement financial incentives to undergo such training.
We need our police. We need law and order. But we must do what we can to ensure the safety of everyone.
This author once had a student who had exhibited irrational behaviors at times. He had his good days and his not-so-good days. His name was Gideon Busch. Twice, police officers were called to his residence – a basement in Boro Park. He was shot to death by the police the second time they were called. They fired 19 bullets into his body.
On the other hand, across the street from my home, while returning from a family picnic, a woman once begged me to call the police because her drunken boyfriend was threatening her with a knife. I did call the police but was very worried that an over-eager police officer might shoot the drunken boyfriend. One policeman carefully snuck up behind the man while another was distracting him in conversation. They disarmed him with no incident. Sadly, when a letter was written commending the police officer and requesting that he be recognized for his actions, nothing was done for him.
We need to create a culture and situation where actions that save lives are recognized and rewarded. The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers proudly serve this nation admirably and fairly. Yet we do have some serious incidents that lead to loss of life – especially among minorities. We have an opportunity in hand now – where we can incentivize law enforcement officers across the nation to achieve greater heights in dealing with issues between man and man. We can do this only by placing more funding with the police – not less. Let us grab that opportunity.
The author can be reached at [email protected]