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National Police Foundation President Says Policing Must Have 'Major Fundamental Change'


While reform might be the word of the day, calls to defund the police continue to resonate across parts of the country. The catalyst, the wrongful death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN.

"This has been a nightmare that none of us want to re-live," said Jim Burch, president of the National Police Foundation.  

Burch believes defunding police departments by shifting some money to other agencies could work especially when it comes to issues like mental health.

"A police officer only has a few tools at his disposal to handle any situation that they come upon," Burch said. "A mental health response is not a great matchup for a police officer."

But, he adds, there can be a concern with the agencies that would receive the additional responsibilities.

"Are they going to be available to respond at 2:00 am on a Saturday morning?" Burch asked. "Are they going to be able to respond on a Sunday afternoon?  If police officers are no longer responding to those calls then who's going to go and help that family that's in crisis?"  

"Because the last thing any of us want is to say the police are no longer going to respond to these types of problems and to shift this amount of money to these organizations only to find out that these organizations that now have this responsibility themselves say that's not enough money for us to do it," he noted. "Now no one's doing it."

Burch underscores that a policing overhaul is needed.

"We're not talking about something that you can fix in four hours of training. We're not talking about something you can fix by giving a lecture to those who are currently on our streets today," Burch explained. "We're talking about a major fundamental change."

"The number one issue in policing today is police accountability," said Patrick Oliver, a 27-year law enforcement veteran and director of the criminal justice program at Cedarville University. Oliver has also been named as the lead consultant to the Ohio Governor's Office of Law Enforcement and Recruitment.  He says fundamental change comes down to people.

"Government is best serviced by godly men and women who understand that they're ultimately accountable to God," Oliver said.

He adds government is God-ordained and the power an officer wields is second to none.

"So, from verbal warning to deadly force that's how much discretion a law enforcement officer has in our society," Oliver said.  "That's more than any other job in our society and this job is only for people who are honorable men, who love truth, who will judge rightly, and will do what is right."

Both men say changing the landscape of policing will take a major effort that has to start at the local level, and perhaps even within each individual officer.

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