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US Police Hits Recruitment Snag While Young Cops Opt for Humane Policing

July 30, 2020, 01.13 PM

Recruiting young cops who are able to be more active in addressing an array of social ills like the opioid epidemic has also proven to be difficult.

A patrol officer for just over six months, Robinson says she was not taught how to handle the most common issue she faces: people with mental illness.

"Honestly, 90 percent of the runs I go to every day are mental (health) runs," she said.

Lot of questioning

Whether young police can help reform US law enforcement, where veterans say discrimination and nepotism have been the norm for decades, remains to be seen.

Young cops are not an organized political force, nor do they have any control over police or university budgets.

But police veterans and educators charged with filling jobs as the force ages say their views cannot be ignored.

"We all agree that they're the future, and it's just a matter of how to deal with them," said Detective Sergeant Christopher Kriner of Old Lycoming Township Police Department in central Pennsylvania.

Christopher has been working with a local college to bring in recruits.

Some in the upcoming generation are reassessing the future of policing, said Debra Dreisbach, a former FBI agent.

She lectures on criminal justice and ethics at Pennsylvania State University, Berks and advises police departments on hiring.

"People who were set to go into policing — the diehards, if you will — are still pursuing that path, but there's a lot of questioning going on right now," she said.

At the John Jay School in New York, Hines and the student union are pushing for more minority instructors and mandatory anti-racism training for staff, faculty and students.

They are also fighting for more inclusion of minority scholarship in every syllabus and course across the college; and a mandatory course on alternatives to policing, such as social work.

Karol Mason, who leads John Jay, said she is listening. "We need leadership from young voices to tell us how we can do this better," said Mason.


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