KSNF/KODE Joplin — All five former officers accused of killing Tire Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee last month made their first court appearance today (Friday) and pleaded not guilty. We spoke to a four-state police chief who offers his thoughts on the systemic failure of policing in America. “What are we trying to do? We are trying to produce professionals in a system in which, and without excuses, in a system that wants to do police on the cheap. This is America,” says Robert Spinks, Parsons’ police chief. Police reform and the drive to defund the police carry negative connotations. But that’s not what Chief Spinks thinks. For him, police reform means systemic changes. And Joplin’s NAACP chairman says the current system is antiquated but has been built into our country for centuries. “It’s not a new thing. Right? It’s not a new thing. And if you look back on it, it’s Black History Month, so let’s go back in history, right? If you think back to the 1700s and 1800s, the police were slave patrols. So, they have already been created, the department has been created with the wrong mindset with the wrong intentions. And therefore, we have to correct these things. And sometimes, the only way to correct these things is to sit down and reflect on how we evolved into the way we are today,” says Serita Eldridge, president of the Joplin branch of the NAACP. “If we can’t hold our people accountable , if we can’t provide proper guidance and supervision, then we’ll probably have to find another job that doesn’t have a gold badge attached to it,” Spinks says. Body cam footage showing five members of a special unit of Police in Memphis by brutally beating Tire Nichols, he reminds Deputy Chief Dennis Dodd why his department regularly alternates officer assignments: “Officers can get too comfortable in situations. That’s why a lot of times you’ll be moving officers around.” Because they’ll get too close,” says Dodd. ‘You’ll lose battles, but ultimately you’ll want to win the war.’ visa by both the department and the national system as a whole. He says both require change. “Use the lowest level of force to achieve the highest level of voluntary compliance. This is a mantra. With our agency, it is equally important to try to convince our community that we are guardians first and warriors second. We are an aid agency. This is what police work should be like.” A number of other police departments in the Four-State area declined to comment on the police beating of Tire Nichols.
February 25, 2023
February 25, 2023