David Singleton has been involved in law enforcement his whole life. Growing up in Maplewood, Minnesota, he was attracted to the idea of safeguarding the community that he loved.
In January of 2000, David Singleton started the Minnesota Police Reserve Officers Association in Maplewood. This organization helped assist law enforcement with volunteering, crowd control, and search efforts. Allowing new jobs for veterans in the City of Maplewood through Community policing.
Community policing is a concept of assisting the police department in jobs that involve volunteers. This is important because it allows police officers to focus their efforts on bigger crimes. Also allowing for additional help and assistance in the community. In this article, we feature David Singleton of Maplewood, Minnesota and his assistance in the police accountability program.
Why is Police Accountability Important?
Being a police officer is not just a job, it is a calling that many choose to follow. At the same time, there are others who join the force as a way of being in employment.
Regardless of the inspiration to be in the force, the public has expectations of this special group of public servants.
Lately, there have been countless cases of alleged police brutality highlighted in the media and this is not good especially for those of us who join law enforcement to serve.
“As the Vice-Chair of the 2017 Maplewood City Council Police Use of Force Advisory Board, it was important for the county government to receive an extensive perspective for better policing. Top among the list of recommendations we made was police accountability.” Stated David Singleton of Maplewood.
We have all heard people talk about bad police officers being the rotten apples in a department. Well, in policing, my general perspective is that bad apple can only be got from bad trees.
“In my opinion, when a law enforcement agency is racially biased for instance, you can expect everything there to be nothing short of brutal to a certain section of the public. Racism stems from the misguided notion that I have to stick by those who are from the same racial background as I and this is true in the face of conflict with another race.” Explains David Singleton, Maplewood, MN.
Police statistics in the United States indicate that a black person gets killed by the police every 40 hours.
Whether the offending officer feels like the level of force they have used against a suspect is necessary, these numbers call for deliberate structural reforms.
There are some basic standard procedures for maintaining police accountability every time. If the police have to pay hefty sums as compensation to victims of officer brutality, then the pain felt at the pocket may just be what is needed to exercise self-control. This is just a single approach. How about holding an officer personally accountable for their actions every time they are out serving? Sometimes all it takes is following disciplinary actions to the latter.
Was a law enforcement officer fired for gross misconduct? Is there any justification to the public that such an individual returns to be of service to them? Another important question to ask here is if an officer that is guilty of breaking the law is capable of upholding it. Many times, law enforcement agencies engage in social responsibility campaigns to help the community and increase trust.
Importance of law enforcement agencies to be accountable
“In our communities, we want to have confidence in the machinery set in place by our government to protect us and our interests. I would be a bit skeptical about getting justice against a law enforcement agent who receives massive unconditional support from their department.” Stated David Singleton, Maplewood, MN.
The truth is that many departments handle complaints internally. While this is often the best place to start, it is also the area where most cases get dismissed. When police offers are put in charge of disciplining their colleagues, it is likely that favoritism will overtake the process. With time, the public understands what is happening and this waters down their confidence in the force.
How can cases of police misconduct be prevented?
“I am a firm believer in empowering people to be and do better. For me, school plays a big role in shaping the values, views, and capabilities of an individual. Some people may wonder why I am in school even with a successful career in public service; being better is just it. As part of an advisory team whose mandate is to reshape the image of law enforcement, I felt that a program that entails law enforcement would facilitate my delivery.” David Singleton added.
“As a black man who was born and raised in the United States, cases of police brutality can feel personal,” Singleton added.
Sometimes the discomfort is not so much on the incident itself but in the manner in which the respective law enforcement agencies choose to respond.
“For me, a response that is to a large extent challenged points to loopholes within law enforcement. I have noticed that many such statements comprise of words such as “policy” and “stand.” This means that the level of police misconduct could significantly reduce if officers were trained appropriately.” Stated David Singleton.
Every police officer or law enforcement agent is a member of a family; they are sisters/brothers, mothers/fathers, husband/wife. When empathy is linked to familiarity, the results can be epic.
Our role as police conduct influencers is to bridge the gap between officers and the public. Giving them a human spirit helps the general public to embrace them for who they are; worthy members of society who are prone to error.
Does the prosecution of law officers have to take long?
Sometimes taking ample time to build a case is the best way of ensuring that justice is served.
It is important to understand the burden of proof required in finding an officer guilty of a brutality claim. What if what they did was in the interest of the public?
A police officer is first and foremost a human being so they are always conscious of their safety. This means that even before they respond to distress from other people, they must be sensitive to the various threats within their environment.
If an officer of the law prompted some random person on the street to stop, most people would comply.
What if you were there and the said civilian reaches into their inner jacket pocket? Instinct tells us that most of us would have a similar line of thought; that person is planning to attack the officer with a weapon.
Does it make sense that an officer in this position would be brutal?
Typically, enforcement of new regulations takes time but sometimes the wait just never comes.
After an incident in 1991 where an LAPD officer was recorded beating up a black man, a series of recommendations resulted.
- increase bias training
- body and dashboard cameras
- hasher punishment for corruption
Some policemen and women have been seen to walk free even with sufficient evidence against them.
Perhaps a national police accountability project like the one David Singleton took part in back in 2017 in Maplewood, MN is what it takes to set the ball rolling.
Although we have already tabled our recommendations, this approach requires a multifaceted approach. The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department comes in to assess the presence of human rights violations for each case.
A case may sometimes fail if the court in which it is heard does not uphold certain laws; success lies in filing cases where the jurisdiction has it as a violation in law. David A. Singleton, MN has ensured the proper training into police accountability in Maplewood.