As long as evil exists, good policing will be important for human flourishing. Good policing is aimed at driving back evil and protecting the innocent. As policies are being debated and funding is being evaluated, we would do well to remember this.
There is no doubt that there are “bad” police officers. But we need to remember there are bad doctors and teachers as well. We wouldn’t want to eliminate all doctors or teachers because there are some who are unethical.
“The people who are the most outraged about bad and unethical policing are the good and moral police officers,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Good cops are the ones who most want to get rid of bad cops,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said recently on WHAS radio.
This opens the door for police reform, and quality police officers would be the first to welcome it.
What should be considered when thinking through police reform?
The Scriptures say the authorities are the servants of God to carry out His wrath on the wrongdoer and protect the innocent. This means the governing authorities have the responsibility to protect the innocent, stop the wrongdoer and, hopefully, prevent future evil (Romans 13:1-7).
That is a tall order. While police officers are only one part of this equation, they are an important part.
Governments on every level must look at their policing, they must make sure officers have what they need to carry out their task. They must ensure their officers have the equipment, on-going training, and policies in place as well as the appropriate accountability structures.
If any of these three are not in place, it will be the police officers who are handcuffed. They can’t carry out policies without the necessary equipment. They shouldn’t operate the equipment without knowing the approved policies. And, ethical police officers welcome appropriate accountability.
Sometimes change must come quickly because of failure. However, evaluation does not mean a failure has occurred. Evaluation is necessary for success to be repeated. Governing leaders must be wise, thorough, stable and swift as they evaluate policing. But for the good of society and ethical police officers, they must act now.
BRANDON PORTER is communications director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention and editor of Kentucky Today.