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  • Writer's pictureKrista Bontrager

Police Reform; Guest: Mark Perez, former LAPD, Deputy Chief

Tonight we introduced the family to our friend, Mark Perez (LAPD, ret.). We talked about police reform and what reforms he thinks could be helpful.

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Interview with Mark Perez

Mark spent 30 years in the realm of policing, both in the field and in an executive role. Mark has worked with other agencies internationally (such as the State Department), in places such as Armenia and Mexico. Mark has extensive experience working on preventing corruption and providing internal investigations within police departments.

Why is policing important?

  • Best question to ask: What would happen if there was no police? There would be no restraint in the desires of sinful people! It would result in chaos, anarchy, and be terribly destructive.

  • There is nobody without oversight!

  • Without police, there is no protection!

  • here must be protection from the police because they have a huge amount of power. That power has to be guarded, as well as exercised, in order to protect the population from the evils that we know will get out of control if we let Satan operate the way he wants to.

What are some of the safeguards that should be in place?

  • Culture of the police department.

  • Culture of the politics that governs the police department.

Over time, there has been a shift from aggressive/restraining atmosphere of policing in the 1970s. Today, there is more of an emphasis on treating police officers as people, with kindness, respect, justice

What about people who say Social Workers should be sent in to de-escalate volatile situations, rather than sending in the police?

  • Social Workers should not go in first! Could be too dangerous!

  • People (suspects) who are in these situations to begin with, just don't handle life well and sending a Social Worker in once or twice won't help solve these problems; it's a complicated situation, but it won't get solved by putting Social Workers in the place of police officers.

  • Social Workers could possibly be used as a follow-up to what the police officers have already started.

Mark commented on the suggested police reforms listed on the website #8CANTWAIT -->

In terms of using their firearms, officers MUST answer for their actions.

  • Drawing their weapon and why?

  • Firing bullet #1 and why?, firing bullet #2 and why? and so forth.

  • In other words, each step in the process of using the firearm is assessed and accounted for.

As Christians involved in policing, part of our responsibility involves taking a stand for truth-telling, not accepting bribes, looking at evidence, being an ethical leader, treating people with integrity, not showing partiality/favoritism.

In order to find truth, it's probably best not to consult the news media...why? News media personnel are so good at propagating stories that are emotionally gripping. Once the emotions set in, belief follows. As Christians, we need to be aware of this! It is unjust to assume a position without knowing both sides of the equation!

What about body cameras?

Body cameras can be helpful, but they also have limitations.

It can become complicated if the camera does not "see"/record something the officer saw in the periphery. Also, the speed at which the human eye can see things vs. a camera is much faster and the ability for the human ear to pick up sounds is much more intricate than a camera. These are considerations to make when utilizing body cameras.

What goes into a decision to pull someone over?

The law says, the officer must believe the person committed a violation or they are about to commit a violation and there is reasonable cause to believe that some particular crime is afoot (ie speeding, possible traffic violation).

If someone is repeatedly pulled over--without being given a reason--it would be a good idea to put in a complaint with internal affairs/personnel. Make sure to get the officer's name!

The news media tends to focus on publicizing the negative stories involving law enforcement, BUT there are so many positive stories about police officers' acts of kindness and charity that no one will ever hear about.

Thank you, police officers, for your service to our communities!

Segment #1 Resources

Last year, we spoke with our friend, Eric Muldrow, from Code Red Conversations regarding policing; we addressed the question of whether policing is a large scale example of systemic racism.

Check out those episodes here:


Check out Monique's recent article in Christianity Today. Monique gives her perspective on George Yancey's book, "Beyond Racial Division: A Unifying Alternative to Colorblindness and Antiracism."

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