We’ve been living with demoralizing police department defunding and destabilizing rioting for so long the conversation has moved past the death of George Floyd and why it happened.
One thing not being talked about is why the officer that killed him was able to continue as an officer in the first place, when his numerous disciplinary issues should have prevented it.
The reason may be the fact that Minnesota, unlike Arizona, has public safety unions. I’m not talking about private unions, or fraternal police organizations that provide some legal and life insurance assistance, like we have here. I mean collective bargaining unions that have the power to approve employment contracts and their terms. Including how discipline is handled. This creates a dangerous conflict of interest where none had actually existed. Any Peace Officer that gets in trouble here in Arizona is subject to discipline from the state board, which sets the training standards for the whole state. Said discipline could include suspension of certification or even decertification. Any decertified officer is forbidden to work as a Peace Officer anywhere in the state. This is part of the standards every officer in the state was trained to adhere to. We either abide by these standards or we find another career.
If people were serious about reform they might consider standards of practice that are working elsewhere and institute training and labor policies accordingly. Minneapolis has had problems for a long time, but when some things are ideologically off the table, you can’t expect real reform.
(James Rich is Constable for Desert Ridge Justice Court, which covers Carefree, Cave Creek, New River, N. Phoenix and N. Scottsdale. He is a state certified Peace Officer.)