Thursday, July 7, 2016

Why police shootings are often misjudged.

Once more we have a police shooting. This time in Minnesota. 
It is very understandable why people get angry when they hear about it.

It seems like the police shootings increase and people don't feel safe at all. 
They feel let down and used by the system that is supposedly there to protect them. 

What goes wrong with so many police interventions?

Police officers are often assigned to a district that has people from different backgrounds than where the officer lives. This creates an environment of mistrust between the civilians and the police. 

When conflicts arise tribal bias can overtake the necessity to try to understand the person in front of you. 

When things get really dangerous or is perceived as dangerous the level of adrenaline rises and our perception of time changes. 

Remember that time when you heard about a gunfight the police had. It could be a page long.
In reality, that could happen in the timespan of  a few seconds time. All the decisions have to be made in fractions of a second. Judging a situation and reacting to it needs to happen in a fraction of a second. 

Perceptions can be skewed in drastic manner. 

Police need some serious training that changes the reflexes and snapshot judgments in high adrenaline situations. Also maybe learn how to lower their adrenaline so their state is more stable when they enter high risk situations. 

All this doesn't mean that those police shootings can be  just excused. 
Something needs to happen. 

The problem is on different levels at once: Organisational, Political, Educational and Personal. 
Change needs to happen on all those levels before any good change can stick. 

Have a great day.