I know these are nothing new…at least not to us on the Left Coast…but a recent law signed in Sacramento allows for a BART oversight board. What does that mean exactly? It means civilians with no police experience will be looking over the shoulder of BART police.
From the KRON4 news article: “Existing laws allows the board to contract with outside auditing entities, but the new law enables the board to also establish two BART police oversight entities: an independent police auditor and a citizen review board.” You can see the entire article here.
As I’ve said previously in the post about being videotaped, I have no problem with my actions being documented. What I do have an issue with is a civilian telling me how to do my job. When my water heater breaks down I don’t tell the plumber how I think he should be doing his job. Why? Because I know fuck all about plumbing. I’m relying on the fact that the plumber is sufficiently trained and knows more about his job than me. That’d be why I’m paying him.
You wanna Monday morning quarterback me? Go to the Academy for the five/six month training and learn what it’s like to do my job. Get some experience. Walk a mile in my boots. One of my biggest pet peeves is listening to talking heads or, worse yet, random people on the street that the media interviews talk about how the job should be done. I don’t have an issue with people asking questions in an effort to educate themselves (obviously…that’s why I have the Ask MC posts), but making judgements about what was done based on a very short cell phone video clip is ignorant.
How many times have we heard, “Well, that cop should have shot the gun out of his hand!”? This ain’t Hollywood and it sure as hell isn’t the way we train. Not only is that kind of thinking ridiculous, it’s dangerous. There’s a reason we shoot for center mass, people. It’s the largest part of the body. It always makes me laugh when people say we should shoot someone in the leg or arm. These are people who: a) watch too much TV and b) have never held, let alone shot, a weapon before.
There is a reason every department has an IA division (Internal Affairs). Those folks are cops. They’ve done the job. Are they well liked? Not typically; however, I’d rather be judged by them than by a civilian with no policing experience. I’m not looking for a break from IA because we share the badge, but at least I can be confident that they know what my job entails.