Yesterday, we discovered that modern America asks police to do “too much.” Which prompts the next question: What should police stop doing?
Here are two immediate reforms where police can do less, while protecting the public more:
(1) End the War on Drugs. Preventing violence and fraud is the rightful role of police. Not preventing people from engaging in activities that are peaceful, however misguided or self-harming. The criminalization of marijuana means more than 150 million Americans are criminals, warranting police involvement.
Now, Mr. Obama has released some convicts serving long drug-related sentences, but we need a president who will go much farther in changing law enforcement priorities.
(2) Stop Using Civil Asset Forfeiture, whereby police steal people’s stuff without charging and convicting those people of any crime. Not only do federal agencies from Justice to the IRS take our property in violation of our rights, but the Feds encourage state and local police to join them in this bad behavior through their “equitable sharing” program.
While Obama has spoken against seizing assets without a criminal conviction, he hasn’t stopped it. And he could at the federal level, with a stroke of his pen — as I have advocated at Townhall. Ending civil asset forfeiture is an executive order actually within his constitutional power.
Would these two steps end all racism or violence or crime? No, no, no.
They would be, however, two steps forward toward a more principled, lawful and respectful style of policing that would better serve to unite rather than divide citizens and police.
It’s a different two-step than reformers have been witnessing.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Photo Credit: Tomasz Iwaniec