WASHINGTON, KOMPAS.com – Stephanie Robinson, 23, is a young Black cop in America whose loyalty while on patrol has been questioned after the death of George Floyd.
“They’re saying, ‘Are you going to be Black or be a police?’ And I say, ‘I’m Black and a police officer. I’m going to do both and do it the right way,’” Stephanie said.
The police officer at Detroit’s West Side is firm on her commitment to the US police force. But she is also critical of police training and methods.
"If we could have a better relationship with people, and not be going full force every time and treating people like criminals" it would help, she said.
Growing concern among young officers and cadets about racism and brutality in US law enforcement after Floyd's death is the latest complication for police recruiters already struggling to hire and retain new cops.
Drops in the number of recruits and increases in officers heading for retirement are so dramatic that the Police Education Research Foundation (PERF) dubbed it a "workforce crisis."
Job applications have plummeted in many police departments over the past five years, falling 50 percent in Seattle, for example, and 70 percent in Jefferson County, Colorado, a 2019 study by PERF showed.
About 16 percent of the US police force hits retirement age in the next five years, the study found.
As local governments curb police powers, and Congress pushes reform bills, some of the police workforces of the future is also beginning to question how policing is done and their role in it.