Beyond the Badge is an online resource center for police employees, as well as their supporters and critics, to explore a big picture view of law enforcement and its core issues. Rather than the confrontational and accusatory approach taken by many similar organizations, Beyond the Badge seeks to foster education and discussion based on genuine understanding, compassion and goodwill.
Reform and accountability critiques of law enforcement are narratives which ignore the core issues and do not provide fluid and dynamic long term solutions. While Beyond the Badge makes no claim to having all of the answers, we hope that through cooperation with participants from all sides of the issue, we can craft new approaches to social problems that go beyond traditional notions of policing.
As human beings adapt and evolve alongside new sociopolitical and technological trends, we will increasingly require flexibility to maintain stability, peace and prosperity. It is our hope that, beginning at an issue as central to modern humans as law enforcement, we can branch out into explorations of how to meet the needs presented by the rapid changes our civilization is undergoing.
It is time to heal the wounds inflicted by divisive narratives of blame and build allies on all sides who have a common desire to improve the human experience with sustainable solutions that hold the dignity, liberty and well-being of all individuals as a central tenet of their ideology and action.
We welcome you to join us on our journey as a participant or observer, and insist that everyone involved treats each other with genuine respect. To this end we suggest that you take time to digest uncomfortable ideas and information and consider them fully and in good faith before responding or reacting with the impulsive behaviors that have so plagued internet-era culture and stood in the way of productive voluntary cooperation. Together we will put our best feet forward, one at a time.
Who Is Behind Beyond the Badge?
I went to undergraduate and graduate school for law enforcement, was president of my university’s criminal justice honor society, did dozens of ride-alongs, and interned at the St. Paul Police Department. But at some point, I began to question some aspects of policing. My concerns became compounded when I saw the harms caused by the war on drugs. Eventually I found the ideas that caused me to change course: Austrian economics, voluntaryism, abolitionism, transcendentalism, and Taoism. Later, I found myself drawn back to the policing conversation, not as an employee, but as co-founder of CopBlock.org. While that project added value on many levels, I ultimately found it reactionary and needlessly divisive. It is my hope that Beyond the Badge, with its emphasis on sustainable solutions, will be an instrument of positive change toward the mantra I’ve found most useful: “pursue your bliss and govern yourself.”
Joshua Scott Hotchkin
I am a writer, musician and artist whose interest in policing issues goes back to my childhood, where the apocalyptic narratives of the Cold War first instilled a suspicion of centralized authority in me. Nearly ten years ago I experienced unreasonable brutality and treachery by a police officer firsthand, and have explored the issues even more critically since. For two years (2015-2017) I was also a contributor, lead contributor and editor at CopBlock.org; in addition to being a public activist offline as well. My experiences there left me skeptical of all the voices dominating the issue, and especially of the ill will, bad faith and hostility that I too lowered myself by participating in. It is my hope that I can take what I have learned from that and apply it in a more dignified, honorable and productive way here at Beyond the Badge.