This chapter examines policing in the United States from the perspective that Black police officers should contribute to the design, development, and delivery of police training. Drawing on the history of policing in America, we endorse a “do-no-harm” approach administered by Black people who are positioned to understand the delicate balance between police presence that enhances community safety and that which replicates the repressive force exerted by criminals and authoritarians. This is based on our experiences as former members of law enforcement agencies (municipal police, federal agent, and county prosecutor) and as trainers, members of oversight boards, policing researchers, and individuals actively engaged with highly policed communities. We assert that effective modern policing requires training designed, implemented, and delivered by and with Black police officers who: • Are compassionate, empathetic, race- and class-conscious, • Can identify with community viewpoints, in part, because of their own experiences with police as civilians, • Understand the work because of their experiences with the internal workings of police departments and the racialized mindsets that linger from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, • Have an ethical compass that does not prioritize career advancement and self-preservation above constitutional and other legal responsibilities, • Are idealists, willing to teach and learn from race-neutral principles of law enforcement set forth as early as the 1800s, and • Have exercised crime control through the use of compassionate and just practices.
We contend that the “right” Black police officers are uniquely positioned to understand and deliver on these requirements.