The system of policing is inherently based in dominance. We should create alternative ways to care for people in our community who are experiencing distress and are not a threat to anyone. Further, we need to look deeply at our impulse to punish and control, both as individuals and society. I am deeply horrified by the death of Landon Payne (“A Hidden Death,” EW 7/22). I hope that this spurs our community into more meaningful action to reduce the power of police and empower social workers and unarmed emergency responders trained in de-escalation and counseling skills to respond to these situations.
I am further horrified at the cover up and denial of this event. Accountability and honesty are deeply needed for us to look at the changes required to create a society based in cooperation, trust, accountability and consent. Let us take this opportunity now to implement some concrete changes to lead the way in forming non-dominating, true community safety and care models.
One way to do this is to implement the recommendations of the ad-hoc committee on police policy. Another concrete action would be to fully fund CAHOOTS for its entire ask, and empower them to take more crisis calls and make more bottom line decisions regarding their cases. Also, we should invest in services that would support the long term well being of community members undergoing crises like this, such as housing, economic justice and respectful, non-incarcerating mental health care.