Rosa Brooks: What Police and Their Critics Can Agree On
In Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On Podcast
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On today’s episode, Andrew talks with Georgetown professor Rosa Brooks on her new book, Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City, and the relationship between the police and the population.
From the episode:
Rosa Brooks: Even the best police officers I knew—the people who were incredibly dedicated, really thoughtful, really compassionate, really smart—it’s almost impossible to do it well because we place so many contradictory demands on policing. Which, in turn, I actually think is what gets us to common ground between police officers and their critics. The defund the police movement, I think the rhetoric is alienating to a lot of cops, but if you push beyond that rhetoric and say, talk about the things that you do that you don’t think you should be doing, because you’re not good at it, you’re not trained for it; talk about the services that you wish were there to make what you do more effective when you’re doing what you think you should be doing. Then you get into a conversation about the ways in which we have disinvested in so many other services and how impossible that makes policing. And I think that’s the conversation that leads you to, hey, can we work together to rethink what we mean by public safety and the kinds of investments we need to make in the future.
Rosa Brooks is a law professor at Georgetown University and founder of Georgetown’s Innovative Policing Program. From 2016 to 2020, she served as a reserve police officer with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department. She has worked previously at the Defense Department, the State Department, and for several international human rights organizations. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal, and she spent four years as a weekly opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times and another four as a columnist for Foreign Policy. Her most recent book, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2016; it was also shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize and named one of the five best books of the year by the Council on Foreign Relations.