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Articles by Casey Bastian

Mens Rea: Criminal Liability Should Equal Criminal Intent

The principle that, to hold someone liable for committing a criminal act, requires that the person intended ...

Audit of D.C. Forensics Lab Reveals History of Botched Forensic Analyses

Multi-Agency Task Forces Manipulate Jurisdiction to Avoid Liability

New Michigan Law Expands Criminal Records Expungement

Police Unions Block Meaningful Criminal Justice Reform

Massive Corruption of a Baltimore Task Force Exposed

Hundreds ...

NYPD Agrees to Alter Religious Headwear Policy

Prosecutors Who Demand Accountability From Everyone But Themselves

In New York, Former Prisoners With Mental Illnesses Lack Needed Support

Would the Real Officer Friendly Please Stand Up?

by Casey J. Bastian

In 1966, the official Officer Friendly program was first instituted by the Chicago Police Department. Shortly after inception, the program became sponsored by the Sears-Roebuck Foundation. This educational program was designed for elementary schools, focusing on kids ages 5-8. The Department of Education notes that by 1979, the Officer Friendly program was in 233 communities. That number expanded to 350 at the height of the program’s popularity in the late 1980s, prospectively influencing upward of 1.5 million youths. The cost to the foundation had risen to $400,000 per year.

On the surface, the program’s purpose seems entirely benevolent, viz., providing safety education while positioning the police officer as a trustworthy and kind savior of the community. Plausibly accepted as who could possibly object to safety education for our children?

In reality, the Officer Friendly program is viewed very differently depending on whom you ask. So who is the real Officer Friendly? Sadly, the response seems to depend on race. Is Officer Friendly the idealized vision in the 1958 Norman Rockwell depiction, The Runaway, where a cop is seen comforting a small White child, coaxing him to return home? Or is it the 1965 photograph ...

 

 

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