Militarization of Police

More Police Professionalism for Justice Scalia

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The Seattle Post-Intelligencer investigated police complaints filed in the city and found that they aren't taken all that seriously.

The Seattle Police Department hasn't disciplined any officers for unnecessary force in the past 18 months, during a time when it ruled on at least 161 force cases. During that same period, 12 other excessive-force complaints resulted in supervisory intervention with officers.

The last batch of sustained force cases occurred in the first few months of 2006, when three cases dating from 2004 and 2005 resulted in discipline, including a suspension, a suspension that was held in abeyance for good behavior and two reprimands.

The department takes disciplinary action in about 1 percent of cases where a complaint of unnecessary force is made. It sustains other allegations about 10 percent of the time, records show. Other types of complaints include abuse of authority, false arrest and discourtesy.

The article cites one plaintiff's attorney in brutality cases who says the higher percentage of non-excessive force cases are upheld because they rarely result in significant discipline for the officer or liability for the city.

The investigation was spurred by a recent police brutality incident in which the city paid $185,000 to the victim, then promoted the officer in question to lieutenant.

A study in Chicago showed similar disinterest in complaints against the city's police, even when it comes to police shootings.

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  1. If you’re not cop, you’re little people, fatties.

  2. If you’re not cop, you’re little people, fatties.

    Whoa, now hold on. Plenty of cops are fatties.

  3. I’m perfectly willing to believe that every city police department in the country is a festering den of thieves, representing the biggest threat to western civilization in the form of organized crime. However, the fact that “The department takes disciplinary action in about 1 percent of cases where a complaint of unnecessary force is made” isn’t very convincing, as I’m also perfectly willing to believe that two-bit punks getting arrested are a hundred times more likely to file a bogus brutality complaint.

  4. Perfect example of a post where a gratuitous hot Russian chick pic would be much appreciated.

  5. Whoa, now hold on. Plenty of cops are fatties.

    You’re missing the point, refer to the earlier thread on eating establishments.

    Perfect example of a post where a gratuitous hot Russian chick pic would be much appreciated

    Uh, Matt, is there any post where a gratuitous post of the Russian hot chick wouldn’t be appreciated?

  6. i use to live in chicago and when you saw a cop coming toward you, you look around in the hopes that a gangbanger is nearby for protection.

  7. I’m also perfectly willing to believe that two-bit punks getting arrested are a hundred times more likely to file a bogus brutality complaint.

    As a former 2-bit punk, I can assure that brutality complaints were few and far between when the police merely dragged punks down to police station and detained them for a few hours. Put them through the prosecutorial procedure and yeah, brutality complaints are going to be filed. The cops wanted zero-tolerance policy, and they should get them good and hard.

  8. I’m curious as to what constitiutes a psychological examination for police recruits. Seems like they’re not filtering out as many sociopaths as they used to.

  9. de stijl,

    I just watched the final-I’m-not-kidding-this-time-director’s cut, and I miss the narration. I don’t care what everyone else says about it!

  10. Uh, Matt, is there any post where a gratuitous post of the Russian hot chick wouldn’t be appreciated?

    No, but on Radley cop posts they could help control my blood pressure by offsetting the rush of blood to my head with a rush of blood to my other head.

  11. No, but on Radley cop posts they could help control my blood pressure by offsetting the rush of blood to my head with a rush of blood to my other head.

    You’ll either blow your wad or blow an artery. Either way, something’s gotta give.

  12. Pro Libertate,

    Is it worth the buy? Extra features, etc.

  13. You’ll either blow your wad or blow an artery.

    In Russia, hot chicks blow you!

  14. de stijl,

    Actually, we saw it on pay-per-view, so I missed the features. As I understand it, all three versions (release, director’s cut, final director’s cut) are digitally enhanced and included, so that makes it worth it to me so I can hear the godforsaken voice over. Grumble.

  15. Pro Libertate,

    I dislike voiceovers as a general rule and perfer Blade Runner without them. Indeed, voiceovers are often IMHO a poor story telling device.

  16. As much as I dislike the sometimes blatant lefty slant of the Seattle P-I, I must hand it to them for their relentless reporting on the highly corrupt SPD.

    And how’s this for a nice correlation with them and the “fatty” comments: Some years back there was a report on how much overtime is being collected by Seattle police officers. The most prolific one, a beat cop, had these inspiring words to live by: “Never stand when you can sit, and never sit when you can lie down.”

    They don’t step out of the car, they spill out.

  17. Pro Libertate,

    Not there aren’t good examples of the use of voice-overs.

  18. I do still live in Chicago, and the worst Chi town gang is, and always has been, the CPD.

    And yea, you learn real quick to play the “yes sir, I ain’t got no rights worth respecting, no sir, none at all” game, if you find yourself talking to one without witnesses around.

    Isn’t it that way everywhere in America?

  19. Not there aren’t good examples of the use of voice-overs.

    Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.

    “I hadn’t seen a body put together like that since I solved the case of the Murdered Girl with the Big Tits.”

  20. Isn’t it that way everywhere in America?

    No. I New Orleans they’ll beat your ass while surrounded by witnesses.

  21. Indeed, voiceovers are often IMHO a poor story telling device.

    With very few exceptions, they are a crutch, a violation of the cardinal rule “Show It, Don’t Tell It.”

  22. “Carlotta was the kind of town where they spell trouble T-R-U-B-I-L, and if you try to correct them, they kill you.”

  23. And yea, you learn real quick to play the “yes sir, I ain’t got no rights worth respecting, no sir, none at all” game, if you find yourself talking to one without witnesses around.

    Isn’t it that way everywhere in America?

    In every big city, at least. I’ve heard horror stories about small town LEOs but haven’t lived it. In my experience the politest cops are in a wealthy suburb that you’re a resident of.

  24. “I wanted to kiss her with every lip on my body.”

  25. “You just put your finger in the hole and make tiny little circles.”

  26. “Can I use her underwear to make soup?”

  27. “Tell you what, whatever he’s paying you, I’ll double it, and we’ll beat the shit out of him.”

  28. Show don’t tell is a rule of thumb, not an ironclad law of exposition. I refute it thus:

    “I was born a poor black child.”

  29. [T]he city paid $185,000 to the victim, then promoted the officer in question to lieutenant.

    Everyone knows that’s what you do when you want the incompetents out of the way. The rank is synonymous with “stupid”.

  30. Everyone knows that’s what you do when you want the incompetents out of the way.

    Where I come from, we generally fire incompetents.

    The First Iron Law will obtain: “You get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.”

    how don’t tell is a rule of thumb, not an ironclad law of exposition.

    Hey, I said there were exceptions.

  31. Yes, but as far as exceptions go, that’s a doozy!

  32. Sunset Boulevard is one of the few movies with voiceover that worked. Amelie being another.

  33. R. C. Dean-
    Then you must work for the one org of greater than a hundred people that is not subject to the Peter/Dilbert principle. I envy you.

  34. Russ,

    The only consistent standard I’ve seen is a GED and a pulse. Psych tests and math exams have been found to be unconstitutional.

  35. Russ 2000 | February 1, 2008, 4:18pm
    Seems like they’re not filtering out as many sociopaths as they used to.

    What makes you think police departments are trying to filter sociopaths out?

  36. “The only consistent standard I’ve seen is a GED and a pulse. Psych tests and math exams have been found to be unconstitutional.”

    You’re an idiot. Every police department requires psychological evaluations for new recruits (I happen to be a psychologist and former cop who administers them). There’s nothing unconstitutional about them whatsoever.

    Let me ask Balko this question: Of all complaints against the police that your article talks about, how many do you REALLY think are legit? Don’t you think it’s just possible that when some folks get arrested, they like to accuse the police of bad behavior simply because no one authority figures telling them they can’t do something? You make it sound like there’s wide spread brutality occurring as a matter of course; but of course, the devil is in the details, and I suspect, that there’s a lot more to these stories than you try to make them out to be.

    And to think I have a paid subscription to reason….

  37. Relax Irene, geez…

    Your hyperbolic response brilliantly frames my point while dodging half of my statement.

    I said, “…have been found…” That doesn’t mean that they are currently. It depends on the appropriateness of the test as to whether it is a good indicator of police performance.

    And as to their actual use, wouldn’t you think that the increasing number of these crimes is indicating only the initial mindset and not the one that is left after the indoctrination of POST and time on the force? It might be an interesting study to see how “time in” effects the incidence of these occurrences.

    And how can you judge a person to be competent to manage high stress interpersonal conflicts when you can’t require them to have basic math skills?

    Also, what’s your poison? Are you a Big Five guy? MMPI? MMPI-2?

    Additionally, how do you explain this?

    http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=872402

    Abstract: In the recent case of Jordan v. The City of New London a police applicant was denied employment because he scored too well on the cognitive ability portion of his written application test. The importance of the case stems from its potential impact on three areas. First, in a time of shrinking applications to police forces, legal decisions related to the selection process would appear significant. Second, the rejection of an applicant by a police department because he was thought too intelligent appears to create or reinforce negative stereotypes of police in the USA. Third, the case involves employment law, an area that has proven fertile ground for suits against the police. The article explores the case in detail as well as reporting the results of a survey of police mid-level managers concerning the impact of intelligence on various police administrative concerns.

  38. Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. A normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop heart. Make the bastard chase you. He will follow. But he won’t know what to make of your blinker signal that says you are about to turn right. This is to let him know you’re pulling off for a proper place to talk. It will take him a moment to realize that he’s about to make a 180 degree turn at speed, but you will be ready for it. Brace for the g’s, and fast heel-toe work.

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