The recent killings of Antwon Rose and Anthony Green point to a larger trend of young, inexperienced police officers hastily acting in what the officers must perceive as dangerous situations. Antwon Rose, 17: East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld, whose tenure with the force is literally hours as he just left his swearing in ceremony, fatally shot the unarmed teenager on June 19, according to NBC News. Anthony Green, 33: Kingsland Police Office Zechariah Presley, who has less then a single year of experience on the force, killed Green in Georgia last week, as reported by NBC news.
In the moments leading to their deaths, both Rose and Green were retreating, not advancing or threatening the officers, yet they still pulled their trigger. Racial profiling aside— of course, a strong argument could be made for it— these two untimely deaths are marks on the growing timeline of unarmed Black men being practically executed by police officers.
Other examples include Stephon Clark, 22 : On March 18, 2018 two Sacramento police officers— one of whom is Black— fired twenty rounds on Clark because they suspected his phone to be a gun. The officers involved have two and four years of experience respectively, CNN reports.
Philando Castile, 32: July 6, 2016 Minnesota Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, a 4-year officer, shot and killed Castile during a routine traffic stop, according to the Washington Post.
Alton Sterling, 37: July 5, 2016, Louisiana Police Officers Howie Make II and Blane Salamoni, who have 3 and 4 years on the force respectively, pinned down, verbally assaulted and fatally shot Sterling while he was selling CDs outside of a local convenience store, according to Bustle.com
The list unfortunately dates back to the 2014 fatal chokehold of Eric Garner by New York Officer Daniel Pantaleo and the iconic “I can’t breathe” phenomenon that swept the country. Pantaleo had 10 years with the NYPD at the time of the incident, yet every other death— since Garner— of an unarmed, young, Black man at the hands of the police involved an officer who was anywhere from a trainee (Tamir Rice’s killer Officer Timothy Loehmann) to a rookie (Akai Gurley killed by officer Peter Liang) to 5 years (Walter Scott killed by Officer Michael Slager) to 6 or 7 years of experience (Michael Brown’s killer Darren Wilson and both of Jamar Clark’s killers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze).
After connecting the dots that inexperience leads to wrongful deaths, it’s clear that cops with 10 years or less on the force need a more well-rounded, perhaps culturally sensitive-based training, that adequately encompasses the streets that these officers are entrusted to serve and protect. Perhaps, more importantly and substantially, however, seasoned cops should be partnered with newbies in an effort to cut down this tomfoolery that somehow occurs with regularity. A cop with 10 plus years generally knows the community that is being served better, and aren’t as trigger happy at the first sight of ruffled feathers during a routine traffic stop.
All in all, veterans at any given police department can show newbies the ropes and provide tidbits of wisdom and information that may not be covered with standard rules, regulations, and trainings. I previously proposed 10 With 10 during a webcast and it can be found here.
While 2-cop cars aren’t as common, a 1956 study published by Northwestern University and written by Frank D. Day states ”two-man operation can provide a more effective patrolling unit than one-man operation, but considerations may require a modified form of motorized patrol.” The study goes on to place money at the center of all “motorized patrol” issues. In other words, 2-man operations are too expensive so a 1-man line up, with the “impossib[ility] to observe properly and operate a vehicle,” is chosen in light of, what seem to be, perennial budget cuts.
A 1977 study conducted by the Police Foundation using the San Diego Department concluded that “one officer in a patrol car performs more safely and efficiently and as effectively as two officers and at almost half the cost with fewer public complaints.”
Only 2 other studies— the Deployment of One- vs.Two-Officer Patrol Units: A Comparison of Travel Time in 1981 and The Feasibility of One-Officer Patrol in New York City in 1984— come even remotely close to an analysis similar to 10 With 10.
Not only do these reports contradict each other on the effectiveness of two-cop versus 1-cop vehicles, they also show how dated studies into this questioning are— why has it been nearly 35 years since the most recent study on this specific police staffing practice has been conducted, especially considering the current climatic relations between law enforcement and the Black community. Either way, 1-cop vehicles, specifically those with newbies at the wheel, are ineffective and habitually deadly for the Black community.
The studies, however, manage to agree on the financial differences between 1-cop and 2-cop patrols, which seems to always be the driving force behind anything in this country. How many more Black lives have to be taken before staffing concerns outweigh funding? Pairing officers who have less than 10 years of experience with officers who have more than 10 years is the closest idea to a tangible solution that has been proposed. 10 With 10 is an actionable step that if tried, will prove itself. Before implementation, however, there is no sure way to guarantee that it will work without research and statistics to show from a test department.
So two things are at play here: 1) More studies into police staffing, as explicitly defined in this article, need to be conducted. 2) The proposed plan of 10 With 10 needs to be tested and immediately implemented, pending its success during the trial period.