I am not sure that your suggestion gets at the root of the problem. Pay shouldn’t be used as a stick here; it really isn’t relevant to the issues at hand. Police reform is less about the actual police departments, and more about broader culture, the justice system, and law making. Police implement, or enforce, laws. Sometimes the problems lie in the way the laws get enforced; in those cases, yes, the police themselves are the primary problem. In many cases, though, it’s the laws that are the problem, and cops don’t make laws. Not saying we don’t need to look hard at how departments are interpreting enforcement, and how they interact with people on that level, but we won’t get real reform until we look at changing laws, and that will take a change in culture.
I mean, a huge part of the law enforcement and incarceration crisis centers on drug laws, laws that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt were largely created as part of a political and cultural offensive by reactionary politicians like Nixon, Reagan, and Bush, and which were intended to demonize people of color and drive white voters away from the Democrats and into the arms of the GOP. In turn, the Democrats cravenly opted in to the hysteria about drugs and crime, in order to (unsuccessfully) stem that tide of deserters. It’s a cold hard fact that the drug laws we have created the drug crime we got, and those laws created the prison industrial system in its modern form (it had existed in other forms, of course, for a long time before that, albeit at a smaller scale).
So, if you want to reform law enforcement, start by reforming the legal system, and to do that you are going to need to completely rethink how we approach drugs, crime, and our ideas of “order” and “law abiding citizen.”