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Having followed policing issues professionally and personally for more than two decades, the events of recent weeks frustrated me deeply. I’ve experienced more than 35 ride-alongs with departments across Southern California and covered hundreds of criminal investigations. I’ve seen many of the strengths, weaknesses and changes of modern policing and developed a sense for the dissonance between public expectations and the realities of safely capturing miscreants.
The solution was revealed in something I jokingly suggested to a frustrated LAPD friend as he fumed that the local Ferguson protesters he dealt with “have no idea how this job works.” “You’re right,” I said, “you ought to hand out (police) recruiting flyers to them. Just say ‘you can be the solution.’”