Says there are no “cure-alls,” but there are steps to be made
By: Elias J. Atienza
Republican Missouri state representative Shamed Dogan wrote an op-ed for National Review calling for policing reforms he believes conservatives should support. Calling himself pro-2nd Amendment, pro-black, and pro-cop, he called out extremists on both sides for fanning the “flames of resentment.”
“To heal America’s racial wounds, ease the escalating tensions, and end the violence, conservatives must lead the way on reforms that are both pro-black and pro–law enforcement, and do not entail curbing Second Amendment rights. These are reforms that have been promoted by many conservative intellectuals and elected officials, and should garner bipartisan support. There are no panaceas for the evil that runs through the human heart, but there are positive steps still to be taken.”
Dogman called for ending for-profit policing and to reform civil asset forfeiture. Missouri passed such a law following the Ferguson protests and riots two years ago, limiting the fines and revenues that cities can collect from traffic violations. Dogman also slammed civil asset forfeiture and wrote that ending the practice is the “conservative thing to do, and the right thing, too.”
In addition to ending these two policing practices, he called for improving police training, reforming police unions, and increasing officer pay.
“In the short term, there needs to be a renewed focus on de-escalating conflict and avoiding deadly force whenever possible,” he writes. “But in the long term, police unions, like other public-sector unions, need to be challenged so that discipline and dismissal for misconduct or poor performance becomes the norm, rather than the exception.”
Dogman also called on states to follow the lead of Wisconsin in dealing with officer-related deaths. Wisconsin requires independent criminal investigations into officer-related deaths, and according to Dogman, the law has “increased public trust of law enforcement in Wisconsin and quelled protests based on the assumption that officers would be cleared of wrongdoing no matter what.”
Dogman then switches gears and called for the legalization of marijuana. Calling it the “War on Pot,” Dogman asks why the United States continues to arrest people for marijuana more than for any other drug.
“One need not agree with National Review’s longstanding support for full marijuana legalization to support measures such as decriminalization and the diversion of scarce police resources to harder drugs. Enabling law enforcement to focus more on violent crime and alleviating the racial injustices involved with the War on Pot would be good for everyone.”
Finally, Dogman writes that conservatives should acknowledge and address racial profiling. In Missouri, for example, the government conducts a yearly analysis of traffic stops broken down by race. Their data reveals that blacks are are more likely than whites to be stopped, arrested, and searched, despite being less likely to have contraband than compared to whites.
“States should be encouraged to collect this type of data in order to identify problematic agencies and officers, and to praise the overwhelming majority of police who conduct their jobs professionally and in an unbiased manner,” he writes.
Dogman ends with a call to action and writes:
“Nothing will change if we can’t provide assurances to law enforcement that their service and sacrifices are valued, and that they won’t be inordinately criticized for performing their extremely dangerous jobs. Nor will anything change unless we can provide assurances to the black community that they will receive fair treatment from law enforcement and that there will be consequences for police misconduct. I’m committed to doing my part in this difficult work as a conservative leader in my home state. I’m honored to work with organizations and individuals on the left and the right who can say the same. Now more than ever, we must come together to heal and tackle our society’s longstanding ills.”