When Police Push the Envelope - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

It’s generally accepted wisdom that if you don’t break the law, you don’t have anything to worry about. But what happens when people get into a he-said, she-said situation with police?

Police are sworn officers of the law, so it’s not surprising that what they say carries a little more weight than what an accused criminal says. However, with organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and a handful of others making it easier to record police encounters, the fires of suspicion are continually being stoked. (The ACLU launched a “Mobile Justice” app for smartphones that live-streams encounters to their database; if people want to retrieve them for evidence later, they simply request them through the organization.)

It really seems like there’s a genuine distrust of police sweeping the nation. Most police don’t deserve it.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that every confrontation between police and civilians makes it on the 6 o’clock news and spreads around Facebook like wildfire.

The story of a Texas officer knocking out a woman in front of her 6-year-old daughter in April, for example, has thousands of “Likes” and comments, as does video of a police officer punching a woman who, at the time, was 9 months pregnant.

There’s no doubt that these officers may have reacted the wrong way to the situations they were in; I don’t think anyone would dispute that. However, the rate of distrust is growing.

Experts aren’t sure what we should do. We have police hosting “Coffee with a Cop” events and this incredibly amazing day that police spent one day before Christmas. While these things do a little, they’re not solving the problem – and at this point, nobody has the right answers.

How would you change public perception of police, or do you think it doesn’t need to be changed? I’d love to hear what you think, and it’s a discussion we all need to have. Share your thoughts on my Facebook page and let everyone know what you think!

Carlos Gamino