COMMENT POSTED TO ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT
Response to another reader’s comment:
It is not just a simple thing like training, although that is important.
It is stupid hiring practices with no screening process for psychological indicators of unsuitable people.
It is no system of following up on those hired. It works much like teachers with the same poor results. Once hired and in the union, you're in pretty much for good even though you may give all kinds of signs of unsuitability. Few if any have long-term practices of being evaluated before being made permanent.
Many of these failures come down to costs, and the truth is Americans hate paying taxes in a visceral way, and you very much get what you pay for.
American urban sprawl reflects people constantly shifting out to newer-built suburbs where taxes are lower and where they are expected to be kept low. The higher taxes of older cities and towns are widely viewed with contempt. This sprawl also puts revenue pressure on the governments of the older places being left.
The US has so many "urban-sprawl" towns and communities, tens of thousands of them in places that were cornfields only a brief time ago. In many cases, these simply do not have the resources to do things right. Thus, training or other specialized facilities do not exist.
A prime source of hiring cops for many communities in America is the military. The gigantic armed forces are constantly producing a stream of people leaving. So people leaving the military - where all they've learned is obedience and killing and where the average intelligence is not high - are often readily accepted as police.
The problem is also a set of widespread attitudes about how policing should work. The generally accepted model in the U.S. is military.
There is also an undercurrent not spoken of in the press of the need to keep undesirables (with various definitions) away in communities.
In the end, it is the sheer fact that the U.S. is a very violent society, far more so than most British people can fully appreciate.
Again, below is the kind of violence which occurs in just one large U.S. city. The stats are authentic and regularly updated. This kind of stuff sends shivers through everyone as they read about it or see it on television. It is part of the air, if you will, everyone breathes, and it affects everyone with anxieties and fears.