Jason Ulysses Rose is a PhD student in History at Western Michigan University.
Debate rages over police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police. Sadly, those debates died down after the police officer who was primarily responsible for Floyd’s death was tried and convicted. However, conversations about policing have resurfaced in the wake of President Biden’s State of the Union address and an increase in mass shootings. While some advocates for police defunding legitimately seek to defund the police, most of them use “defunding” as a shorthand for the idea that some funds must be reallocated to social services and restorative justice initiatives. While social work as a crime prevention concept is widely understood dating back to the settlement movement of the late 19th century, it also had some unexpected advocates. Among them are some trendy intellectuals.
While meddling and intellectual are rarely mentioned in the same sentence, as the word meddling is often associated with young (and stereotypically female) frivolity, this perception can and should be challenged. In contemporary society, people can use social media influencers instead of meddling.
Born at the trough of the first wave of feminism, with the increased leisure time and extended adolescence brought about by the Industrial Revolution, women gained certain social freedoms, including the right to vote, as a natural consequence. A famous example of a flapper is Daisy Buchanan the great gatsbyFor moviegoers, neither Mia Farrow (1974) nor Carey Mulligan (2013) portray her as an accurate stereotype of the flapper. the great gatsbyThe other heroine, Jordan Baker, represents another oft-overlooked feminist, sporty flapper, as contemporary magazines call it experience, aimed at a flapper audience, was also heavily reported and promoted. While loafers like Daisy are common, there is evidence that some are smarter, more serious, and more interested in community solutions than their elders thought—here’s a small example.
hidden in the pages experience is an article about police reform.Often called a fashion magazine by critics, 1923 experience Published an article titled “Turning the Police into Social Workers”. The author of the article opens with a bold claim: “Turn cops into philosophers! Replace clubs with exhorting fingers! Make stars a symbol of protection, not persecution!” Some might ask, “Why do these meddling care about teenagers? Crime?” Who do you think these forces are targeting rather than brothers, boyfriends and these “frivolous” everyday acquaintances?
The article goes on to quote a quote from Chicago police officer Sargent Thomas Ryan, saying we should make “the police a salesman for crime prevention, you’ll stop 85% of wayward young people from committing felonies, and you’ll save taxpayers millions of dollars” , and you will also save parents from suffering, especially poor mothers who have to work to raise young children.”
While policing was an issue at the time, the role of the police has only expanded. Spending on municipal police departments has nearly tripled since the 1970s, while spending on social programs has apparently not, meaning police often fill these gaps as well.In fact, according to Washington post, More than one in five people who die at the hands of police have some form of mental health problem. The foresight on how to prevent such a tragedy can be found in this relatively small two-page essay written by some “insignificant” little people.
Much of this article is an interview with Sargent Ryan experience. He pointed out that the youth under the age of 21 are the most troublesome people, and called this “dangerous period”, but the term “formation period” can also be used. Following Ryan’s introduction, the article recounts anecdotes about encounters between police officers and mostly young adult men that “reduce congestion in prisons.” Ryan’s proposed strategy is simple: First, put the person “in a listening attitude, then in a receptive mood, and finally in a position where he acts according to his beliefs” and avoids the indiscretion of his youth. Sargent Ryan went on to say, “Nothing can bring more joy from being a police officer on the beat from the sense of helping a neglected young man grow into a good citizen.” More often than not in debates Moderate, gentler policing, which makes the phrase true for today’s efforts.
The article then details how Ryan became a troubled orphan who is now working to create a “crime prevention bureau” to help the “ordinary wayward boy”. Through mentoring, Ryan said, troubled youth will learn that “labour, suffering, and trouble can stir our hearts and bring out the best in us. Suffering teaches us things we never understood before.” While this is a bit of an exaggeration and maybe even wishful thinking, it does show some shared American ideals. Ryan went on to suggest that these ideals were never taught to these young people because they were not taught to their parents; in essence, he was describing a cycle of poverty and arguing that well-trained officers could fill the void.
The article concludes with Ryan’s call for assistance from “women’s clubs, civic leaders, and social improvement organizations” to engage ordinary citizens, city councils, and other organizations. These proposals are more nuanced than contemporary discussions of policing and crime. Will this be the future strategy?
Some cities have already tried similar strategies. In 2016, the Alexandria, Kentucky Police Department hired a social worker to assist police with nonviolent calls and follow-ups. The town’s police chief, Lucas Cooper, believes that the use of social workers can reduce repetitive calls, thereby reducing work and stress for police officers. According to Cooper, social workers “bring a different skill set” that helps “fill in a lot of gaps.” It also seems logical that the frequency of accidental shootings should drop if there is less police stress.
A multi-faceted approach to addressing issues that can prevent future criminal activity is always more effective than the one-size-fits-all approach often suggested by policymakers and politicians.
So why is the bezel so concerned with this issue? Just like today, young people often bear the brunt of social problems, and young men (often minorities) are the hardest hit when it comes to policing. The romantic affairs at that time, as well as contemporary young people, were often smeared by society. The parallels between these young people and their ideas and current social media influencers, political protesters and other activists are uncanny. An important lesson can be learned: older generations of political leaders should not ignore the wisdom and knowledge of youth communities. Often it is their “inexperience” that allows them to come up with external solutions to problems that have plagued society for generations.
With that in mind, what Baffles are reporting in their magazine allows us to gain further insight as we move forward. We will benefit by emulating meddling in the “frivolity” of protecting our youth. While the partnership between social workers and police can be a contentious topic, it is worth exploring the potential benefits.
Perhaps just as important to history buffs is how this brief magazine article serves as the primary document to demonstrate something important about society and how the past offers lessons for today.