June 24, 2020
Threat Rhetoricnarrative error in policing
Seth Stoughton, Associate Professor of Law, University of South Carolina School of Law, on The Daily Social Distancing Show, June 24, 2020:
It’s very difficult to tell an officer, “Everyone that you interact with is able to, and possibly willing to, kill you,” and at the same time tell the officer, “so go out, make friends, be nice, and, you know, engage in community policing.” There’s some major mixed messages there.
And if you ask most officers, “Is policing safer today than it has been, or is it less safe, or is it about the same?” what you hear, almost inevitably, is, “It’s worse than it’s ever been.” And that’s because, within policing, we provide and reinforce this message of threat and danger that the evidence doesn’t really bear out. But it is a very, very powerful narrative, and a very powerful rhetoric that’s difficult to resist.
A few sources I’ve been investigating on topic:
Officer Down Memorial Page, which lists deceased officers, often with notes on cause of death
Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes statistics on fatality rates and occupational injuries by occupation, including summary reports like this one, and occupation-specific fact sheets like this one
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