I'm a big supporter of police. I've been around them as a civil service commissioner, and I know what they go through every day. It's a tough job to say the least, and the level of stress is very high. I've gone along with them on "ride outs" and watched them doing their job. Believe me, there's a whole 'nother world out there most of us in middle class America have never seen. From one call to the next, they never know what to expect. I respect them immensely.
Something is very wrong within the ranks of [some of] our police today. Is the quality of our new police recruits not what it used to be? I suspect that's some of it. I know police departments have a tough job recruiting, especially for minority officers. The desire to hire with greater diversity in mind to better represent the demographics of the community is easier said than done. Relaxing standards in order to meet racial/ethnic/gender or numbers goals at the expense of quality will often come back to haunt. Quality must always come first, period.
Is police training lacking? I'm thinking yes. It's very expensive and time consuming, and I suspect many departments want to get officers on the street ASAP, and not have them in prolonged classroom training. And time spent in recurrent training is time not spent on the street, too. Bad mistake! The number of different scenarios an officer will find himself in daily is almost infinite. How do you train for every possibility? You can't. You just have to hope your officers are intelligent enough to be able to think on their feet, and act accordingly. If some aren't of the highest quality to begin with, and if their training isn't thorough, things can go downhill really fast.
I just saw a video of a black man shot after a traffic stop (burned out headlight) in Minnesota. His girlfriend used her cellphone camera to record what happened. The black man had a license to carry a concealed weapon, and he told the officer this as required. The officer asked him for his license, and he said he was getting it from his pocket. The officer for some reason freaked out and shot him four times, killing him.
The officer did not have a body cam, which might have offered some insight. In this day and age I can't imagine a police department not equipping every patrol officer with a body cam.
His girlfriend was completely compliant, respectful, and calm, and I have no reason to think the black man wasn't, also. He had no prior criminal record, which the officer should have known before he approached the car. He was in fact a cafeteria manager at a public school. While the officer deserves his day in court, I can't imagine what happened that caused the officer to react the way he did.
It appears we're caught up in a viscous downward spiral of minority/police distrust, leading too often to violence. Civilians (of all color) need to be cognizant of the stresses officers are under and not give them any reason to over-react, and officers need to think before they act. If they can't analyze and think quickly, they shouldn't be cops. Shooting first and thinking after the fact is completely unacceptable.