You and I are well-trained to refuse certain police requests. But when I was approached by Columbia, MO Police Chief Ken Burton the other month, I was happy to consent.
The Chief called to ask my permission to use 10 Rules for Dealing with Police as part of a department-backed public education campaign to inform the public of their rights. Enthusiastically, I said yes.
Within weeks, a new report was released showing that in 2009 black motorists in Columbia were 127% more likely to be stopped than white motorists. At a public forum hosted by NAACP and other groups concerned about racial profiling, Chief Burton put 10 Rules to work.
The Columbia Daily Tribune editorialized in favor of the event, specifically citing 10 Rules.
State NAACP President Mary Ratliff called the video “a powerful teaching tool for both sides” and urged its wide distribution.
This is quite a coming-together. Ratliff has been critical of police in their confrontations with black people, and police have defended themselves in standoffs typically without a mutually agreeable resolution. The video gives both sides a way to communicate outside the context of a traumatic incident and might help subjects avoid trouble with the police.
The police department deserves credit for taking action to bridge the understanding gap, and Ratliff deserves similar credit for responding positively. This is a big deal, and I commend both parties.
Let’s follow Chief Burton and Mary Ratliff’s lead! If you or someone you know has a friendly relationship with your local police chief, why not give them a 10 Rules DVD a copy of the Daily Tribune editorial?
Let’s create hundreds of police-led screenings across the country!