Yes it can. If law enforcement leadership think outside the box, change can happen. If every cop that is around abuse and does nothing about it gets fired, change can happen. A whole new philosophy and method of training police officers is also needed. It is how you train new police officers that matter.     

The “Us Against Them” mentality that the citizens and police have can change.  

When a community sees the police are willing to work with the “WHOLE” community, the police gain true partners. Most families have a member who made mistakes. Maybe they have a record, are an addict, etc., and when the citizens see the police are willing to help and work with all people, the police gain trust. It is not about race, it is about community interaction in the right way.

When cops work with ex-cons, at-risk teens, and people who had negative run-ins with the police, they show the whole community that the police are not judging people. Understanding how to work with people who dislike the police is what is needed. Otherwise, it is a tit for tat situation and violence will continue to erupt.

A survey of young people aged 18 to 25 showed 88% of the young people had a negative interaction with law enforcement. Law enforcement and young people need to work together. Making young people a friend, not a foe is very important.


Ninety Eight percent of all cops join the police force to HELP people. It is the philosophy of the leadership in police departments that count. It is how the leadership works. A leader who gives his police officers awards for helping people, (changing a flat, speaking at a school, church, etc.), or uses resources in a community minded way, is a leader who sets the tone as a community minded leader. That is what is needed. Giving out awards for the most arrests, most DUI’s, etc. sets a confrontational tone. It is the way of the dinosaur.  

A smart, positive community policing leader sets the tone and the police officers under him follow it. The community becomes a friend and not a foe.

The police have to fix themselves first. How many videos do you see where other cops are around bad behavior and they do nothing? All the time, and until the police fix themselves, nothing will change. Abuses have been going on for decades and it is only because of cell phones and cameras everywhere that they are being caught.  

In August of 2013, Larry Lawton was the first ex-con in the United States to be sworn in as an honorary police officer in the city of Lake Saint Louis Missouri. In November 2013, Larry was the first ex-con recognized on the floor of the United States Congress for his work with helping young people.  Larry is a TV analyst, (Casey Anthony, Trayvon Martin, etc.) paralegal, court program developer, police adviser and teen and young adult issues expert for families all over the country. Larry Lawton co-authored the book “Gangster Redemption” his lifestory that covers  what really goes on in prison. He has developed a program to help young people stay out of prison.