Ferguson, Missouri, and the events that took place there last summer in the wake of the death of Michael Brown might seem to have little relevance to what goes on in places like Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside.
But, in fact, the issues of Ferguson are the issues of communities throughout the nation — of how police view and interact with the people they are supposed to serve.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel might not be the only chief who wants his officers to recognize and learn the lessons of Ferguson, but he’s the only chief we’ve heard publicly confront those issues.
Weitzel is right; the nature of policing is changing. Citizens are not enemies to be profiled and kept in line, they are people police are charged with serving and protecting. And it’s vitally important that police look beyond the borders of their communities to know where to draw lines and understand how relationships between police and citizens can go so terribly wrong.