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In the last episode, we told stories exploring where the gospel meets law enforcement and ethnicity. In today’s episode, Jesse Eubanks and Anna Tran will reflect on all the things they couldn’t say about law enforcement and ethnicity, interview retired police lieutenant Daniel Reinhardt about police reform, explore what conservatives and progressives each get right and wrong about police reform and how the way of Jesus is better, and make a phone call to someone from around the world to see what they’re doing right now to make an impact on today’s topic.

Join us on Patreon to hear Dan Reinhardt’s full interview and 3 extra questions with him.



#35.5: Things We Couldn’t Say (About Law Enforcement and Ethnicity)

Note: The Love Thy Neighborhood podcast is made for the ear, and not the eye. We would encourage you to listen to the audio for the full emotional emphasis of this episode. The following transcription may contain errors. Please refer to the audio before quoting any content from this episode. 

AUDIO CLIPS: Love Thy Neighborhood… Discipleship and missions for modern times.

JESSE EUBANKS: You’re listening to the Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. I’m Jesse Eubanks. 

ANNA TRAN: And I’m Anna Tran. 

JESSE EUBANKS: This is Things We Couldn’t Say, where we wrestle and process the topic that we explored in story form in the last episode. This week – “Things We Couldn’t Say About Law Enforcement and Ethnicity.” In today’s episode, we’ve got four segments for you. First up – Things We Couldn’t Say, where we debrief the last episode. 

ANNA TRAN: And second, we have an interview with author and retired police lieutenant Daniel Reinhardt, where we talk about police reform. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Third – Beyond Left or Right, where we explore what conservatives and progressives each get right and wrong and how the way of Jesus is better.

ANNA TRAN: And our final segment, What Are You Doing, where I make a phone call to someone from around the world to see what they’re doing right now to make an impact on this topic. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Welcome to our corner of the urban universe.




JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so, big topic. Really challenging. 


JESSE EUBANKS: Um, there were like a thousand angles that we probably wanted to talk about that we just couldn’t even fit in. Let’s just actually just start with this – what was a standout moment for you in the episode, something that really stuck with you?

ANNA TRAN: I remember – I was the full time editor at the time. I wasn’t writing, reporting, or producing – but I remember when Rachel handed me all the audio and I was putting all the pieces together. And in an episode production timeline, I usually see the script first and then once I get the clips I put it together, and I remember when I first heard Jason Stephens’ story having to pause a couple times because I could really feel his upsetness coming through, um, the audio. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean, that, that one definitely stood out, uh, for me as well. Uh, it was a deeply troubling thing to know that he experienced that. I think the one that stood out for me because I experienced it, you know, was the literal, like, going downtown. All of downtown was barricaded. You couldn’t get a car down there because we were waiting for the verdict on the Breonna Taylor shooting – what are they going to do? And then ultimately to arrive down at the square and have that conversation with Millie Martin was especially something that stuck with me, and part of what stuck with me was her circle of friends that she was with had a policy that they didn’t talk to the media. They didn’t trust the media. They didn’t trust that the media was gonna represent their stories. Considering the fact that they are down there protesting abuse of power – they’re like, “We’re not gonna give our power over to media that’s gonna slice and dice everything we say into these sound bites.” Um, so they wouldn’t talk to anybody. And when they realized that I was with – you know, “I’m local, I’m with this ministry, this nonprofit, I just wanna tell your story,” and the fact that Millie let me in and that she was as vulnerable as she was. And of course, like, she went on to share really tough things – I mean, she’s talking about, I mean, basically she’s wrestling with the sovereignty of God, like, I, I don’t wanna sit here and talk about God because I don’t want to tell this kid God doesn’t make mistakes when their loved one was murdered, like, those two things can’t, can’t coexist for her, and so, um, which is very relatable. I mean, we all, I think any of us that have lost somebody, like, we struggle with – what do I do with the goodness of God and the sovereignty of God amidst this loss? And the fact that she was willing just to put that out so plainly, uh, I really appreciated her letting me in like that. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. Let me ask you this. So, let’s say, you know, you were in therapy with a counselor, uh, right now. What aspects of this topic do you think you would still be unpacking? 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, the first one I’d be unpacking is, uh, my utter confusion about why so many of the Christians that I was raised by, um, and brought to faith in Jesus through, why they cannot bring themselves to actually question whether there can be instances of injustice in the police system and that there might be things within policing that are broken that need to be evaluated. Like that deeply troubles me. Our faith is built on the idea that, uh, injustice was committed against our Messiah by religious people and good people in power, people that mean well, and they, they did the wrong thing. Um, I, I don’t understand why we can’t, uh, see that that’s still very possible today. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. I think for me, I grew up in a pretty suburban, you know, neighborhood, police were generally respected, and there wasn’t a tense relationship with police and police officers, and but now, living in a neighborhood that is much closer to ones where the relationship between the police and the community is really tense, processing, like, how my neighbors have experienced interactions with the police. Um, I remember, like, on my street even in this past year, like, seeing a police car come down and confront, you know, a man who’s black couple houses down. This guy was really upset because of his confrontation, and then the guy was calling out my neighbor’s name, you know, another black man, and trying to call for help. I’m honestly just remembering this now, so this is, I guess, something I would bring up. But it’s just a lot more close now than it was, you know, growing up. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Did you grow up around any African American communities? 

ANNA TRAN: Um, not really, honestly. I had, like, acquaintances. One of my best friends, um, she’s African American. But, like, we didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood. Like, she came to my church. And we didn’t talk about the police much in our interactions and stuff. 


ANNA TRAN: Um, because for her, it wasn’t something that she was wrestling with. It was just kind of like a, a felt reality or reality of her family. 


ANNA TRAN: So it wasn’t something that was brought up immediately.


ANNA TRAN: And then we haven’t lived in the same place for about three years now, but like growing up I was mostly around white people and Asian people. And for my parents – they don’t revere the police, but they also don’t hate the police. Their attitude is more – “This is the way the world operates. Make sure you follow the rules.” So law and order is a big thing. But because of their own personal experiences or experiences of family members –

JESSE EUBANKS: Their experiences here in America or in Vietnam?

ANNA TRAN: In America. The police in Vietnam is very different. And so at least in America, they don’t really talk about the negative experiences, um, as, like, explicitly, but the tone is of, like, suspicion, essentially. So if me or my siblings were to say like, “Oh, I wanna become, like, a police officer,” their reactions would most likely be, like, negative because they either don’t want us to get shot at or get hurt or they don’t want us to be like domineering with, like, power. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and for me, like, you know, you talk about just sort of this idea of, like, what you grow up with. Like, I live in this tension, right? I grew up in a family where I’ve got multiple family members who are in law enforcement, have been in law enforcement, folks in the military, folks in the judicial system. Like I’ve got a lot of connections in my extended family. So there’s a sense in which, like, I love and really respect these people. Like I believe that these are people that wanna do good. I believe these are people who are trustworthy. And at the same time I have to live with the reality that when I moved from Louisville all the way up to Oakland, California, there is no denying my experience, my relationship to the police, even by, you know, I was a white guy living in West Oakland, California, but the, the dynamic changed instantly. Like, I had a scenario happen where I got mugged. Uh, I got punched. I’m bleeding on the sidewalk. You know, somebody takes me in to clean me up. You know, we go outside. We’re waiting for the police to show up. Police never come. I go to the hospital. The cop comes to take the report and says, “Oh yeah, we waited for you.” And it’s just not true. Like, you know, I’m walking down the street and cops would stop me and tell me, you know, that I shouldn’t be there. I mean, there was just, it was, there was just a different dynamic, like, um, policing was done different in my neighborhood. Now, is that anecdotal? Uh, sure, but at the same time I think there’s plenty of stories, you know, across the spectrum that people can go, “Okay, there’s a composite here.” So, so I think that’s like the tension that I live in is knowing that there’s really great cops out there, really great law enforcement, you know, folks out there. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, like your family members. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Like my family members. But there’s also no way around the fact that there are systemic issues and all it takes is, like, a little bit of bad character and a bad day and a bad judgment call and you’ve got all the power to do all those things and you can forever change somebody else’s life, you know? And I just think about like how many times officers assert themselves by force and it doesn’t escalate enough to be like captured on video, it doesn’t escalate enough to like, you know, somebody doesn’t result, you know, end up in jail, but it’s a story closer to what Jason Stephens shared. It’s something where it’s like, wrong place, wrong time, wrong skin color. You know, it’s just like, and that’s just horrible. Um, so that’s the tension I live between, and, and so often people want us to choose. Either you’re pro-police and you are gonna root for them every step of the way, or you’re anti-police and you think that they’re the most corrupt thing in the world. And, and I’m like, I don’t think either one of those things are true to reality. I think that those are biases that are really troubling. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. Well, at the end of the day, you know, we want, you know, God to bring newness and, like, redemption to this. So, where do you see God working and moving when it comes to this topic?

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, like, one, one thing that comes to mind is I think of, like, a, a buddy of mine who’s black, uh, grew up in a neighborhood where the relationship with the police was tense, uh, didn’t have the most positive view of the police, had personally experienced a lot of things at the hands of the police that were, that were unjust and were uncalled for. Fast forward, he becomes a believer. Eventually, he gets to know this white guy who’s also a believer. They become friends. That guy’s a cop. And they start a multi-year journey of friendship, you know, with the two of them talking about their experiences. And ultimately, it was redemptive for my friend who’s, who’s black to have a, a broader view of the police and to see, “Okay, there are officers that are really worth trusting and that really wanna do good,” but then also for the white police officer to see, “You know what? There are times where we as police are making the wrong judgment calls, where we’re, we are, you know, treating people of color in ways that we don’t treat white suburbanites.” And it doesn’t mean that they agree on everything, like those two guys will, like, wrestle it out. But I think that I just see the Lord at work in terms of they’re both believers, their brotherhood as Christians supersedes these other barriers but also helps them stick in it enough to continue to wrestle with it, and to see the Lord’s redemptive hand in the, in the way that they’re both seeing the truth of the world.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, I think about, um, just stories that I’ve heard of, um, officers who are willing to essentially own up to some of the stuff you were just talking about and acknowledge that things are not right. Yeah, I just think about how these types of conversations have, um, I think helped the church to take a closer look at God’s way of justice and then also think through, like, one, the goodness of law and order and what are the good things of that and then how are the ways that that can sour really, really fast. Um, and I think with this topic, it shows the ways that it does sour really, really fast. Um, so things like protests and like people speaking up about this, I think really shakes the church up to be forced to really like reckon and face these issues like head-on, um, to acknowledge, like, it’s not perfect and be humbled by the things that aren’t perfect and then take a look at our own hearts and be like, “Oh shoot, like, where are the, the ways that I’m really souring on this topic?”

JESSE EUBANKS: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Okay, can I say one last thing before, uh, we wrap this up? 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. Go for it. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Um, just listening back, man, that Tom Skinner sermon.

ANNA TRAN: That’s a classic. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Holy smokes. Every time. I mean – 

ANNA TRAN: That was in the, what, the ’70s?

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s nearly 50 years old. And, uh, you know, you and I were talking about this. How is it possible that it’s almost 50 years old and it sounds so relevant? And that is both deeply disturbing and it’s also like prophetic. It’s like, you know, uh –

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. Prophetic and very hopeful – 


ANNA TRAN: Like, knowing that at the end of the day, God’s kingdom, when it comes, is going to be so beautiful.

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah. Okay, so I know I said it in the episode – like, seriously, if you’re listening to this, go listen to that Tom Skinner sermon. It is incredible. 

ANNA TRAN: You can find it on YouTube online. Just type in “Tom Skinner Urbana.”


ANNA TRAN: Okay, so those were most of all the thoughts we couldn’t say on this episode. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So stay with us, because when we come back, we’ll be talking with author and former police lieutenant Dan Reinhardt. Stay with us.


JESSE EUBANKS: You’re listening to the Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. I’m Jesse Eubanks. 

ANNA TRAN: And I’m Anna Tran. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Before the break, Anna and I gave our final thoughts on things that we couldn’t say about law enforcement and ethnicity, and now joining the conversation is former police officer Daniel Reinhardt. Daniel Reinhardt served as a police officer near Cleveland, Ohio, for 24 years, including serving as a lieutenant. After retiring from the police force, he was assistant professor at the Heart of Texas Foundation College of Ministry at the Memorial Unit, a prison in Rose Sharon, Texas. Currently, he is Associate Director of Student Life and Applied Ministry at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also earned his PhD. He lives here in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Yvette, and Daniel is the author of the brand new book, Rethinking the Police: An Officer’s Confession and the Pathway to Reform, from InterVarsity Press, releasing on November 21, 2023. Dan, welcome to the show. 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Glad to be here. Thank you for having me. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, yeah. You know, this is a really big topic. So let’s start here – you’ve written a book called Rethinking the Police: An Officer’s Confession and the Pathway to Reform. Before we get into the ideas that you propose, I wanna go actually back to your teenage years. You describe growing up in an ethnically diverse community. Can you tell us about that?

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah, so I grew up just west of Cleveland in a city called Lorain, and it’s called the International City. It’s very diverse and very integrated. It’s difficult to find an area in Lorain, which is unlike other places, which I didn’t know as a kid, where there isn’t black, white, and Hispanic all intermixed in different neighborhoods. Growing up, it was just normal to me to be completely together. I married an African American woman. We dated before I joined the army. But so this was very normal for me, and, uh, as I got older I realized not as normal for the rest, at least everywhere else. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah. So let’s fast forward a little bit. What happened that made you want to become a police officer? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: This is one of God’s ironies. So before I say this – I’m very happy that I was a police officer. I’m proud to be a police officer, but I didn’t wanna be a police officer. I got out of the army and I needed a job because I had a wife and children, and so I started taking civil service tests because in the city of Lorain they gave you 20 percent towards your score if you were a veteran. So it was just easier to get on the list, easier to get hired, so I took any test they offered and ended up getting hired as, as a police officer, which I was very happy to do and excited to do. But I didn’t have this, like, lifelong dream to be a police officer. I just needed to be gainfully employed and take care of my family. 


ANNA TRAN: What was it like getting started? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: So, when I got out of the military, we had to take housing and government housing in the projects. I mean, Lorain is a very lower socioeconomic community. There’s not a lot of job opportunities. So, I was a military veteran and took a full time job at Kmart stocking shelves. It was the best job I could get at the time, and so we actually had to move into government housing because even though I worked full time we were under the poverty level and the government housing was a lot nicer than when we, the apartment we originally got when we came back from Texas out of the military. So to answer your question, I was just super excited to have a job that paid me like three or four times what I was making at Kmart. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, yeah. So you describe a bit of your time in the police academy and some of the training that you went through. You talk about both the formal policies that your instructors were teaching you. These are things that are on the books. Then there was also talk about this idea of absorbing the informal attitudes and beliefs of your training officers. What were some of the, the policies or beliefs that you began noticing as it related to ethnicity?

DANIEL REINHARDT: You know, I don’t know if I drew that, that link, but that definitely would, would happen because the, the majority of the violent crime that we had in our city was from, uh, happening in minority areas, primarily minority areas. And you get this us versus them mentality, which they write a lot about in police literature. And of course I wasn’t aware of that, but you start to see anybody, uh, who’s committing crime or giving you a hard time as it’s really a, like an, an, you take a posture that they’re the enemy, that you’re to get them, that you’re to catch them. And what’s happening is there’s definitely racial lines going on there and most of the people you’re projecting that towards are going to be minority peoples, at least where I worked. 

JESSE EUBANKS: And, and, and that would show up just because of, you know, your training officers just talking about, “Okay, so when you go into this kind of neighborhood, here’s some of what you can expect to encounter,” but the context was almost always one where it was, they weren’t white folks. It was, it was minorities.

DANIEL REINHARDT: I would say this – at least where I was at, because there’s another, there’s another side to it. There’s people who are upset with the police. You know, they have good reason in some cases, of course. But it’s white, black, and Hispanic, but those areas are mostly black and Hispanic. They’re lower socioeconomic areas. That’s where you’re dealing with usually the people that are less than happy to see you. That’s where a lot of the violent crime’s taking place. That’s where you’re directed to do proactive policing, where you’re making traffic stops and stopping people. So that can – it just naturally, organically becomes this contention between you and people in these communities.

ANNA TRAN: Mmm. Can you think of, um, like a story where that came up? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah, so, I’m a police officer for six months and I become a Christian. Understand, I’m not raised in a Christian home. I’m in a broken home. I had two really good parents, but it was not the same home. And anyways, I become a Christian about six months into the job. I would walk into the jail cells after release people because I knew what was in my heart. When you’re in sin, you know it. Whether you want to admit it or not, you know it. And now my family – I had a job that I did not wanna lose because I wanted my family to flourish. I didn’t wanna live, I didn’t wanna raise us in, in poor neighborhoods and everything that came with that. I didn’t wanna blow it. So I would stand in the jail cell and say, “Dan, don’t do anything stupid that puts you in here.” I knew what I was like, I knew how I thought, and I knew the temptations out there and now this new authority I had, but, uh, I’m saved about six months on the job and I, and I remember just getting into, like – you, you, when you’re patrolling, you look at people. Well, the guy eyeballed me. So I jumped out of the car and –

ANNA TRAN: Just, just eye contact?

DANIEL REINHARDT: Oh, yeah, he didn’t, he didn’t break the law. A consensual encounter though – you start to talk to him, he gives you attitude, and you say, “Oh, he’s suspicious.” So now I do a Terry stop, stop and frisk – which for the record I was wrong in doing that, but that’s a process that was normal and it was very – you know, I may be an officer now a year, a year.

ANNA TRAN: How old are you about?

DANIEL REINHARDT: 22, 23 years old. Yeah, a lot of power for a younger –

JESSE EUBANKS: And so you’re like, I mean, you’re, you’re in your early 20’s, you’ve got all this authority and power. 


JESSE EUBANKS: Uh, you, you know, you just talked about the fact that you’ve got this, um, a moral war that’s going on inside of you at times, uh, and so then here you come upon this guy. So he’s, he looks at you, and then what happens? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: So I, I ended up patting him down and I intimidated him is what I did. I didn’t have him for anything, so I sent him walking, but it’s a confrontational encounter. And I got back in the car – and now I had been doing this for like a year as a police officer, but now I’ve been saved for six months. And, as you know, we don’t become, uh, holy overnight. It’s, it’s a process that the Holy Spirit’s working in you. And I got in the car, and I, and I just remember what the Lord, the conviction of my heart was, says, “What if that guy walks into your church Sunday? What will you say?” And it just changed. I was able for the first time to see past some of the things I was doing and the way I was treating people – which I’m not making an excuse. I should have known better anyways – but that was a big moment in my life of like, “Okay, I can’t be like this.”

JESSE EUBANKS: Let’s fast forward a little bit. We can acknowledge that like there’s a lot of talk in the general public about police reform. What I’m curious about is how police officers are talking about police reform.

DANIEL REINHARDT: Uh, I’ve, I’ve never heard officers talk about police reform in a positive sense. Uh, the conversations that I’ve – and understand, my police department was a high crime area. You know, policing isn’t necessarily a monolith. So in those areas, they’ve seen a lot, been through a lot, and there might be more jaded, for instance, than some guy working in a sheriff’s department in a rural area or something like this. But from the time I got hired until almost I left, a lot of police officers were waiting for, quote unquote, “the pendulum to swing back.” In other words, they thought, “This is ridiculous. We need to get back to the old ways that it used to be.” I think now they’re realizing that’s not gonna happen, but I don’t hear any serious conversations on what we need to do different.

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, this is Jesse actually dropping in from the future, uh, after this interview took place. A couple things I, I wanted to point out. We got into this portion of the conversation here that was really fascinating but way too long to include in this episode. And it was a whole conversation about CompStat and the idea that policing is now driven by data, and while that sounds great, there’s actually a whole lot of horrible side effects of some of that. If you wanna hear the unedited interview, uh, with Dan, you can head over to our Patreon and it’s there. Another way that you can explore this is actually to check out the podcast Reply All and two of their episodes, “The Crime Machine, Part One and Part Two” – and just a warning, uh, it does have graphic content and language, but it explores the creation of CompStat and how it impacted New York City. It’s fascinating. Okay, back to the interview. 

ANNA TRAN: Were you talking about this topic with your church, uh, your community of faith? What were those conversations like? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: No, no, I never had those type of conversations with them. Honestly, no one really wanted to hear them. Police officers didn’t wanna hear them for sure. People in the church weren’t interested in that. And so in, in Lorain where we were at, the church is gonna be filled with people that lean left and right. 

ANNA TRAN: So pretty diverse, you would say? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah, yeah. So –

JESSE EUBANKS: But polarized. 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yes, but polarized. So you bring up police, you might as well bring up politics. Just to give you an example, I’m a conservative, evangelical Christian, a moral conservative. The police department, the chief told, the new chief said – and I, and I love the new chief, he’s a wonderful guy, and we had a great relationship, but he’s very direct. And he said, “Dan, you know, I’m thankful for what you’re doing here, but the guys and I just think you’re a left wing liberal.” To them, I was on the political far left. I use that example to say when you had those conversations in church, you criticize the police, you’re gonna get thrown in one side or the other. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Well, let’s talk about this then. A lot of folks do hear the words police reform, you know, to your point, and it brings a lot of assumptions to the topic. Can you tell us what you don’t mean when you talk about police reform? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Absolutely. I don’t mean defund the police. I don’t mean abolish the police. I don’t mean that the police are the sole problem for the violence in our communities. I don’t mean urban violence isn’t a serious problem. I don’t mean that, I don’t think the majority of officers have bad intentions. I think it is a very small minority of officers that are actually doing egregious acts. I do believe though that the system’s a problem and that it needs to be reformed. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So, you do believe that there’s a need for police reform. A lot of other folks agree with you, you know. So you do, you hear phrases like “defund the police,” “abolish the police,” and that’s coming from people that clearly agree with you in as much as they also agree there needs to be, uh, some reform, but you don’t see those as quality solutions, you know, this notion of defund the police.

DANIEL REINHARDT: No, no. I’m not even sure you can do that because if you get rid of one entity and bring in another as if it could exist apart from the, the history it’s already part of.

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so then, so how does, how does change in police culture actually happen? Uh, you know, can you walk us through your proposal? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah. I think it has to start with a leadership change. Now, all this should somewhat be done simultaneously, but what has to change is the leadership because the leadership can change the culture. And then, until you change the culture, even, then you can change the strategy. So for instance, a culture that’s been predicated on an enforcement mentality is never going to be able to truly do community policing. 

ANNA TRAN: Could you break down, um, like enforcement strategies? Like, I’m not familiar with policing terms.

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah, so what I argue is that what’s implicit and so anchored in police thinking is that you will enforce your way out of every problem. Enforcement is the solution. Yes, they recognize that we do things that aren’t enforcement, but ultimately we solve every problem through arrest or citation. That’s the goal.

JESSE EUBANKS: Assertion of authority. 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yes. There’s mission statements and there’s different things in police policy that are essentially platitudes. The police enforce, thus the term “law enforcement,” and that is the mission. That’s what a good police officer is. He or she enforces. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Which, which to your point from earlier, reinforces the notion of us versus them.

DANIEL REINHARDT: And we can determine who the good people and the bad people are. There’s never a question that you’re targeting the wrong person. I mean, I assumed that for the longest time. I assumed that as a Christian. I assumed that after that encounter I described. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Mmm. Mmm. So you, you know, you propose leadership change, and what do you mean by leadership change?

DANIEL REINHARDT: What I think I’ve said that’s unique that very few haven’t connected is I’m connecting the way leaders use oppressive tactics, how that builds those same attitudes and practices in policing. Police leadership is, relies a lot on positional power, and because of the strict hierarchy that I think’s necessary in a police department because there’s not always time for negotiation on what we’re gonna do, it’s easy to be a tyrant, to use kind of, you know, a tyrannical leader. Those – that policing leadership model is what builds the character in officers, so it reinforces the police culture. And what I identify in the police culture is a social distance from people that leads to dehumanization that makes it easy to abuse power.

ANNA TRAN: What is the conversation like when you talk with other police officers who are, you know, people of color? They’re Hispanic. They’re black. What are those conversations like? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: So I had a, I had a friend who’s a, he’s now a captain. Um, but he was, we were lieutenants together, and he had a, a rough experience on the police department. Some overtly racist things were done to him, but when we would have conversations, he’d shut the door because he felt like there were things he could share with me that, that he didn’t want to share with other people because he knew I saw it differently. 


DANIEL REINHARDT: But I share that story to say he would have to be very careful to say certain things, and the reason I’m explaining that is I think when you come in as a white police officer you’re kind of automatically accepted unless you give them a reason to kick you out of the club. I think a black officer has to show that “I’m really blue” before you’re let into the club. 


DANIEL REINHARDT: And so there’s a greater social pressure on them, at least from my, from what I’ve seen. “I’m black officer,” so if, you know, you could speak up at your own peril in a system where leaders have a lot of control over you. 

JESSE EUBANKS: What do you say to people that would go, um, “Listen, Dan, there’s just, we live in the real world. There’s going to be collateral damage. The only way that we’re going to address these crimes in these communities – this is the process. We’ve got to be realistic that we’re going to have to pull over a whole bunch of people that, yeah, they’re innocent, but, man, that one car I found that was loaded up with stuff, I, I saved people. And what you’re talking about, it puts people more at risk rather than actually helping them”? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Well, let me just turn that question around and, and, and put it in these terms. Think there’s a date rape problem in colleges? 


DANIEL REINHARDT: Think there’s a drug problem? 


DANIEL REINHARDT: So let’s hit University of Louisville with no tolerance policing. Let’s hammer it. And just think all the drugs we’re gonna find, and I bet you next year we’ll see date rapes down. How long would that last when they call their parents and say, “I’ve been arrested for possession of marijuana, I got a ticket for this. My life is now ruined because I have this record. I’ve been treated in a way that nobody gets treated anywhere else in this country”? How long would it last before America would rise up and say, “This needs to stop”? 

JESSE EUBANKS: Well, the difference there, of course, is the, you know, in this example, those people would have access to attorneys. There’s money that would allow them to get attorneys that would allow them to start doing lawsuits. Those are much harder things to obtain in, in low-income communities.

DANIEL REINHARDT: But the public voice – how long would we stand for it? 

JESSE EUBANKS: Very briefly. 

DANIEL REINHARDT: How has it gone on in communities of color, this, this law?

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, that’s disproportionate representation. Who’s got the power to change something?

DANIEL REINHARDT: So if it isn’t racial and it’s just socioeconomic, as some people say, okay, fine, then why hasn’t anything ever been done? So the answer to your question is there are other solutions, but first of all, it’s wrong to do that. It would be wrong to do that to the University of Louisville. It’s wrong to do it to Shelby Park in Louisville. It was wrong to do it where we did it. And so what’s the practical way you do it? Well, you can use intelligence to target gangs, offenders, people that you know you can direct your efforts toward that because you know they’ve committed these crimes. You have the evidence. I don’t have to target the whole neighborhood. I can get the community to say, “Hey, we want to go after these folks who’ve done this. We want your support. We want you behind us. We can do it upfront. We can do things that maybe would be a little slower and maybe a little less effective in prosecution that would get us to peace and unity over time.”

JESSE EUBANKS: What makes you the most mad on this topic? What are you the most angry about? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Uh, the obstinacy of police leaders. They’re a tough group to talk to. And they can be very honorable men, but they don’t want to see this. And, um, I think police leaders are forced to be one way in the public and another way with their men and that they can live in that hypocrisy, and I’m guilty of that. That’s what bothers me because if we were really being authentic, we just, we wouldn’t do that. And it’s just gonna be – and, and they’ve sort of been created by this, this climate. But that’s what bothers me, partly because I know I was the same way, and we need to see past it. 

ANNA TRAN: So, how has your, you know, Christian faith uniquely impacted, um, your journey through this? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah, um, I don’t have a hard, I don’t have a hard time understanding, uh, human depravity for a couple of reasons, what I’ve seen as a police officer and then how easy you can be blinded yourself by power and different things and unable to see the flaws in yourself. Um, so I hope the book comes across as a humble journey and that I write it with guilty hands. So the Lord’s – and I think as a Christian, I’m able to look at the dark parts of my heart and the things I’ve done knowing that He forgives me, and that’s what enables me to do it ’cause it’s hard to take that clear look and say, “Look, I had all, maybe I had all the right intentions, but I did some things that weren’t right.”

ANNA TRAN: Mm-hmm.

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah. Yeah. So research shows that white evangelicals in particular, um, are very concerned with law and order. Uh, law and order comes up in a lot of political speeches, it comes up in surveys, very, very concerned with that. You know, you yourself have talked about, you affirm the need that we need to have law and order, not lawlessness and chaos. Um, but, um, how have you seen this emphasis on law and order among white evangelicals in particular, like, get twisted or even overemphasized? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah, the assumption is law and order comes through hard enforcement. It’s not working. It’ll never work. So they’re connecting those things, so when someone says “reform the police” or “rethink the tactics,” they think that’s gonna result in chaos. I think when you understand what we’re doing is, as I described, a crash diet – it will not work long term. It will not bring long term law and order and peace – once you understand that, then you start thinking differently. So their intentions are right. We need law and order, but you’re assuming that it’s gonna be done through this war on, on crime. It won’t work.

JESSE EUBANKS: Well, stay with us, because when we come back, we will be exploring beyond left or right with Dan Reinhardt. We’ll be right back. 


JESSE EUBANKS: Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. Jesse.


JESSE EUBANKS: And now it’s time for Beyond Left or Right. Okay, so in this segment of our show, we ask our guests to put today’s topic through three questions. What is the traditional view on police reform? What is the progressive view on police reform? And what is the Christian view on police reform? So here’s how this is gonna work. Uh, we’re gonna ask you three questions. When you are summarizing opposing views, we ask that you be charitable, uh, present both the conservative and liberal view very fairly and objectively rather than trying to make it look foolish. And then for the final question, tell us which elements both conservatives and liberals get right and how the Christian view challenges and surpasses both. Uh, so we’ll take this one question at a time, one question at a time. So, let’s start.

ANNA TRAN: First one, what’s the traditional view of police reform? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: I would say the traditional view is that they’re gonna, the, the enforce, strict enforcement, lots of police officers, enforcing where the crime takes place, strong police leaders, making the policemen do their job, and law and order, like the war on drugs, the war on crime. Just that, that’s kind of the conservative view. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, what is the progressive view on police reform? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: I think they’re “let’s just throw out the whole model and start over and we can have social workers come in and do certain things and, uh, it’s just a, a gross misunderstanding of what they’d be walking into.”

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so now let’s talk a little bit about the Christian view on police reform. 

ANNA TRAN: Okay, so first – what do conservatives get right? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Well, they’re absolutely right that the police can’t lay down and you can’t ignore crime and get rid of bonds and just result to chaos. That, that’s, that’s insanity. They’re absolutely right.

ANNA TRAN: Mm-hmm. Like, anarchy at that point.

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah, you can’t just say, “Hey, we’re just, we’re just gonna kind of love everybody into compliance,” or I’m not sure what their, what, you know, their, their view of, uh, these states where they’re doing nothing with the homeless people, they’re doing nothing with crime, there’s no bonds, people walk right back out of jail. It’s chaos. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so then, uh, what do liberals get right? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: Liberals get right that strict enforcement isn’t working, that prisons that punish aren’t working, that strict sentences aren’t working, that there’s problems with the police, there’s racial, uh, components that, uh, inform this that we need to deal with. So they get a lot of that right. 

ANNA TRAN: And what would you say is a Christian view on this? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: So we’re – I would say the Christian view is sort of a combination of both, that we need to address those flaws in the system without resorting to chaos, need to reform the system full of fallen people into the best it can be in a fallen world.

JESSE EUBANKS: So how does the Christian view challenge that conservative outlook? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: That you can’t forget that there’s, that these are real people in real neighborhoods and you, that maybe it isn’t your neighborhood, and that you can’t come in and just put ’em all in cages and not worry about it and think the problem’s solved.

ANNA TRAN: And how does the Christian view challenge the progressive liberal? 

DANIEL REINHARDT: That people are fallen and sometimes you have to give them real consequences to reform their behavior. 


JESSE EUBANKS: Mmm. Well, Dan, thank you so much for joining us today. So do you have, uh, 15 more minutes to stick around for just three more questions?

DANIEL REINHARDT: Yeah, definitely. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Alright, so if you wanna hear those extra 15 minutes of this interview, we will be posting that on our Patreon, and that is a segment that we simply call Three Questions. So you can head over to to hear the rest of our conversation with Dan Reinhardt. Okay, and now it’s time for What Are You Doing? where Anna makes a phone call to someone around the world to see what they’re doing right now to make an impact on today’s topic.

A.G. MILLER: Hello? 

ANNA TRAN: Hi, Mr. Miller. 

A.G. MILLER: Yes, hi.

ANNA TRAN: Alright. Could you introduce yourself to our listeners? Tell us your name and where you’re calling from. 

A.G. MILLER: My name is Albert George Miller. Most people know me as A.G. Miller. I am calling in from Oberlin, Ohio. I live here in Oberlin. I taught for 27 years at Oberlin College. I also serve as a pastor of the Oberlin House of the Lord Fellowship.

ANNA TRAN: Um, so I wanted to ask you – how did you get involved with this topic? So we’re talking about law enforcement and ethnicity and as it relates to police reform. Tell me about how you got involved with that. 

A.G. MILLER: Well, that’s a longer answer. Uh, throughout my life as a Christian, as a activist, I’ve been involved with our national church, particularly in Brooklyn, around issues of police brutality that goes back into the seventies and the eighties. But once I came to Ohio and our church formed, we have our current police chief in Oberlin, who was a member of our congregation, African American man who’s been a police chief here for five years. Before that he spent 20 some years in the town adjacent as a sergeant in that police department. And that’s the chief would come to me every time he would see one of these issues of police brutality happen and he said, “Pastor, it’s only a matter of time before that comes to Lorain County,” and I said, “Wow.” I said, “You’re absolutely right.” So I became a member of the community foundation of Lorain County, on the board of that organization, and ended up being the chair of the community outreach program, and we try to draw together, starting with our police chief here, to begin to have conversations in the larger community around the issue of police-community relationships. That’s how I got into this conversation now. 

ANNA TRAN: So when you started, um, pursuing, you know, relationships with police departments, what would that look like? Would you have the phone numbers of those police sergeants directly? 

A.G. MILLER: Yeah. We tried to gather police chiefs to talk about how do we both build better communications with, with the community. Lorain County is 34 minutes out and many of them have their own police departments and so we try to reach out to some of the larger of those departments and to get their police chiefs to come, to come and talk. And this is in the middle of George Floyd, by the way. And we wanted to ask the question – how do we avoid this here, and what do we do to begin to change the nature of the conversation, uh, with various police departments? And I, uh, to be quite honest, it has been an uphill battle, uh, for a variety of different reasons. One, in the last three years, many of the police departments had leadership, the chiefs of police have either resigned or retired or – and so you begin to build a relationship and then that person resigns or retires and now you have to kind of start all over again. We wanted those police officers to go through racial equity training. And, you know, many of them said, “Well, our men are not gonna want to do that. That takes up way too much time out of their, their busy schedules,” et cetera. So it’s, you know, it’s been a, it’s an ongoing process. We have not made much success, but this is an issue that we’ve had to, we’re continuing to push forward on. 

ANNA TRAN: Mmm. What’s something that encourages you with pursuing this type of work, especially with like other Christian brothers and sisters? 

A.G. MILLER: Even in the midst of all of these incidences, I’ve had to look out at my congregation and see two – well, now two, but it was three. One of our, one of our police officers died. 

ANNA TRAN: Oh, wow. 

A.G. MILLER: Yeah. Uh, but to look out in those congregations and realize that what I see in them are men of compassion, men of, of concern, men who don their uniforms because they truly believe that they’re providing a public service, men who are fiercely committed, black men in this case, who, who live in that tension of being black and a police officer on a regular basis. And it helps, it helps when I look out at them and I’m interacting with them, it helps me to keep some balance and say that not all police are, are corrupt, not all police are, are dangerous, but it does help me to see, as they will point out themselves, that there’s a lot of things that have to happen in blue culture. Every culture needs to be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that includes the blue. 

ANNA TRAN: Mr. Miller, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. 

A.G. MILLER: Yeah, you’re more than welcome, and I’d be happy to talk to you at any other time. Thank you. 

ANNA TRAN: Alright. Sounds good. Take care now.


JESSE EUBANKS: Well, thanks so much for joining us. Make sure to leave a review for the show wherever you listen to podcasts. Support the show and our ministry by becoming a Patreon supporter. You can get bonus content and workbooks for each topic that we cover. To support our show, head over to Again, that’s We will be back in two weeks with a new set of stories where we’ll be exploring where the gospel meets gun violence.


JESSE EUBANKS: Special thanks to our guests – Daniel Reinhardt and A.G. Miller. 

ANNA TRAN: Senior producer and host is Jesse Eubanks. Co-host is me, Anna Tran. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Anna Tran is our producer and audio editor. 

ANNA TRAN: Music is from Lee Rosevere, Poddington Bear, Blue Dot Sessions, and Murphy DX. 

JESSE EUBANKS: This show is brought to you by Love Thy Neighborhood. If you want a hands-on experience of missions in our modern times, come serve with Love Thy Neighborhood. Love Thy Neighborhood offers summer and year long missions internships for young adults ages 18 to 30. Bring social change with the gospel by working with an innovative nonprofit and serving your urban neighbors. 

ANNA TRAN: Experience community like never before as you live and do ministry with other Christian young adults. Grow in your faith by walking in the life and lifestyle of Jesus and being part of a vibrant, healthy church. Apply now at 

JESSE EUBANKS: Which of these was a neighbor to the man in need? The one who showed mercy. Jesus tells us, “Go, and do likewise.”


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Pre-order Dan’s book:
Rethinking the Police: An Officer’s Confession and the Pathway to Reform
ReplyAll episodes about CompStat: Part 1 and Part 2.


Special thank you to our interviewees Dan Reinhardt and A.G. Miller.
Senior producer and host is Jesse Eubanks. Co-host is Anna Tran.
Anna Tran is our producer and audio editor.
Music for this episode comes from Murphy D.X.