Cleveland.com 06-30-17

Letter to Editor: Police Departments Should Have State Standards

In response to a June 5, 2017 story by Cory Shaffer, “Lakewood mother files suit against police officer who broke her teen daughter’s jaw inside library:” it’s time to protect our students’ civil rights and advocate for a set of state standards for law enforcement. Why are police departments exempt from the same state support, oversight and accountability as doctors and teachers?

State agencies have virtually no role in setting standards used to guide law enforcement agency and officer interactions with youth. Rather, these standards are almost always developed solely by local police agencies and rarely reflect the expertise of adolescent psychologists or the perspectives of educators, parents and youth workers. This lack of training may result in incidents such as this one in Lakewood.

Legislators should require state agencies to create and enforce developmentally-appropriate, trauma-informed standards, backed up by training and support for officers. These standards will promote safer and more peaceful relations between youth and police and increase the likelihood that everyone will return home safely to their families. That’s one priority we can all share.

Lisa H. Thurau
Executive Director, Strategies For Youth

See the Letter on Clevelend.com »