By Max Borders
Healing Our Streets: Towards Real Police Reform
At Voice & Exit, we look to the future and see promise and possibility. But sometimes it’s hard to keep your eyes on the horizon when there is trouble in our streets — right here, right now.
I’m originally from Charlotte, N.C. Seeing my hometown broken by riots caused by potential police misconduct has been heartbreaking. People have been quick to take sides in an issue whose fault lines seem mostly to fall on either simplistic race thinking, or taking an over-zealous view of criminal justice.
In other words, both “sides” are looking in the wrong places to heal our streets.
That’s why we’re proud to announce that two experts on police reform will be conducting a workshop at Voice & Exit 2016.
Neill Franklin, a 34-year law enforcement veteran, retired from the Maryland State Police in 1999. Like so many young officers, Franklin never questioned the laws, the policies or even the orders given from above. He was a soldier who took the orders and applied them. He was proud of his work, taking users and sellers off the street. He made hundreds of arrests. But one day he heard Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke speak about the failure of the “War on Drugs” and he started to question the system. Once he took the time to check the statistics, the demographics trends — and to see the disparities caused by the laws — he knew something was just not right. A fundamental transformation began for Neill.
Dale Brown got his start in 1995 trying to help a Detroit community during a wave of home invasions and murders. What he found among the Detroit police were complacent officers. Those cops seemed to care more about writing traffic tickets and finding drugs and drug money. Dale Brown wanted to criticize by creating.
Today, Brown’s Threat Management Center (TMC) has a client base of more than 1000 private residences and 500 businesses. And TMC also provides free service to those who cannot afford their rates. That no-cost help is available because of the healthy profit margins left from providing services to bigger companies.
The key to effective protection according to Dale Brown? You’ll find out at the “Healing Our Streets” Sprouts Workshop at Voice & Exit. (Hint: It’s not being “tougher” on crime.)
If you care about the problems of police abuse, mass incarceration, and the disparate impact of the criminal justice system, you will not want to miss this workshop.