National debate surrounding the shooting of an unarmed black teenager and the response by police in Ferguson, Missouri, has produced a clear consensus that this militarized transformation of American law enforcement—and all that comes with it—is not exclusive to Ferguson and should not be a part of the American landscape. So how can we change? How can we build an ethical police force based upon the concept of Constitutional policing by consent?
Stephen Downing, former deputy chief of police with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), suggests we look to the values elucidated by Robert Peel in the 19th century in "Nine Principles of Policing." Peel believed the role of police was "to prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment." Using Peel as the foundation, Downing argues that we should reshape the landscape of American policing with immediate reforms that include ending the war on drugs; ending asset seizures not accompanied by a criminal conviction; establishing effective civilian oversight to independently investigate all allegations of police misconduct; and establishing policies that address the abuses of "interfering" and "failure to obey" arrest laws.