Serve and Protect

The dangers of our increasingly militarized police

The front page of last Tuesday's Richmond Times-Dispatch carried a startling photo: Richmond police officers taking a suspect into custody. What was startling was the display of force. The officers, accompanied by a robot and decked out in full riot gear with shield and combat helmets, could have been mistaken for American soldiers on patrol in Iraq. Yet they were going up against a single man—and they were not even sure was armed.

Regrettably, this is not a new development. In recent years police forces across the country have become increasingly militarized.

To a small degree, that trend represents a rational response in an arms race against the criminal element's escalating firepower. But more of it has to do with the lavishing of federal Homeland Security funds on local law-enforcement agencies. Local departments have used the money to buy themselves all kinds of fancy toys—from the Segways bought for the bomb squad in Santa Clara, Calif. several years ago to the Lenco BearCat G3 bought last year by the sheriff's department in Warren County, Va.

The BearCat G3 is an 8-ton armored personnel carrier. Its half-inch steel plating and 2.5-inch window glass can stop a .50-caliber round. Its sensors can detect chemical, biological, and radiological threats. "It's big enough to go through a house if it had to," says the department's Roger Vorous. Warren County bought the quarter-million-dollar vehicle with a Homeland Security grant.

"We're in a very dangerous business," Sheriff Daniel McEathron told the Northern Virginia Daily last year. "We're not interested in leveling the playing field. We're interested in having the high ground."

He's got a point: Police officers should not have to bring a knife to a gunfight. On the other hand, Warren County, which boasts that its "small-town charm" makes it "an excellent place to raise a family," has a population of fewer than 40,000. It averages about one homicide every three years. Insurgents have not detonated a roadside bomb in Warren County since—well, never. The need for an armored assault vehicle would seem scant.

But Warren County is not alone. McEathron says it is only one of several Virginia localities that have BearCats or similar vehicles now. Others include Roanoke and Stafford—whose sheriff, Charles Jett, said that if he had had his druthers, the money would have been used for patrol cars. "The priorities under Homeland Security are different," he said last March.

Still, it would be a mistake to lay blame for the militarization of the police entirely at the feet of the federal government's homeland-security endeavors. In "Overkill," a 2006 paper for the Cato Institute, Radley Balko traces the rise of paramilitary policing to the 1980s and the war on drugs. One of the earliest developments was the Military Cooperation With Law Enforcement Act, whose purpose was to let the military lend a hand in drug interdiction.

In the three decades since, the trend has only spread. In 1994, Congress authorized the re-use of military equipment by local law-enforcement agencies. In the following three years alone, the Pentagon provided local constabularies with 3,800 M-16s, 2,184 M-14s, and (yes) 73 grenade launchers.

Police officers might respond that they are simply trying to keep up with the bad guys. Maybe—although criminals in the U.S. are not known for driving tanks. That argument also does not explain the increase in no-knock raids, complete with battering rams and flash-bang grenades—or the stories about innocent people gunned down in such raids when informants give cops the wrong address. Three thousand no-knock raids took place in 1981. In 2005, police departments across the country carried out more than 50,000.

At this point a reasonable person might ask: What, exactly, is wrong with the paramilitary approach? After all: The police are on the side of law and order; they serve and protect law-abiding citizens. If you aren't breaking the law, then you have nothing to fear.

Yes, but: The paramilitary approach to law enforcement flies in the face of the idea that the police and the citizens are on the same side. Officer Friendly, strolling the block in a blue uniform and playing a paradiddle with his baton on a white picket fence, looks like he is ready to help carry groceries for the little old lady who lives on the corner. A cop in combat gear with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder looks like he is ready to go to war. In war, there is no presumption of innocence—and the opposing side is not a fellow citizen with constitutional rights. He is the enemy.

In prepared statements, police departments may speak of dedicated professionals who desire only to serve and protect. But in their riot gear and armored vehicles they look more like an occupying force, intending to conquer and command. That might be good tactics. It is not good government.

A. Barton Hinkle is s columnist at the Richmond Times Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • Tim||

    What's all this then?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    You forgot to lead in with, "`allo, `allo, `allo."

  • POLIS POLITICS POLICE||

    Every megapolis is a Police City State.

  • fish||

    Was wondering when you would drop by.

  • Carrot Ironfoundersson||

    A Police Man is a man for the city.

    Not everybody knows that.

  • LOLbertarian||

    Thanks, I was having trouble remembering classics 101.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    ME LIKE COPS. THEY TASTE LIKE BACON. AFTER RAPE COPS, I TAKE NAP AND DREAM OF BACON.

  • Sean Healy||

    You need two batons to play a paradiddle.

  • ||

    It would be interesting, and possibly fruitful, to extend the analysis to the negative consequences of treating the armed forces as police...

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  • Nah||

    not really

  • Serve and Protect||

    Yes, but: The paramilitary approach to law enforcement flies in the face of the idea that the police and the citizens are on the same side. Officer Friendly, strolling the block in a blue uniform and playing a paradiddle with his baton on a white picket fence, looks like he is ready to help carry groceries for the little old lady who lives on the corner. A cop in combat gear with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder looks like he is ready to go to war. In war, there is no presumption of innocence—and the opposing side is not a fellow citizen with constitutional rights. He is the enemy.

    So basically, your problem with LEOs taking measures to protect themselves is that it gives a bad appearance to civilians. No consideration for whether or not it has decreased LEO casualties in high risk situations. For a magazine called Reason, there doesn't appear to be any in this article.

  • ||

    C+

  • ||

    Nah, I'd give it an F. It could have thrown in some more inflammatory language or something. Very dull.

  • shorter S&P||

    STOP RESISTING!

  • Pip||

    "For a magazine called Reason"

    DRINK!

    Oh, and you just keep on sucking that festering pig cock, S&P.

  • Sleeping Dog||

    Never mind the fact that the "police" are helping to create more and more of these dangerous situations!

  • ||

    But, but, somebody smelled some POT!

  • Sandy||

    It's less about appearances and more about mindsets, I think. I could care less about how scary the police officer looks, but I definitely care about how lethal their training and mindset and armament are.

  • ||

    i am against the militarization as well. in fact, i advocated against it in my dept. when our policy overmilitarized. our policy was changed, btw. i don't take credit. many officers so advocated

    that aside, stats WOULD be nice.

    iow, since the militarization, have there been LESS or MORE shootings/suspect deaths etc. per arrest and/or for different arrest types etc.

    cops (the stats show) use force very rarely, and deadly force exceedingly rarely.

    have these #'s gone UP or DOWN and have they done so consistent with the underlying crime stats

    THAT would actually be instructive to the debate vs. appearance shit

    fwiw, a lot of this shit is useful to help deter force, but not always

    a local PD had a case a couple of weeks ago where they did everything under the sun to try to avoid having to use deadly force. finally, when the robot they sent in to surveil inside the house was unsuccessful in finding the suspect, they sent armed SWAT officers in and one was forced to fire when he was confronted by the female suspect with a shotgun in the crawl space . clearly, she had multiple opp's to surrender, but didn't

    again, stats matter.

    let's see them so people can come to INFORMED conclusions

    it's the stats that (largely) convinced me that shall issue CCW is good policy, abstinence only education is not, and that capitalism is the best system on earth

    why should police analysis be devoid of actual stats?

  • Cheeseburger||

    Kicking in someone's door with a gun in your hand is a use of force.
    Knocking on the door and waiting to be let is is the way it should be done in 99% of the cases. But you can't wave your dick around and demand people respect you if you act civilized.

    Fine, the robot can't find the citizen. WAIT, wait as long as you need to. The cops are getting paid if they are waiting out a citizen or sitting in the parking lot of the donut shack looking to write tickets.

  • ||

    and do you KNOW what %age of the time we knock vs. force the door in?

    i suggest you don't

    which perfectly exemplifies my point

    i can state anecdotally the VAST majority of warrants at a house or business i have done involve entry by consent or ruse, not force

    again, you argue from ignorance

  • Cheeseburger||

    If there are more SWAT raids, more doors are being kicked in. It is so simple even someone like you can figure it out.

    ruse = lying Something a citizen can be arrested for if they do it to a government employee. Double standard much?

  • ||

    again, nice evasion

    you have no idea what the stats are, but your mind is made up

    thanks for exemplifying my point about arguing from ignorance

    discussing cop UOF's with you is like discussing concealed carry with a statist liberal anti-gunner

    you use the exact same canards, lack of evidence, and evasions

  • ||

    dunphy: "you have no idea what the stats are, but your mind is made up"

    "Three thousand no-knock raids took place in 1981. In 2005, police departments across the country carried out more than 50,000."

    Well that's a pretty interesting stat, isn't it? What's that, about a 16-fold increase over a period of 25 years?

  • ||

    great. that's useful. and again, i am AGAINST the overmilitarization/increased usage of SWAT. we are on the same page. i just prefer arguing from knowledge, not ignorance

    cheers

  • ||

    Did Corey Maye give a flying rat's ass how many other people WEREN'T raided?

    Neither do I.

  • ||

    again, perfectly exemplifying my point

    exactly like an anti-gunner liberal, where the outliers define the argument

    cory maye was an injustice. i'm not aware of anybody here who has denied that

    it's like arguing against concealed carry because occasionally bad shit happens.

  • Pip||

    Say hello to Morgan Fairchild for me you lucky dog, you.

  • ||

    How is it like that?

    I'm scratching my head. Corey Maye's neighbor wasn't holding anyone hostage, IIRC. The entire raid was unnecessary, even had it been carried out perfectly. The inherent risk to innocent life was never justified to begin with.

  • ||

    the idea that dynamic entries are only justified when a person is being held hostage is a false premise.

    hth

  • Nah||

    where the outliers define the argument

    It's a person, you pathetic cocksucker, not an outlier.

    I hope you get dick cancer.

  • erikjay||

    Thanks for saving me the trouble. I have a problem with so-called individualists that keep forgetting THE INDIVIDUAL within the statistics. If you're a STATIST, then "overall figures" trump individual tragedies. Not for me they don't.

  • ||

    I guess they don't call them STATISTics for nothing.

  • ||

    no, the point is that JUST LIKE ANY issue in the media, etc. - it helps to know the extent of the actual problem vs. just assuming it's a big problem because the media (e.g. Reason) tells you it is.

    school shootings for example were understandably hyped by the media. but when you look at the stats, you realize that kids were/are FAR FAR FAR safer from shootings and almost everything else AT school than going to and from school or at home

    similarly, the alleged epidemic of postal service workplace shootings. when you account for the # of postal employees, etc. working in the post office, one was actually LESS likely to get shot than in many (most iirc) other workplaces in the US.

    stats matter because for thinking people, they help address the true extent of a problem

    for those who just want to go derp derp derp and have their prejudices reconfirmed, they are often problematic, though

  • Nah||

    it helps to know the extent of the actual problem vs. just assuming it's a big problem

    For purposes of discussion, assume that unlike you, the people you're debating with think a SINGLE citizen getting an unwarranted death sentence is enough to say the problem is in fact "big".

  • ||

    and that's the same argument anti-gunners use, and general enemies of freedom.

    again, i could cut the irony with a ladle.

  • ||

    and that's the same argument anti-gunners use, and general enemies of freedom.

    again, i could cut the irony with a ladle.

  • Outer Sunset Local||

    dunphy is right. using the 'if even one person...' argument is absolute tripe that gets used to justify all sorts of tyranny.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    ME LIKE COPS. THEY TASTE GOOD, LIKE BACON. AFTER ME RAPE COPS, ME LIKE TO TAKE NAP.

  • ||

    The telling thing for me is how hard it is to find specific stats on officer involved shootings to begin with. No one seems to track - or even want to track - that data.

    The US DOJ doesn't require reporting of officer involved shootings, this raises a large red flag to me.

    The FBI does track officers killed and assaulted - it does not have data on shootings by officers in its UCR. It does produce reports on how to deal with the community and media fallout of a shooting.

    Perhaps step 1 would be a requirement that LEO's report all use of force incidents to the DOJ and FBI for reporting.

  • Paula Parmeley Carter||

    dunphy, you ask good questions. I agree facts are important.Over the last 20 years the number of officers kill by violence has been on a steady downward trend. It could be argued that this is the result of the overall decrease in crime or it could be because of the militarization of the police. It would be hard to tell from just the stats. You would almost have to go through each case of an officer's death to see if militarization would have played a role. From the research I have done on the subject, it seems to me that one of the most dangerous things an officer does, besides driving, is walking up to a car or knocking on a door in response to a domestic dispute. It seems unlikely to me that armored vehicles and bigger guns would make an impact in this area.
    Many of us police accountability activist suspect that while it may be true that police officer's lives are saved by these tactics, more and more innocent lives are lost. The problem is that unlike the deaths of officers, those numbers are not recorded and made public by the FBI, so it is difficult to know for sure. I know there are a couple of projects by independent organizations to track these deaths so we have a better idea.

  • ||

    S&P is way ahead of me. The main cause is not militarism, it's risk aversion. Cops don't like getting shot. In the past, there was little they could do about it. Now, they can gear up like soldiers in Iraq, protect themselves from flying bullets, and have the firepower to overwhelm any opposition they might run into. From a LEO's point of view, what's not to like. That some civilians are uncomfortable with their appearance and tactics is secondary to staying alive.

    I can sympathize. I don't object to the existence of special weapons and tactics. What bugs me is their use in any and all situations, no matter how trivial. I'm not an expert, but it appears to me that a bit of actual police work prior to a no-knock raid or other action might help police decide whether it's really necessary to "go in heavy." I think it's stupid to just say "Well, we don't know what we might run into." OK, how about finding out ahead of time? Do some surveillance. See who's living in a house, who comes and goes, before you assume it's a crazed gunman. Are the cops really so pressed for time that they can't take that much interest in their suspects?

  • Sandy||

    I'd really rather not live in a country where it's legally and socially acceptable for police to "just do some surveillance" on my private home because "you never know" who might be inside.

    Yes it's a good THOUGHT but these things always end up being drastically overreaching in practice.

  • WTF||

    So you prefer that SWAT just busts in at 3:00 AM because they didn't do enough surveilance to figure our they got the wrong house?

  • Sandy||

    They are more than welcome to do all the surveillance on my mailbox (which has my house address on it) that they wish.

  • WTF||

    And if some informant randomly gave out an address that just happens to be yours as part of a 'deal', maybe you might want them to confirm that something illegal might actually be going on there before the raid as well?

  • Sandy||

    A single informant's word is enough to justify a SWAT raid?

    Be right back. I need to go make a few calls regarding some people I don't like...

  • WTF||

    A single informant's word is enough to justify a SWAT raid?

    Ask Ryan Frederick.

  • Sandy||

    That doesn't make it -right-.

    And I still don't want to live in a country where allowing the police to stalk me at the whim of an informant that could be mistaken, lying, malicious, or stupid is the SAFER option. With the alternative being killed by a military (I'm sorry, "police") raid when I've done nothing wrong.

  • ||

    not according to aguilar spinelli, it isn't

    with us, we require an informant to make at least two buys FROM the residence before we will get a warrant

  • ||

    I'd prefer that they didn't use SWAT for any "crimes" that involve willing participants on both sides.

    Got bank robbers or kidnappers holed up someplace? Knock yourself out.

    Got a tip that someone was selling drugs to willing buyers, in violation of malum prohibitum? Find another way to "bust" him, if you must. If that means he flushes the evidence, well, so what? Where there's no coercion, there's no crime, in my book, but regardless, there's no justification for killing anyone.

  • Zuo||

    So can commoners also wear masks and kevlar vests and jackboots with a rifle or shotgun slung over their shoulder? After all I doubt commoners much like getting shot either, and FAAARRRR more of them get capped every year then fat shithead pigs...

    Somehow I think the thugs in blue black you admire so much would have a problem with that...

  • ||

    That some civilians are uncomfortable with their appearance and tactics is secondary to staying alive.

    Is staying alive their purpose? I was under the impression that they had a reason for existing. You know, serve and protect? If all they want to do is stay alive they should look into another line of work.

  • ||

    "To serve and protect" is a prepositional phrase lacking an object. To serve and protect what?

  • JD||

    To serve the state and protect their pensions.

    There, I think that's pretty much correct.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    To serve man.

    It's a cook book.

  • ||

    Soylent Green, P.D.

  • Trespassers W||

    Dude... spoiler alert...

  • Zuo||

    Making sure other people DON'T stay alive is the entire draw of their job.

    Yes, they want to kill people without any risk of themselves being harmed. And they are widely worshipped by the feces-brained denizens of this land.

  • ||

    which of course is not supported by evidence.

    i' ve already posted the stats.

    cops use force in a staggeringly tiny # of incidents, and deadly force even more rarely.

    the facts don't match your rhetoric

  • Zuo||

    I'm aware you're one of the "good cops", dunphy. But are your colleagues bragging about claming domestic disturbances and issuing bullshit speeding tickets? Is that what drew them to the "force", or is it the appeal of holding untouchable power over the common man, the fact that they can assault, maim, and kill with minimal repurcussions?

    And since you're a cop, lets try your logic another way: a typical inner city punk ass gangster ONLY kills an enemy, what maybe once every few years? It's a staggeringly tiny % of how they spend their time. So no big deal eh?

  • ||

    you miss the point. even when deadly force would be justified, cops very often don't use it. however, when they do, the vast majority of time it was completely justified. this distinguishes from the gangbanger. they are completely disanalogous

    the idea that cops can assault maim or kill WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION (i added that for you) with minimal repurcussions is a lie.

    the idea that somebody would go through all the shit to become a cop and all the shit we deal with day to day just because they might have a chance to kill somebody is ludicrous.

    last i checked, most cops will work their entire career without killing anybody.

    it's simply (yet again) another reason ignorati argument from statistical ignorance.

  • Zuo||

    the idea that cops can assault maim or kill WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION (i added that for you) with minimal repurcussions is a lie.

    Yeah, they can conjure up those most bullshit "justification" their pea-brain can think of, and their superiors and coworkers will happily run with it.

    last i checked, most cops will work their entire career without killing anybody.

    It's like those guys who play the lottery their whole life and never hit the jackpot, isn't it?

    One way to verify an honest cop is when he refuses to defend the violent, moronic, criminal scum that are his coworkers and guildmates.

  • ||

    i;m not aware of anybody ... cop or otherwise who is defending bad cops here.

    hth

    that aside, anybody who perpetrates a homicide (justified or otherwise) can "conjure up" a bunch of stuff.

    cops, like everybody else, though... ARE held accountable when there is a chargeable case, as the metric assloads of cops charged/arrested/indicted etc. shows

    again, the idea that cops can shoot people unjustifiably and be confident they can "get away with it" is ludicrous.

    the idea that people become cops just so they can do this is also ridiculous.

    it's probably as common as women who fuck just so they can get an abortion!

  • Outer Sunset Local||

    cops, like everybody else, though... ARE held accountable when there is a chargeable case, as the metric assloads of cops charged/arrested/indicted etc. shows

    dunphy: Care to back up this claim? I'm sure that you are familiar with the Meserhle case here in the Bay Area, but that is an extremely rare case of a cop being prosecuted (let alone convicted) of killing someone in the line of duty. Where are these other cases you refer to?

  • T||

    have the firepower to overwhelm any opposition they might run into.

    This right here should scare the bejeezus out of you.

  • ||

    And this is why the Founders didn't limit the second amendment.

  • ||

    there's all kinds of stuff cops can and do do to avoid getting shot. we do it every day. officer safety, the science thereof, which is primarily about mindset and individual tactics, and also about group tactics is the primary determinant NOT equipment.

    per-i-od

    in my 20+ yrs in law enforcement, i can state that data based officer safety procedures have gotten MUCH better.

    that is a way to improve safety for officers, and often for suspects as well w/o swat-ification of PD's

    it works.

    force science institute is awesome btw...

    http://www.forcescience.org/articles.html

  • ||

    "The main cause is not militarism, it's risk aversion."

    100% risk-aversion would be shooting everyone in line-of-sight immediately.
    Sounds like a foolproof plan.

  • ||

    BTW, all the nonsense about the dangers of police work get a little old. Civilian law enforcement rarely breaks into the top 10 most dangerous occupations, yet the public (and law enforcement) act like it's a shooting gallery on the streets, and the cops are the ducks.

  • ||

    exactly true. and a SIGNIFICANT contributor to why it isn't more dangerous than it is , is because of vigilant cops using sound officer safety practices, etc.

    some are as simple as wearing a seatbelt. others are more involved/complex.

    i've been assaulted multiple times, shot at, had people try to stab me, etc.

    the most i suffered was pain, concussions, lacerations, etc. but not life threatening shit

    3 of my partners in my 25 officer unit were shot.

    there are definitely dangers. we do our best to minimize those dangers, while respecting others rights.

    we do stuff like felony stops, dynamic entries (when appropriate) cordoning, swarm, and other techniques to give us an edge.

    as it should be.

    the VAST majority of people support us and want to help us

    heck, one of my coworkers was saved (probably) when a store owner ran up and shot a guy in the head when she was wrestling with the robber over a gun

    shit like that.

  • ||

    Link to the article?

  • fish||

    No consideration for whether or not it has decreased LEO casualties in high risk situations.

    Well since law enforcement seems to think it's okay to roll tanks for everything from a hostage situation to serving non violent warrants you can well imagine what it's doing to civilian casualties.

    Frankly son if the job scares you that much it's probably time to find a different career.

  • ||

    Or help campaign to end the Drug War.

    But that would mean local governments and cops wouldn't have so much power to abuse, now wouldn't it? No fun in that.

  • ||

    No consideration for whether or not it has decreased LEO casualties in high risk situations.

    Has it?

    And is that a more important consideration than innocent civilians being treated like enemy soldiers, or even being killed?

  • ||

    I am not a civilian. I am a citizen! You know, just like the folks who make up law enforcement.

  • Cheeseburger||

    Anyone who takes government employment should lose citizenship and most rights as long as they are employed by the government. They want the power over citizens, fine they get to give up rights.

  • ||

    you never cease to amuse with your pronouncements. i am still not convinced you are not a parody

  • Cheeseburger||

    If you want the power, you should have to give up something for it. Your rights to vote and bear arms when not on duty would be a good start. Lock up your weapon in the station house and send you out on the street unarmed at the end of shift. Put a little fear into your thug ass.

  • ||

    yawn. what "power" do i want? i support the right of cops to carry. i also support shall issue carry for anybody else (save convicted felons of violent offenses, etc.)

    you have no idea who you are arguing with. you just argue with stereotypes as is typical of the rhetoric based ignorati

  • ||

    Have you ever arrested someone for smoking marijuana?

  • ||

    i've arrested them for possessing it. smoking it is not illegal.

    i've never arrested for possession of under 1 ounce.

  • Coeus||

    i've never arrested for possession of under 1 ounce.

    And that makes it better how, exactly?

  • Phlogistan||

    Hmm... performance statistics?

    Not as many drug arrests. But those they arrest have MORE drugs on them. Resulting in more property confiscated. More "civilian" jobs lost. More poverty.

    And countless hundreds of civil servants lining up too squeezing that turnip just a bit more.

  • ||

    i didn't claim it did or didn't.

    we can give warnings for small amounts

  • Cheeseburger||

    1) The proper term is "Citizen" or "taxpayer" not "civilian".

    2) You are paid to take risks. If you don't want the risks, can we look at cutting pay, pensions, and early retirements?

    3)How many citizens have been killed or endangered by the increase inthese raids? The citizen is more important than the government employee. If you don't like that, become a citizen and get a job doing something productive.

  • Trespassers W||

    The proper term is "Citizen" or "taxpayer" not "civilian".

    Yeah, he kind of gave away the argument with that Freudian slip.

  • ||

    This has to be a troll. No one who was actually a cop and cared about cops were perceived would persist in using "LEO" to describe themselves.

    Using that term forfeits any sort of sympathy from anyone, makes you sound like simultaneously an asshole and the worst kind of government bureaucrat.

  • ||

    you called?

  • ||

    i use the term LEO. i don't give a flying fuck if some people don't like it.

    above was not me btw

  • ||

    i don't give a flying fuck because i am better than the serfs who pay my salary

  • ||

    yawn.

    troll-o-meter: .001

  • ||

    Really? You're better than us lowly "civilians", is that what this is all about? That's precisely the situation the Founders fought a war to eliminate, and framed a Constitution to prevent.

  • Coeus||

    i use the term LEO. i don't give a flying fuck if some people don't like it.

    We've been over this. If you allow cops to break the law, you're not a Law Enforcement Officer. They enforce LAWS. When you harass one group of people for doing the same thing you let another slide for, you're at best a Harassment Officer. (if it makes you feel better, I've never met a LEO)

  • ||

    are you claiming cops do this?

  • Coeus||

    I witness it all the time. From traffic violations to alcohol violations to harassment to beating a cuffed suspect (that last one I just see on the news, thankfully, but the last one I saw happened near where I live).

    I've never even seen a cop say a word against it when it happens, and they certainly won't give out tickets or arrest another officer for violating the laws they are sworn to uphold.

    I believe it's called "professional courtesy".

  • ||

    1) lots of cops get arrested for DUI. i know several just in my agency

    2) yes, cops sometimes get professional courtesy for minor infractions, which are IN GENERAL discretionary for everybody. i've given more warnings for them (to noncops) than i have tickets.

    3) if and when cops "harass" people such that it constitutes a criminal or policy violation, then they should be punished. duh

    4)i hear cops, including myself criticize cops a ll the fucking time and/or call for their prosecution. you clearly are engaging in selective hearing.

    like i said, many investigations against criminal cops are detected/spearheaded and pursued by OTHER cops. paul schene being a good example

    and he was tried for his alleged crime.

  • Coeus||

    In every incident I've witnessed and every video I've seen, the other cops (I'm guess you would call these the "good cops") just stand there and watch while a person's rights are being violated or a brother in blue breaks the law. Yea, they may make a big stink on a blog later, or make an xtranormal video, or even talk to I.A., but that doesn't help the guy getting pummeled. When it happens the cops are silent. Bottom line, if you've even once let a cop slide for something you've arrested or ticked another for, then you're not a LEO.

    And as for that Paul Schene shit, did any of the other cops do or say shit when it went down? Since it appears that enough of the public has swallowed that "the officer can do no wrong" shit that you can't get a conviction even with clear evidence, it would seem that stopping it when it happens is the only way to do any good. Yes, it was commendable that the officer came foward in that case. But there was another cop in that video who didn't say anything against it when it happened.

    I saw an officer punch a handcuffed suspect in the face on TV the other day. The guy holding the suspect didn't do a thing. The officer got in trouble later, since there was a news chopper watching. The fact that he didn't radio another cop to take the offending officer into custody makes him a HO (Harassment Officer).

    I have never once witnessed in person or seen on video a cop hold another to the same standards they hold John Q. Public. Therefore, I've never seen a LEO. All I ever see are HOs.

    Maybe your state is different, but every one that I've lived in has been the same. I have never met a LEO.

  • ||

    i will readily agree that many cops will not turn an officer in for committing an assault right in front of them.

    imo, that's wrong.

  • Nah||

    "will not turn an officer in"

    Fuck that, why aren't you arresting his ass?

    Exactly.

  • Nah||

    "will not turn an officer in"

    Fuck that, why aren't you arresting his ass?

    Exactly.

  • Coeus||

    Fuck that, why aren't you arresting his ass?

    Bingo. Most won't turn another officer in, but none will arrest the officer at the scene to prevent further injury to those they pretend to serve and protect.

  • ||

    A bunch of Indians attacked and killed a bunch of farmers. They weren't Indians from my tribe. If they were from my tribe I can tell you they would have had a negative report put on their record. They made a mistake and should pay for it.

    Bottom line though. A good Indian is a dead Indian.

  • rsi||

    Maybe fewer LEOs? Then they wouldn't need to "protect" themselves?

  • CraigT||

    The clothes make the man. Put a man in a tailored suit and he feels more sophisticated, more genteel. Put him in a football jersey he feels manly and athletic. Put him in jackboots and a riot control mask and he feels like a stormtrooper.
    For most of my life i ahve been an avid police supporter, and i still feel that there are a large number of cops who are doing a shitty, dangerous job and are under appreciated, but more and more in both the media and my personal interactions I run across power mad rednecks with badges. men who view the citizens they are supposed to protect and serve as the enemy, or as "civilians" who are beneath them.

  • Phlogistan||

    Hmmm.. Maybe a uniform change.. Something pretty?

    With a floral print?

    Then we can talk about Hats!

  • Charlotte Sometimes||

    Blue gingham!

  • ||

    So basically, your problem with LEOs taking measures to protect themselves is that it gives a bad appearance to civilians.

    And that is the best example of the toxic mindset of modern police officers. Unless you are specifically referring to MP's, police are civilians too.

    Maybe if they stepped out of the ballistic nylon and jump suits and back into cotton and a Sam Brown made of real leather they might acquaint themselves with the long lost art of building real meaningful relationships with the community they serve.

    But I am sure that is far less exciting than using a command presence voice and posture to force terrified old ladies to prone out on a roasting hot highway after they failed to yield the right of way to a cop.

  • Gibby||

    "NOTNew at Reason: A. Barton Hinkle on the Dangers of Our Increasingly Militarized Police"

    This is why Hinkle bores me. He has never written anything we already didn't know.

  • Kristen||

    Except he's also writing for the Richmond Times Dispatch, which reaches an audience that may not know these things.

  • Old Salt||

    The more I read Reason, the more I think that my Vietnam Vet Uncle living with his two "war trophy" wives on his Appalachian Compound has the right idea about stockpiling AK-47s!

  • Almanian||

    Your uncle sounds like a fun guy.

    Seriously - I'd party with him!

  • Old Salt||

    Isolation, guns, moonshine, drugs, PTSD, and a LARGE Vietnamese immigrant family with a strong ratio of cuties?

    Things can get...out of hand come New Years and Tet!

  • Almanian||

    Now you're baiting me. C'mon, let's paaahhhhhhty!

  • ||

    Those hotties are your first cousins, you sick fuck.

    Oh, and pics or GTFO.

  • Old Salt||

    I'm only related by blood to about 5 of the 21 people in that compound...ahem...I meant to say well defended FARM!

    Like I said earlier: a large IMMIGRANT family! A whole LOT of them came here on the boat at various times during and after the war! My Uncle's mother in law just BARELY escaped the fall of Saigon and his niece's dad was a South Vietnamese soldier KIA!

    All in all, about 8 of the girls there are in play (so to speak) but my Uncle is the VERY scary patriarch who has come to view every female on that farm younger than him as his own daughter! I'm a submariner and my Ranger Uncle can out crazy me! So any male who comes sniffing around had better have marriage on his mind because "he didn't pay for kinfolk to come to 'Merica to get pregnant by some horny dumbfuck who isn't fit to dig a VC latrine!"

    That is a verbatim quote, by the way, which my Uncle screamed at me one cold Christmas morning, as I laid face down in the snow with his knee in my back and his .357 against my skull! This was his rational response to discovery that me and my third cousin had decided that Christmas Eve was the perfect time for two sixteens year olds to lose their virginity (despite the fact that neither of them was/is Christians)!

    Oh, and sloopyinca? Pics or GTFO?

    NO FUCKING WAY!

    He may be an angry government hating vet but he is tech savvy and has satellite internet! Why do I mention this? A while back his youngest daughter decided to show her loyalty to "The Chive" and she found out soon after that her dad is a Chive follower!

    The screaming lasted for hours until Granny Moon (the Saigon survivor) woke up from her nap and fired off a few rounds in the air from her PERSONAL AK-47! After assessing the situation, Granny threatened to kill BOTH of them; her for acting like a slut and him for looking at pictures of sluts online!

    I wasn't there when it happened but I've been instructed to pretend to incident never happened!

  • cynical||

    So apparently it's the mountains themselves that turn people into inbred hicks, not a race/culture thing. Must be a great old one involved.

  • Phlogistan||

    Surrounded by so much of Nature's Grandeur.

    It is not so surprising it actually takes firepower to make an impression.

    Nature meet firepower.

  • Tim||

    the Pentagon provided local constabularies with 3,800 M-16s, 2,184 M-14s, and (yes) 73 grenade launchers.


    Are these all accounted for?

  • ||

    Yes, BATFE kept detailed records of each and every one as it was shipped to the Sinaloa Cartel...

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    So the grenade launchers are used to protect the cops from children they "accidentally" set on fire with flashbangs, right?

  • Hon Charles Schumer (D)||

    Are you serious? Flashbangs are harmless.

  • fish||

    Flashbangs are harmless.

    Fine Chuck...sit on one then!

  • Steven||

    I was at a New Year's Eve party several years ago that was mistakenly raided by SWAT to serve a drug warrant (they wanted unit 2302, we were in 2203). One of the flashbangs went off about 3 feet from a friend of mine, and he suffered a ruptured ear drum leading to permanent minor hearing loss. He was just starting grad school (in physics) and his new medical insurance didn't begin for another few weeks. He tried to sue the police so that he could pay the medical bills, but the suit was thrown out. His credit rating was tanked for several years because he took so long to get the money to pay his medical bills. Nothing happened to the cops that raided the wrong address.

  • Coeus||

    Nothing happened to the cops that raided the wrong address.

    And nothing else happened.

  • Andrew Hall||

    I saw a documentary on something like this the other day. A republic turns to despotism because of militarization of the society. What chance do we have? And they had Jedi knights.

  • Zuo||

    I've seen that biased ass documentary. The Jedis were the bad guys - exactly what the petit tyrants in the federal agencies and SWAT aspire to be: universally feared and admired agents of the state, subject to no rule or boundary, with the ultimate authority to act as they please, and unaccountable to the large body politic.

  • ||

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Annakin Skywalker do a pretty good job of making them accountable? Even the younglings?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Except they were accountable to the large body politic as they had served it for 1000+ years. They also generally deferred to local laws and customs (Why Tatooine and Nar Shadaa are still havens of slavery and crime). If the Jedi were as feared as you suggest, why are people constantly trying to kill them? You would think that once the lightsabers came out, people would throw their weapons down and surrender.

    It never happens.

  • Zuo||

    If the Jedi were as feared as you suggest, why are people constantly trying to kill them? You would think that once the lightsabers came out, people would throw their weapons down and surrender.

    That's exactly what the SWAT thugs say.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Again, like the SWAT goons, the lightsaber is a last resort, not an "okay, let's go serve this warrant on John Q. Public. And let's wear the SWAT gear cause it looks totally bitchin'."

    Qui-gon Jinn resolved the entire damaged ship situation without bringing a lightsaber into play. A few words, a carefully placed wager, a little telekinesis, and trusting the Chosen One.

  • omg||

    At this point a reasonable person might ask: What, exactly, is wrong with the paramilitary approach? After all: The police are on the side of law and order; they serve and protect law-abiding citizens. If you aren't breaking the law, then you have nothing to fear.

    No "yes, but" is required to counter this. How often do police put on their paramilitary gear and "protect" the local populace? 1 out of every 100 raids? 1 out of every 1000? I think the actual number is probably even worse than that.

    How many hostage rescues take place per year in the entire country? Does the number even make it to 10? Now think of how many militarized drug/food/lemonade stand raids there are. Given the ratio, how can anyone say the militarized police "protect" us?

  • Cheeseburger||

    It is becoming common for the tac squad to be used for almost all drug warrants.

  • JD||

    What's the point of having all the fun toys if you only get to play with them in training a couple of times a year?

  • Old Salt||

    Funny, the Skipper on my old boomer use to say the same thing about his missiles!

    FYI: "Boomer" is Navy slang for a Submarine armed with roughly two dozen ballistic missiles with about eight nukes a pop!

  • fish||

    If he has carried out his fireworks display I'd like to know why I wasn't informed.

  • ||

    How can you be sure that you can single-handedly destroy civilization unless you actually DO it?

  • Old Salt||

    I'm suddenly remembering that recent detergent commercial with the mother screaming at her cowardly son "DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!"

  • ||

    in my agency, at one point it was POLICY for ALL drug warrants

    we fought against that policy and prevailed.

  • prolefeed||

    But in their riot gear and armored vehicles they look more like an occupying force, intending to conquer and command. That might be good tactics. It is not good government.

    Think of it as transparency, of the government dropping the pretense that they aren't a hostile occupying force that does not have your best interests at heart.

    Truth in advertising, yeah?

  • omg||

    Yeah I don't get the opposition to the "appearance" thing either. Their militarized appearance displays to all exactly what their purpose is. Dressing them up differently won't change that.

    I also fully support the LEO "us vs them" mentality, and the distinction between a "police officer" and a "civilian". Everyone knows the distinction exists in the mind of the officer; if it is true for them it will have to be true for me as well.

  • Old Salt||

    A uniform itself has power; like with a doctors lab coat or a mechanics jumpsuit! How one dresses plays a HUGE role in how one is treated! Would you REALLY trust a mailman who wore combat fatigues to deliver your mail?

    Wearing a uniform can INFLUENCE the thinking of its wearer also! When I was in the Navy, my dungarees were the working uniform I wore most days to do shit work on the boat so I pretty much acted like a blue collar type but when I put on my dress uniform (especially my "crackerjacks") I would act MUCH more professional. With my instantly recognizable uniform with it's rank and medals, I'd walk tall and behave myself in a manner that was proper for a senior member of the armed forces. Put me back into my bell bottomed prison convict surplus dungarees and I'd turn right back into the deviant sea dog called a sailor!

    As any fetish model can tell you, uniforms are POWER!

  • Cheeseburger||

    I agree. You dress these guys up for combat, then they are going out with the combat mindset. Even with the patrol guys you can see it. Our sheriff decided that the tan uniforms the department has worn for years was out of date. Now the deputies are dressed in snazzy black shirts with lots of silver trim. It is supposed to make them more professional (sic). Makes them look like SS troopers more than anything.

  • Sheriff||

    I thought the double blitzes on the collar looked snazzy!

  • Old Salt||

    The SS wore black and used skull emblems for a reason!

  • fish||

    The SS wore black and used skull emblems for a reason!

    It's what all the cool kids are wearing! Now where are the pictures of those hot cousins?

  • Old Salt||

    Maybe the Nazi's were all just emo?

    (look further up about the pics)

  • Paul||

    To a small degree, that trend represents a rational response in an arms race against the criminal element's escalating firepower.

    Citation needed. This trope has been thrown out before. Yes, criminals have the potential for increased firepower, but it's not like beat cops are regularly getting in shootouts with well-armed bad guys with assault rifles. This is a Hollywood myth. Yes, it happens on super-rare occasion like that bank robbery in California about fifteen years back. But those are outlyers, not the norm.

  • Old Salt||

    Just like 9/11 was as abnormality but that didn't stop the public from losing their fucking minds!

    It's what John Q. Public BELIEVES is what's important, especially when the media tells them so!

  • ||

    i could cut the irony with a ladle.

    iow, yes it is an abnormality.

    just like much of the anecdotal stuff in the anti-police articles in reason are abnormalities. iow, not par for the course.

    it really is staggering the cognitive dissonance here.

    iow, you are correct, but fail to applyt that same reasoning when the metanarrative suits you.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It's part of the cop doublethink. When a few cops execute some poor schmuck on the sidewalk, the story becomes "well, few cops EVER draw their guns in the line of duty." But when budget time comes around , "We're being outgunned! It's war in the streets! We need military weapons!"

  • ||

    nice strawman. cops draw their guns a lot.

    heck, i've had SHIFTS where i had to do it three times (seperate incidents)

    the reality is that cops very often defuse dangerous volatile situations with little to no force.

    cop tackles knife weilding suspect does not make news

    cop negotiates with gun weilding suspect to drop gun rarely does either

    cop shoots somebody DOES.

    the latter is exceptionally rare

  • Anonymous Coward||

    dunphy,

    So are you personally spiking the department statistics of drawing guns?

    I don't object to police shooting people because I know their are situations in which I could and would shoot someone and feel perfectly justified having done it. What I object to are bad shoots and bad shooters being protected by "procedures", "force continuums", and "internal investigations." I don't get to purposefully unload a magazine into the wrong person and not do jail time, so why does Officer Friendly? Because he has a badge? The badge doesn't make you right. Because he has a union rep? Because the job is dangerous?

    If a job is dangerous, go work at Wal-Mart. Hell, I'm sure fewer firefighters would die if they didn't engage in the "dangerous" activity of pulling people out of burning buildings, yet they do because their job, much like yours, comes with an inherent assumption of risk. If "I just want to go home" is your rationale for dropping some guy who isn't a demonstrable threat, then you are as much a threat to the public as the criminals themselves.

  • ||

    I don't get to purposefully unload a magazine into the wrong person and not do jail time, so why does Officer Friendly?

    The problem, summarized. Every one of the "isolated incidents" reveals the double standard - if a non-LEO had done what the LEO did, there would be serious jail time. For most of the LEOs, there isn't even an indictment, and for far too many, there isn't even meaningful departmental discipline.

  • ||

    which is simply false. but it's one of those reason canards that rears its head in nearly every thread having anything to do with the cops

  • kinnath||

    BALKO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Paul||

    He's got a point: Police officers should not have to bring a knife to a gunfight

    Jesus, why does this even need to be said? No one's asking them to. The problem is they're bringing assault rifles and grenades to an unlicensed knitting circle.

  • In Time of War||

    Didn't Seattle recently have a situation where a cop brought a gun to a, well, the other guy had a knife, most likely closed, but whatever...how did that end again?

  • Paul||

    Citizen walked down the street with a vaguely shiny object when cops were about.

    I'm now afraid to walk around the front of my house with screwdrivers or other assorted tools and gardening implements for fear I'll get four bullets in my backside.

  • ||

    which is of course a perfect example of reason-selection bias.

    we encounter people with knives all the fucking time. a TINY percentage of them get shot. the birk shooting was blatantly unjustified, but it's an outlier.

    i've tackled two knife weilding suspects in the last year and a half. did either make the paper or reason? no

    fwiw, where i work a very high percentage of people carry knives. a substantial percentage carry guns

    bfd

  • Citizen Nothing||

    a TINY percentage of them get shot.
    Whew! That's a relief.

  • ||

    which it should be. cops are very restrained, on average, on UOF, to include deadly force.

    the stats show that to be a fact.

  • In Time of War||

    I'm all about selection bias. BTW, considering the abuse you get around here I'm surprised you stay, but I, at least, appreciate it.
    Always good to hear the police side from someone besides their paid spokespeople.
    I know, I know, I've lost my libertarian cred. I'll return the monocle and decoder ring.

  • ||

    spanx man!

  • Old Salt||

    While all the commentators are preparing to slaughter each other over the thin blue line, has anyone ever wondered about the influence TV has had on the police? The things that crime dramas let the various actors portray are entertaining but extremely unrealistic to the point of absurd (even with the double standards and protection that real life cops enjoy)!

    I realize that we are talking about fiction but if a child's parents are cheering for when "Generic Hollywood Rogue Cop" uses a nuke to kill a jaywalker, then why would that same child have a problem when the local LEOs kill some poor college student with a taser for being drunk and disorderly?

    Being former Navy, I used to watch NCIS almost to the point of religion but now I can't really stand it anymore because I got tired of the characters wiping their asses with the Constitution and acting like laws are the enemy!

  • In Time of War||

    I don't watch police dramas. Just won't do it. On the other hand, I refuse to watch shows glorifying the mob, also.

  • Old Salt||

    That's pretty much become my attitude towards entertainment in general...except for playing GTA 3 and Vice CIty!

    I LOVE THOSE FUCKING GAMES!

  • Kristen||

    I watch The First 48 - great insight into how cops investigate and interrogate. Granted, they're only showing what's palatable to the viewing public and what will make the popo look good, but it's still got some decent tactical information.

    I always giggle with glee when the suspect lawyers up on em, too.

  • Cheeseburger||

    That show proves that talking to the cops is the worst thing you can do.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Nobody talks, everybody walks.

  • ||

    No kidding.

    In the highly unlikely event that I ever get hauled in, even as a "material witness" rather than a "suspect" (which means nothing, if I recall my SCOTUS cases from last term), I'm saying nothing but "Fifth Amendment" until I get a written guarantee of immunity for testifying.

  • ||

    rubbish.

  • Coeus||

    rubbish

    So you believe that it's always in a suspect's best interest to cooperate with the police?

  • govco||

    That old salty pecker going limp? Abs is still a reason to watch.

    Mosad girl is doable as well.

  • Old Salt||

    Whenever I want to polish the old torpedo over Abby or Ziva I just use Google Images!

  • Mainer||

    Abs ? You mean that annoying freak that works in the lab. Man you need help.

  • Old Salt||

    Of COURSE I need help but the VA is too overworked to give a shit!

    That being said; Abby gives straight jackets and dog collars as gifts! A night with that girl would probably be closer to Cirque Du Soleil than sex!

  • ||

    maybe it's my new monitor, but the accompanying pic gave me a good start.

  • Almanian||

    Yeah, me too.

    The second rule my dad taught me about guns is that "they're always loaded". The FIRST was, "Don't point it at anything you don't want to kill."

    So I kind of get the willies looking down the barrel of a gun...all the more because I know it's someone else pointing it at me (cause I'd never look down the barrel of one of my guns).

    *shudder*

  • Almanian||

    Muppets "Fuck tha Police" never gets old...

    And if the server squirrels at work would let me access it, I'd post it right here ------------->

    FUCK YOU, SERVER SQUIRRELS!!!

  • ||

    Insurgents have not detonated a roadside bomb in Warren County since—well, never.

    Watch the double negative Barton.

  • Kevin L||

    It's grammatically correct since it was an interruption of the original sentence with a new one: "-- well, never [have they detonated a bomb]." You get the idea.

  • ||

    Really? OK, I'll take your word for it.

  • Kevin L||

    Someone alluded to it above, but doesn't it take quite a lot of cognitive dissonance to believe that assault weapons and armored vehicles are necessities AND arresting little girls selling lemonade without a license is a necessity?

  • T||

    Those little girls could be packing Semtex undies, Kevin. Can't take any chances.

  • ||

    But they have a license for arresting girls selling lemonade--a license to kill. Oh, you mean the girls...

  • MS13||

    u tell em esse

  • Jimmy Olsen||

    It's a cookbook!

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Anything the statists can have, I can have. Including nukes.

  • ||

    (1) The equipment available to police and other citizens should be exactly the same. No special treatment, no privileges, nothing but equality before the law.

    (2) The standards applied to the use of force by police and other citizens should be exactly the same. With the caveat that there may need to be some additional doctrine around actually arresting and transporting people suspected of committing violent crimes.

    (3) The FBI should be tasked with investigating UOF incidents by law enforcement as potential civil rights violations.

  • kinnath||

    Absolutely

  • Kristen||

    I'll do you one more and say that any equipment an individual soldier in the U.S. military uses shoud be legally available for citizens to buy and use. Although the distinction in equipment between police and military is increasingly blurry.

  • ||

    Firearms? Definitely.

    Explosives? Not so sure about that one. I could be convinced, I suppose.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I am perfectly capable of using grenades in a responsible manner. Explosives can be useful for sport, work applications, defense, and should the need arise, combating enemies. Fuck off, slaver.

  • Cheeseburger||

    I like how the Roman commander has to respond in Acts 22. Yeah, I know using the Bible. But when the "cops" are afraid because they handcuffed a citizen, it makes for a good read. Now if we could make the cops now days afraid to bind a citizen.

    25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”
    26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.”
    27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”
    He said, “Yes.”
    28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.”
    And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”
    29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

  • Coeus||

    That's awesome. I guess the Romans never heard of a Terry stop (lucky bastards).

  • ||

    or the exclusionary rule

  • Mr. Mark||

    By and large, policing attracts two kinds of people in a big way:

    1. Those who want a job with little supervision - so they can nap.

    2. Those who have an unhealthily strong desire to carry a gun, play Mr. Toughguy, and tell people what to do.

    Sure, there are exceptions, but I believe exceptions constitute a very small minority. Police in general lost what left my respect for them several years ago. Now, I see them as a part of the problem - not a solution. I guess if you can't find any other work...

  • ||

    1. Those who could barely get through high school.

    2. Those who could barely get through community college.

  • ||

    1. Those who played football.

    2. Those who wrestled.

  • ||

    nice to know that reasonoids are as prone to bigoted stereotypes as liberals are.

    reasonoids opining on cops remind me of NYC liberals opining on (especially rural) southerners.

  • ||

    Whenever someone writes a police/militarization article, I'm a little disappointed when they fail to point out that police are civilians, just like us private citizens. The police don't want the cowed, subservient public to ever realize that, though. Their blind* proponents will vociferously argue to the contrary, even though it's legal fact.

    * In my experience, the ones that aren't blind have eyesight that works just well enough to tell apart black and white.

  • Roger Murdock||

    Another issue to consider is how much of the criminal violence is driven by the drug war and the financial incentives the prohibition provides. Some kid stealing the neighbors' xbox is not looking to fight it out with the cops to avoid a slap on the wrist. The prohibition drives the prices so high that folks are willing to kill over that kind of profit. Get rid of the drug war and the Robocops have to go back to being Andy Griffith.

  • ||

    not quite that simple

    drug war? ramping up

    homicide rate? been dropping for DECADES.

  • Roger Murdock||

    It's exactly that simple. Without the economic incentive for the violence, it goes away. Period. If the violence goes away, so does the "need" to escalate law enforcement response. There are a ton of black markets in this country, none of which know this staggering level of violence. Why? Because there's not enough money in it for the risk.

  • ||

    which ignores the point.

    if we are ramping the drug war AND homicide rates have been dropping for decades, it's not that simple as your analysis claims. there are a host of ther issues to consider. necessarily

  • ||

    it really would be nice if these reason articles involved some actual INVESTIGATIVE reporting. stating that "overmilitarization of police is bad, mmkay" doesn't tell us much we don't know

    how about supporting arguments with... y'know ... data?

    what %age of warrants use a dynamic entry these days vs. say 30 yrs ago? how often do dynamic entries happen? how often do suspects get shot in these entries? or cops? etc. etc.

    it's difficult often to prove a negative iow prove somebody who wasn't shot/killed/etc. would have if NOT for SWAT, but we can at least have SOME statistical basis for arguments.

    that might require some actual legwork, reporting, investigation, etc. though.

  • Trespassers W||

    Maybe someone should ask these guys the hard questions and put it on YouTube.

  • erikjay||

    Yeah, no one's ever done any of that and concluded that anything's amiss. All is well -- in your sick mind, dude.

  • erikjay||

    That one above was supposed to be under Dumpty's comment about his favorite subject, "stats" and "legwork." Again, yeah, the cops looked into all of that and it's all good, it's fine, nothing to worry about, and that Kelly Thomas, he should have stopped resisting! A pox on the blue meanies.

  • ||

    again, the strawmen and lack of reading comprehension.

    imo, the drug war is a miserable failure. civil rights are encroached, lives are ruined

    tangential to the point i made

  • hmm||

    Why don't you write up an article or study and run the stats? It's fairly clear this was just an article to discuss the possible causes and trend. If you disagree or feel otherwise I'm sure there are more than a few economists or criminology people (I'd stay away from the policy wonks they always have an agenday.) who would be more than willing to build the models and get butt deep in statistics, hell maybe even run a regression or two. This borders on the "citation needed" meme, and you're better than that. Well, at least until it comes to the semantics surrounding the word expert.

    I'll warn you though, the data gathered for this tends to be skewed due to the people from which it's gathered. Those police guys aren't experts in data collection unless it involves being vague enough to justify something.

    Heck, as a trainer of officers you could even tie such a study to your effectiveness as a trainer. You know, like be accountable for your work like the schmucks not in public service.

  • ||

    fluff pieces don't help end the war on drugs. we need to convert the unconverted. this is advocacy journalism without teeth.

  • hmm||

    Then have at it. No better change than change from the inside, and you constantly reaffirm that you are on the inside...

  • ||

    i'm not a journalist. i've written published articles, but not on cop stuff. it's not my thing. i can criticize poor journalism without being a journalist, just like you can criticize cops w/o being a cop.

    hth

  • Neal||

    When laws were made to protect citizens then it is great if they are on our side. Now laws are passed for the rich and corrupt to make sure the citizens don't act up and they can continue to fleece the public without any recourse. But I guess corporations are people now.

  • Sandy||

    Sure, I love red herring - I'll serve up some vinegared rice to go along with it.

  • erikjay||

    Corporations are owned by people, okay? What's the big problem understanding that? Start your own and be a GOOD one, why don't you? I don't fear corporations -- they can't break my door down and shoot me and get away with it. That idiot poster Frumpty can, though. Boy, I bet he has some of you folks in his sights even now.

  • Coeus||

    It's not right to call it militarization. The cops here do shit that professional soldiers would be court-martialed for. How many soldiers have said that they don't use the same tactics swat does, because it would get someone killed? Google that shit. There's testimonials all over the place. Hell, ask a soldier (just not a cop who was on a reserve unit, see: Generation Kill).

  • ||

    fwiw, our SWAT team has rangers, marines, a SEAL etc.

    none of them make those claims

    here's something to consider. the quality of SWAT teams varies considerably. CALEA etc helps, but one of the tradeoffs of our system (vs. countries with federal police) is disparity of quality and lack of standardization.

    libertarians don't want national police and strong central govt. control. like ANY system, there are tradeoffs. any rinkydink agency or collection thereof can start their own SWAT team and there are no federal standards, and training varies IMMENSELY

    that's the real world

    some SWAT teams are fucking fantastic.

    some are pretty fucking weak

  • Coeus||

    fwiw, our SWAT team has rangers, marines, a SEAL etc.

    none of them make those claims

    Then ask them what would happen if there was documented evidence of them kicking in the wrong door and killing innocent people in a house in Iraq. You might be suprised to find that "paid vacation" isn't the default reaction.

  • ||

    here's a hint. military law and civilian law (the latter applies to cops are DIFFERENT).

    cops are subject to rule of law.

    you may not agree with the law, but it is what it is.

    are you claiming the law isn't being applied fairly to cops in such circumstances?

  • Coeus||

    I'm claiming that militarization is the wrong word, since our military is much more controlled and accountable than our police.

    If they wanted to add the accountability along with the new toys, it'd be a more appropiate term. But we both know that ain't gonna happen.

  • ||

    setting aside your claim (note: emphasis on claim) about the military being more accountable and controlled (note among many things that the military can restrict civil rights of members and control them in ways that are and should be illegal for civilians - and cops are civilians)...

    setting that aside... i'm not going to wank over the meaning of militarize. everybody from the author of the article to both of us knows what we mean when we say that...

  • Coeus||

    setting that aside... i'm not going to wank over the meaning of militarize.

    Then why the fuck did you respond to my comment about it? If it's so beneath you, just leave it the fuck alone.

  • ||

    lighten up, francis

  • FukThaPolice||

    Cops=wannabe soldiers. A lot easier to be tough when you don't have to worry about the enemy (citizens) fighting back.

  • erikjay||

    Yep.

  • erikjay||

    How do you regulars stand being here with a guy like Frumpty Dumpty or whatever his name is? He should be at some GOP or right-wing wacko site where he belongs.

  • Coeus||

    He pretty on the ball except when it comes to his profession. It's then that he exhibits a willful blindness.

  • Coeus||

    Also, he often presents a perspective otherwise lacking (the utility of said perspective can vary wildly, however).

  • ||

    give an EXAMPLE

  • Coeus||

    You mean like that time you demanded to be shown a study showing the ineffectiveness of drug dogs in an article about a study which showed the ineffectiveness of drug dogs?

    Something like that?

  • ||

    works for me. that's AN example.

    i'm not above admitting i can make mistakes, misread shit, etc. that's what distinguishes me from a person like "hmm"

    my ideas about police are informed by my EXPERIENCE. when and if police acted like the reason ignorati CLAIM they do, then i'll believe otherwise.

    frankly, when i first started as a cop , i was continually shocked (over and over) at HOW restrained, calm in the face of fire, and levelheaded most cops acted most of the time.iow, it contradicted many of my misconceptions.

    intelligent people can change their opinions given sufficient evidence and experience.

    i suggest many people here NEVER could. they are ideologues.

  • Coeus||

    Then that must mean that you've changed your opinion about tasers in light of the evidence, right? Because you're not like all those ideologues, right?

  • ||

    imo, the evidence for tasers OVERWHELMINGLY supports that they are safe.

    i am 100% willing to change my mind, and i think the evidence overwhelmingly confirms their safety

    otoh, i frequently comment(ED) that i think many agencies have/had an overly liberal UOF policy as to when they can be used and that for many officers when they got them, there was a race to use them. iow, many officers have been too trigger happy with them.

    imo, the evidence supports that tasers have saved many lives, and that they are a net benefit to society.

  • Coeus||

    that they are a net benefit to society.

    So that's the only claim now? You now believe that they do, in fact, increase the chances of in-custody death?

  • ||

    no. i don't see why you are inferring that. it certainly doesn't follow from what i said.

  • Coeus||

    You were ranting the other day on almost every sub-thread that if tasers were more dangerous than other methods, then there would be a rise in in-custody deaths when they are adopted. I showed you a study showing just that. So did you change your mind?

  • ||

    can you give me a link plz?

    tia

  • Coeus||

    Here it is:

    http://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(08)02113-9/abstract

    And the money quote from the study:

    Fifty cities provided predeployment and postdeployment data on in-custody sudden death, 21 cities reported firearm deaths, and 4 cities reported OIs. The rate of in-custody sudden death increased 6.4-fold (95% confidence interval 3.2-12.8, p = 0.006) and the rate of firearm death increased 2.3-fold (95% confidence interval 1.3–4.0, p = 0.003) in the in the first full year after Taser deployment compared with the average rate in the 5 years before deployment.


    And a link to the discussion is pretty helpful, since it shows another example of your willful blindness, this time to simple logic, in which you repeatedly claimed that since deaths overall have gone down in many places, then tasers were ipso facto safe:

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/08.....tcontainer

  • ||

    very cool. i'll check this out. thanks

  • hmm||

    A disagreement over semantics is far from a mistake. But I understand how it's hard to let go and the legal ramifications of a professional witness (every cop) being considered an expert. To not be an expert is an excellent out for doing a poor job of what you are hired and paid to do. Fortunately this tactic only works in the public sector.

  • ||

    dunphy contributes (unlike some posters I could point a cursor at) a different viewpoint, with actual experience behind it. Definitely worth having.

  • hmm||

    Dunphy contributes, but the contribution tends to be more of an insight into the actual mindset of the US v. Them blue line bullshit. He just does it with more finesse than your average knuckle-dragger. I give him credit for his arguments being more well thought out than most. I do have to give him a break since he's not an expert, it's tough out there when you only have minimal faculties at your disposal.

  • ||

    refusal to admit you are wrong vis vis cops as firearms experts noted

  • hmm||

    -à-

    ^^^
    I found it for you!!!

  • hmm||

    Well, you're definitely not an expert in French. At least it wasn't a legal Latin term.

  • ||

    i'm not an expert. i just speak it reasonably well and read it fluently.

    my typing however, as is obvious, leaves something to be desired.

    noted your continual refusal to admit you were wrong vis à vis firearm experts

    thanks for the accent

  • hmm||

    It's hyphenated.

    You have now been grammar Nazied in French, twice.

  • ||

    yawn...

  • hmm||

    Semantics and grammar count, right?

  • ||

    claiming that cops are firearms experts as a premise to an argument matters.

    it was false, it still is false, and you are still too childish to simply admit it.

    your argument was PREMISED on it and it wasn't true.

    if you can't see the difference between that and simple grammar shit then you need to do even more growing up than i thought.

  • hmm||

    Um, I said semantics and grammar. Not just grammar. I think the first term is a little more pertinent than the second.

  • ||

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. I enjoy the debate. People complain about folks like dunphy and Tony, but I think they add to the discussion.

    And as far as "be at some GOP or right-wing wacko site," if you want to play that card, then we need to kick about 40% of the folks off of here.

    I really enjoy our site and I don't want it to end up like Free Republic where dissenters are "zotted."

  • ||

    WHEN and if the GOP starts advocating for libertarian principles, lemme know

    free republic are a bunch of statist assholes only marginally better than democraticunderground

    of course many ideologues here are just as myopic and dismissive of facts, it's just that our political goals are the same

  • yemek tarifleri||

    thanks

  • Outer Sunset Local||

    dunphy: "cops, like everybody else, though... ARE held accountable when there is a chargeable case, as the metric assloads of cops charged/arrested/indicted etc. shows"

    Would you care to back up this claim? I'm sure that you are familiar with the Meserhle case here in the Bay Area, but that is an extremely rare case of a cop being prosecuted (let alone convicted) of killing someone in the line of duty. Where are these other cases you refer to? And I'm referring to prosecutions against officers for unreasonable force, assault, and murder? I just don't see any real numbers of these kind of cases.

  • Gphil||

    Just to play the devil's advocate- I propose that while police militarization and overwhelming force may have caused a small number of unjustified deaths- its very possible that they actually serve to *promote* suspect safety. Overwhelming force might serve to soften the reserve of suicidal criminals bent on going out in a blaze of glory. It might be humiliating to be dog-piled and dominated by six guys as you are taken into custody, but if it saves your life by allowing the officers to reserve deadly force, isn't it worthwhile?

  • ||

    I think Dunphy should take off his uniform and start filming his comrades as they beat on people. Then when he gets "dog piled" he can write about how great it was not to be killed by them. That would be awesome!

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