The Police Apology

Chief Terrance Cunningham, head of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), made headlines last week when he apologized for historic police mistreatment of minorities. Cunningham’s apology brought strong reaction from both supporters and detractors. The membership of IACP was supportive, with the crowd, mostly police chiefs from around the world, responding with a standing ovation. Some critics were not enthusiastic. One police association leader from Minnesota called the apology “asinine” claiming it supported the myth at all law enforcement are “bad guys.”

A couple points — First, police mistreatment toward minorities is indisputable. That some vestiges of that behavior are to be found in current policing is also indisputable.  Acknowledgement of those facts is a good step in beginning some dialogue to close the gap between police and the black community.  Cunningham’s apology does not detract from the compassion and courage with which the overwhelming majority of American Police Officers conduct themselves.

Chief Cunningham is to be congratulated for his courage in speaking out in the polarized atmosphere in which we find ourselves.