If there’s a glimmer of light for liberty lovers in the wake of the Christopher Dorner tragedy, it’s this: strong Independent police monitors (IPM) are a safeguard against discontent that can undermine delivery of justice.
Civilian oversight of law enforcement is often opposed by police unions, internal affairs units, and citizens who are law-and-order advocates.
While murder is always an unacceptable response for dissatisfaction with departmental disciplinary hearing results, an outside IPM investigation is a solution more municipalities should welcome.
The flip side of IPMs exposing bad cops is exonerating good ones. Civilian oversight isn’t a police officer “witch hunt,” as critics charge.
The LAPD has re-opened Mr. Dorner’s case, and New Orleans should note that our present Independent Police Monitor, Susan Hutson, came from Los Angles.
The Crescent City has the expertise of an expert attorney who helped provide civilian oversight at one of America’s most troubled, complex police agencies.
New Orleans has its own troubled, complex police agency, one facing a federal consent decree. Details await hammering out on just how said decree will be implemented.
Given the city’s Katrina-related police offenses alone, observers await implementation with bated breath.
Empowering the independent police monitor solution may be the missing key in silencing cries of cover-up made by citizens and ex-officers alike.
Properly mandated, funded, and staffed, the IPM here can save the city millions in damages and heartache as an upgraded NOPD wins public trust.
IPMs should become a norm nationwide, not just in headline-making cities.
Liberty lovers should add this new chant to our arsenal:
“We Can’t Win Without A Strong IPM!”
Support the independent police monitor solution in your city!
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Photo credit: Sumi-l (Creative Commons)