Activist: Cops Should Be Community Organizers First, Then Community Gets to Pick Which Cops Stay

“It’s about a culture within policing and a system within law enforcement that really encourages abuse and makes it hard for good, conscientious officers to do the right thing and to stop and challenge their associates. So, I think what we’ve got to do begin to move toward, really to be honest with you, self-determination in these communities,” Wise said.

Wise argued that people in low-income communities should be empowered to decide who is going to police their streets.

“I’m tired of those decisions being made by folks who are not elected, who don’t live in the community, just because somebody can fire a gun, just because somebody can run a certain speed, oh, well, you are physically fit to be a officer? Yeah, but you might not be emotionally, conceptually fit to be an officer in that community,” he said.

Wise said a system that puts members of the community in charge would be better for the community itself and the police officers.

“That’s going to be better for the officer, because if I’m the officer and I’ve gotten to know you, you’re not going to fear me and see me as an occupier that way because you saw the pictures of my kids that I had in my wallet and I saw the picture of your kids that you had in your wallet,” he said.

Matt Zone, a city councilman in Cleveland, Ohio, said the city has overhauled its entire training process for police officers.

“We’re doing some sensitivity training – not some, a lot – around culture competency and we’re getting our police officers, when they are going through their training process, they need to get out and volunteer in a homeless shelter, work with a mental health provider, work at like an Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) facility so they can understand that there are people out there that are very different,” he said.

“I like how Tim framed it that you leave your gun at home, you treat each other as a peer and that’s how we’re going to, I think, change how we’re going around and policing communities.”