Officer Exchange Program

  • Voice in the Wind Magazine

OPINION

07/02/2020

CONCEPT REPORT

INTRODUCTION

Imagine, if you will, that you are the head accountant at an important firm. Recently, there has been a spate of thefts that have left the company’s finances in tatters. Now imagine that you have been tasked to fix the loopholes in the system.  Where do you start? What is the first thing you do? Well, thankfully, a whole group of accountants already set about fixing these issues many years ago and so you only have to review the accounting principles you were taught. In this case, you are going to focus on a principle called “Segregation of Duties”. In a nutshell, this means that no one should have access to all the elements necessary to commit a crime. Let me illustrate this concept. The person who has custody of the blank cheques, should not also be the person who can print cheques and should not also be a person who can sign (authorize) cheques. If one person could do all of these things, then that one person could steal money at will. It is “Segregation of Duties”, when applied correctly, that splits the elements between many people. In this way, no one person could steal money. Stealing money now requires another element – collusion. This means every person who has an element in their trust must agree to steal the money and fully participate in the theft for the money to disappear.

Now consider the recent spotlight cast on how police departments operate in the U.S. in particular, but around the world in general. Could we apply the standard?

PROPOSAL/CONCEPT

I suggest an officer exchange program. Its premise is simple: the officer who has your back in a firefight should not also be an officer who wears the same uniform, should not also be an officer who answers to the same boss, is your boss or is in the same chain of command, and should not also be an officer who is a member of the same union. Yes, this is a modest proposal. It will likely not solve all the problems surrounding interactions between citizens and the police, but I hope it helps, in some small way, to open the door to healing. In practice, this would simply mean that an officer from Precinct X, City A would be partnered with an officer from Precinct Y, City B. Essentially, an officer from New York, partnered with an officer from Dallas, where one or both is living outside their own city. In this way, maybe we can add some accountability from within the system, to compliment whatever other changes are ultimately brought forward and adopted into practice.

DISCUSSION

This concept brings up some important questions. Could trust in someone come from a shared sense of values? Could we be loyal to values instead of people or “teams”? Could we be more like the officers on board the fictional U.S.S. Enterprise and be given the responsibility, moral imperative even, to ask questions of our fellow officers (and humans) when they may be acting irrationally or succumbing to the desire to “hurt you back”? Could it be more important to be good people and act with integrity, than to be loyal to a person or act as a “teamster”? These are all valid questions and there are many more to be asked and answered. Could it be time to have this discussion?

WHAT WE’LL NEED

  1. At least two precincts and two cities to run a trial of this concept in real life
  2. The  support of the people
  3. Political support
  4. The legislation to make the standards applicable at the federal level (pending successful trial of the concept, of course)
  5. Willing officers to participate in the trial

DRAWINGS/PHOTOS

To be added to document later

BENEFITS

  1. A renewed sense of hope
  2. Peace and stability
  3. The opportunity for integrity and good judgement to prevail
  4. An additional layer of accountability
  5. The chance to move forward and into a better future

CONCLUSION

I hope that in some small way, this concept report helps to get people talking about how to fix the persistent issues in the system and hopefully inspires the world to new heights and brings a fresh new perspective to the discussions surrounding our interactions with one another.

Voice In The Wind Magazine Inc.

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