Normally mayors will do everything they can to keep the police on their side, but recent events have made that all but impossible. With George Floyd’s murder, and citizens now realizing that it’s almost impossible to get cops with many complaints off the force, mayors are taking a stand against the group that is holding them back from reform, police unions.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors called the collective bargaining agreements they negotiate with police unions an obstacle to police reform and said the agreements made it hard to regain the public’s trust. That’s an understatement. If they can’t get rid of bad employees, then how can anyone be sure that the next officer they deal with isn’t someone who has been shielded from dismissal by a union?
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, chair of the conference’s working group on police reform and racial justice, told a news conference:
“We’re at the inflection point, and unions need to be part of the solution. Police cannot be effective, they cannot do their job, if they do not have the community on their side.”
While it’s a bit rich that Mayor Lightfoot, who has sided with protesters in ignoring public health, is calling on the police to be part of the solution, she has a point.
Collective bargaining agreements hobble investigations into police actions, and can even call for purging disciplinary records, making it impossible to know an officer’s history on the job.
The report calls for the establishment of a national database to prevent abusive officers from being rehired in other cities, which brings to mind a question. Why don’t we already have that?