Television

Don't Tase Me, Sis

Police Women of Broward County takes reality cop TV to new depths.

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"There's always a good time to use a Taser."

So says Andrea, attractive single mom and one of the four stars of the new TLC reality show, The Police Women of Broward County. The trailer with the Taser quip then cuts to the show's stars tackling suspects, putting knees into various backs, and pointing guns. Browse other clips on the TLC website, and it seems the network can't make up its mind whether these women are sexpots with handcuffs or girls who want to be taken seriously for kicking just as much ass as the boys. A smug poster ad campaign for the show takes the the show's identity problem to yet crasser heights. One ad reads, "Taser Time." Another, "Cavity Search, Anyone?"

Of course, there isn't "always a good time to use a Taser," as the multitude of viral web videos depicting taserings of grandmothers, pregnant women, and children will attest. TLC's ad campaign is offensive, though merely the latest iteration of a genre of television that trivializes the state's use of force and makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.

For the better part of a generation, the Fox hit Cops was the only reality police show on TV. For 20 years, we've watched patient patrol officers break up domestic disputes, arrest sunburned wife-beaters, and chase petty drug offenders down darkened allies. Though the departments depicted in the show always have veto power over what footage makes it on the air, Cops generally did well to depict the monotonies of police work, be it walking a beat, calmly talking down a jealous husband, or taking one of those long, all-night neighborhood patrols in a squad car.

The expansion of cable has spawned countless new cop shows, and like The Police Women of Broward County, most seem to place unfortunate emphasis on the more confrontational perks of police work. A&E got into the game a few years ago with Dallas SWAT, sending a camera crew along with the city's elite paramilitary police unit to document drug raids and standoffs. That show's success spawned Detroit SWAT and Kansas City SWAT. Court TV then gave us Texas SWAT and SWAT U.S.A.

The testosterone-infused Spike TV jumped into the game with DEA, produced by the jolly weatherman-cum-drug warrior Al Roker. The series follows a group of federal agents, also in Detroit (the city's sad, crumbling badlands provide great backdrop for reality shows), as they plan and carry out drug raids. It also produced an unintentionally hillarious moment when self-proclaimed pot smoker and legalization advocate Joe Rogan was forced to conduct a reverent, promotional interview with one of the show's drug-agent stars while hosting one of Spike's mixed martial arts events.

Fox then plumbed new depths of depravity last year with Smile . . . You're Under Arrest!, featuring Maricopa County, Arizona's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America," Joe Arpaio. In a premise that evokes the old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Running Man or Mike Judge's dystopian parody Idiocracy, Sheriff Joe teams up with a crew of comedy writers and improv actors to create elaborate scenarios where "unaware criminal suspects with outstanding warrants are lured out of hiding in this high-energy prank show."

The most obvious criticism of these shows is their exploitation and general tackiness. Police work is reduced to clownish pranks, adrenalin-inducing raids, and telegenic lady cops edited to invoke S&M fantasies for the shlubs watching at home. No one expects much dignity from cable networks, but you'd think, for example, that the Broward County Sheriff's Department might object to the sexualization of its female officers, or to a national ad campaign insinuating that they're sporting itchy Taser fingers.

As for the SWAT programs, America has unfortunately grown comfortable with, or at least accustomed to, the idea of using SWAT teams to kick down doors and conduct volatile, confrontational raids for consensual, nonviolent crimes. We've seen a massive increase in these raids, from about 3,000 per year in the early 1980s to some 50,000 per year by the early 2000s. The popularity of SWAT shows didn't cause the problem, but their popularity is sympomatic of it, and they can only further ingrain the troubling notion that there's nothing wrong with sending a unit of cops dressed like soldiers into private homes to arrest nonviolent drug offenders. And of course, we're never going to see the wrong-door raids, or police mistakes that result in fatalities.

Cop reality shows glamorize all the wrong aspects of police work. Their trailers depict lots of gun pointing, door-busting, perp-chasing, and handcuffing. Forget the baton-twirling Officer Friendly. To the extent that the shows aid in the recruiting of new police officers, they're almost certainly pulling people attracted to the wrong parts of the job.

More broadly, adding a camera crew and a team of editors to turn police work into a commercially viable product not only makes light of a reluctantly granted power—the use of force—that ought to be treated with reverence and restraint, it also projects to the public an image of police work that, despite the genre of television with which it's associated, rarely includes much reality.

Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

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129 responses to “Don't Tase Me, Sis

  1. Yeow. Wanna play “hide the nightstick”?

  2. You’re under arrest, sugar.

  3. Much as I hate to say it, there’s nothing wrong with these cop shows. At least nothing more than the “fake” cop shows like Miami Vice, which also attract would-be cops to the force for all the wrong reasons.

    I do think Police Women of Broward County is in bad taste. Another show I strongly dislike (but watch anyways) is To Catch a Predator.

    I have never seen a truly dangerous sexual predator get apprehended on that show, its always the low-hanging fruit…guys both desperate and dumb enough to even believe they are talking to a woman in those chat rooms, much less some thirteen year old tween. I also can’t stand that exploiting, sanctimonious bastard Chris Hansen.

    Strange as it sounds, I always hope that Chris Hansen’s little crew actually corrals a REAL psychopath, a guy like a Ted Bundy or Richard “Night Stalker” Ramirez. I can see it now, Chris Hansen appears in the room, tells him to “take a seat” and said psychopath then procures and rapidly inserts a rusty ten-inch shiv in the Hansen’s neck…there’s some MUST SEE TV!

  4. And of course, we’re never going to see the wrong-door raids, or police mistakes that result in fatalities.

    Homicide: Life On The Streets is the only show I can recall ever having done an episode on such a topic. But viewing audiences have been ingrained into expecting fairy tales about the police for decades.

  5. Ah! It’s at moments like this that I remember that I am, in fact, a Hoosier. I was schooled in Evansville, IN, right next to the Ohio (River) and I’m lead to believe that Officer Friendly is a southern Indiana thing. I’ve brought the concept up to some upstate friends and they had no idea who/what I was talking about.

    He was a cop who would come to elementary schools and give bullshit presentations on what being a cop is. It involved a lot of “don’t touch me in my special area!” videos. The thing I remember most is when he’d ask the class what the most important thing a cop was issued. We would always cry “Gun!” or “Handcuffs!”. He would always pull out his pen and say “This is the most important tool a police officer has.”

    Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and go to those assemblies stoned off my tits.

    Does anyone here outside of Indiana know what I’m/we’re talking about? Is it really a local phenomena?

  6. ev,

    I’m from Henderson. Tri-State represent!

  7. Okay, threadjack. I went to my CHL class this weekend, and found this interesting little tidbit.

    From the Texas laws on use of force:

    (c) The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified:

    (1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and

    (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary.

    So I read this, and my in-house counsel confirms my reading, as saying you can shoot the cops when they try to do a no-knock on your house and you have a defense to prosecution. I was startled to find this in Texas law.

  8. TheZeitgeist,

    That already happened to Joey Greco in an episode of Cheaters. Though it was in the gut and not the neck.

  9. What bugs me about To Catch a Predator is that it always seems to be done in the small town of Bumfrak, USA. Once I’d like to see it done in DC or Boston. Catch a few political predators.

  10. Officer Friendly was around in Kansas City circa late 1970’s

  11. Maybe a fat chicks cop show? You know, the dykey lookin fatties we get for cops around here?

  12. Gotta Love the Line:

    Its always a good time to use a taser… REALlY!!! CUNTCOPS is all they are, no understanding of rights

  13. Maybe a fat chicks cop show? You know, the dykey lookin fatties we get for cops around here?

    It’s hard to look attractive in a tac vest, bb.

  14. I was startled to find this in Texas law.

    You shouldn’t be. Texans have a long history of being very wary of overreaching police power. I would like to see the ensuing circus if anyone tried to repeal that statute; I’m quite sure that the repeal would go down in flames.

    “You mean to tell me that, no matter what some cop does, I got no right to defend myself? I don’t think so, buddy.”

  15. I too detest “To Catch a Predator” but watch it anyway, like a particularly bloody car wreck you just have to look at. IIRC there was a prosecutor somewhere whose home they were about to raid, but who killed himself as they were gathering outside. Entirely foreseeable how that could happen. I have no problems whatsoever with protecting children but am not sure that talking to an adult online who is posing as a child, should be a crime.

  16. I’m trying, without much success, not to hope something really bad happens to her.

  17. obi juan | August 31, 2009, 12:26pm | #

    What bugs me about To Catch a Predator is that it always seems to be done in the small town of Bumfrak, USA. Once I’d like to see it done in DC or Boston. Catch a few political predators.

    ——————

    Actually one of the first ones, if not the first one, was in Arlington VA, just outside of DC. They got a Rabbi and teacher.

  18. Of course she has to use the taser. She is because she is a woman, at a significant disdvantage physcially. You typical good sized guy in a tough neighborhood bar would beat the living shit out of her. That is the problem with having women cops and feeding them the PC bullshit that women are just as tough as guys. We sick women in situations where they can’t desecalate the situation. The only way they can defend themselves is with a weapon.

  19. At least when they film they prevent the cops from kicking the shit out of the defendant.

    1. I doubt it. Those segments are remanded to the Bloopers and Practical Jokes episodes, which, of course, never make it to air.

  20. ev, Officer Friendly was a national program. we had one visit in elementary schools in NH in the 1970’s.

    I used to watch COPS fairly regularly, until it dawned on me how often they were filming cops going after consensual “criminals”.

    I stopped watching when I saw an episode where this junkie girl got arrested for having a small amount of heroin on her. I remember the sense of outrage I got watching that, thinking “who in their right minds thinks this poor, harmless girl will be better off being arrested, and going through the “justice” system? As she broke down and started crying, I got angry at myself for watching this shit. A person was being traumatized, and they were stripping her of her dignity in front of a national audience for the amusement of self-righteous assholes who would gloat about “that’s what she gets for being a doper” or some similar nonsense, without knowing anything about the history of the person that led her to the choices she made.

    Fuck COPS, and every single one of its clones.

    1. I agree with BakedPenguin’s reaction to the spectacle of Cops, but disagree with his conclusion. I hope that all viewers come away with a similar understanding of the tragedy of our more easily abused laws and a movement to change them gains traction.

      As a resident of Broward County I actually enjoyed seeing some of our officers in action. Unlike Cops, this show had several incidents that put the officers in a bad light, not just a whitewashed version of the joe-sixpack hard working supercop. It also had several incidents where officers let obviously guilty people off with a warning, even for drug possession – an easy conviction if they wanted it. I have a few friends on the force and their take is decidedly hostile to the show and the people who are featured – but oddly their opposition is because they view these usually junior officers as glory hounds who overstate their importance. Actually, they report that it is the producers who overstate their importance and script a lot of the interactions to make them appear more important than they are. Once my friends pointed this out, I was able to clearly see it evidenced in the resulting show.

  21. BP,

    I thought when that show came on it would turn people against cops. Most people don’t deal with cops and have no idea what assholes they are and what stupid shit they arrest people for. Sadly, you seem to be the only one that the show had the desired effect on.

  22. Shocking story, I’m going to start a letter-writing campaign and urge my Repre…. oh, wait, this is in Florida? Who cares.

  23. Recently I got called for jury duty. During voir dire, one of the attorneys was asking all of us what our favorite TV show was. I said, “I like reality cop shows, like Reno 911.” The look on the bailiff’s face was priceless.

  24. That is awsome Spartacus.

  25. One COPS show that will always stick in my mind was one where the cop pulls over this car for some fluff reason. But the cop car and the pulled over car block traffic, so this bicyclist ends up getting hit by oncoming traffic while trying to go around the cop car. The whole thing was an unimaginable clusterfsck.

  26. End Prohibition, and the only time a SWAT team would be needed would be when heavily armed criminals have hostages and are in a standoff with the regular cops. If this happened once or twice a year in a major city it would be a lot.

  27. I can’t watch COPS anymore. I can see how a defense attorney would go bonkers watching that thing. Every time I watch it, I’m always yelling at the screen: “DON’T SAY ANYTHING…LAWYER UP!”

    Or when the cop asks to search the car, yelling at TV “HE CAN ONLY ASK! YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YES!” etc. Cops favorite answer when his search “offer” is politely declined is of course “Well, if you don’t have anything to hide, then why don’t you want me to search?” I got asked that once, to which my reply was “Why do you think I’m hiding something, because if you didn’t you wouldn’t want to search?” To which he said (after a painfully long and silent pause)it was for “my safety” ha-ha…needles to say I went on my way that night.

    Watching COPS is too hard to bear at this point. The criminal underclass is a jobs program for these guys, and public pretenders.

  28. Watching COPS is too hard to bear at this point. The criminal underclass is a jobs program for these guys, and public pretenders.

    Cops – Busting society’s losers for possesion of drugs for persnal use. Occasionally they get a small time dime bag dealer. It’s not entertaining. Not one stinkin’ bit.

  29. I second what the Roasted Spheniscidaen said so eloquently about Cops.

  30. John – one thing that really started to turn me off – even when they were arresting real criminals (B&E, burglary, larceny, etc.) – was that they’d have a guy on the ground, two cops on top of him ready to cuff him, and they’d be screaming at him “STOP RESISTING!” (e.g., he was pulling his hands apart to not get cuffed). It always looked to me like they just wanted an excuse to hurt the perp, and they would have the “evidence” on tape that the guy was “resisting”.

  31. rapidly inserts a rusty ten-inch shiv in the Hansen’s neck

    Kill the Hansen! Stab it!

  32. I’m one of those people that almost get ill watching COPS. 99% of the show is the police happening upon some poor soul that is not harming anyone, and then using a consent search to arrest them.

    It is a good educational tool for people, but you must point out to them the ridiculous nature of what is going on before they “get it”. Once they do though, they will never view it the same way again.

    Since I was once in law enforcement, I can generally persuade people that what they see is inherently unjust.

  33. BP,

    I agree. Most of the force is totally unnecesary. It makes cops look like apes.

  34. Spartacu,

    That reminds me of the time that I was watching Reno 911, on vacation visiting my folks (I think it was the scavenger hunt one). My dad walked in half way and was shocked at the whole thing. It wasn’t until the very end that he realized it wasn’t real.

    My dad’s usually a pretty smart, non-gullible guy, so I think it’s more of a reflection of the police than a reflection on him that he thought Reno 911 was about real cops.

  35. I wouldn’t mind wiping that look off her face and I wouldn’t be using a taser to do it.

  36. Don’t Tase Me, Ho.

  37. * I saw an former acquaintance/co-worker on a COPS-style show once.

    * To the LP, these are potential converts.

  38. John C wins @ 1:36pm.

  39. I wouldn’t mind her wiping something off her face.

    “When she’s closing her eye like it’s been burned by lye, that’s bukkake.”

  40. I love COPS. My favorite segment was out of Philly. The cops got a call to some rundown part of town, they get out and find a black man writhing on the ground in agony, laying in a puddle of blood.

    The cops uncaringly asked this desperately-bleeding man what happened. They didn’t offer any medical assistance. I don’t even think they called an ambulance. The man had been beaten with a baseball bat and some bottles, apparently. Glass was everywhere; it looked like at least two were broken on him.

    “Who did this to you?”

    “Steak Man and his brother Fred,” the man mumbled.

    I may never have laughed harder at the absurdity of everything. The Steak (Stake?) Man and his brother Fred line has entered my circle’s lexicon to describe a FUBAR-ed situation.

    I’ve tried very hard to track down that episode online; it also involves a naked PCP junkie getting shot with a .22 a few times trying to break into a guy’s house. The dude had to be brought down by like 5 officers. A raccoon woman was also featured, no joke.

  41. John C @ 1:36 – threadwinner.

  42. old cops and new cops should be differentiated. old cops was a lot more verite-style, as it were, and not so arrest/taser-focused.

    new cops is all about the sizzle and zap.

  43. If I come across any of these cop reality shows, including COPS, I scramble to find the remote and change the channel. I can’t watch them for even 30 seconds without getting ill.

    The same goes for the myriad police procedurals on TV. (Though I admit there is a comedy element in watching David Caruso “act” on CSI:Miami.) The smug righteousness of the police characters on these shows is downright sickening.

  44. EV,

    I saw one a few years ago where some 12 or 13 year old kid was home alone and three guys tried to crawl through a window to break into the house. The kid took a 12 gauge and blew the one guy who was in the room to pieces, caught another guy half in and half out of the window and killed him and then wounded the third guy enough that the cops found him laying in a pool of blood in the back ally.

    Fortunately, it was in a civilized state that recognized the castle doctrine and the kid wasn’t so much as arrested. I have always thought that episode should be shown to every person arrested for breaking and entering in this country.

  45. When are we going to have a show about catching bad cops?


  46. The same goes for the myriad police procedurals on TV. (Though I admit there is a comedy element in watching David Caruso “act” on CSI:Miami.)

    Looks like someone knows *puts on sunglasses* which is the best CSI show.


  47. The same goes for the myriad police procedurals on TV. (Though I admit there is a comedy element in watching David Caruso “act” on CSI:Miami.)

    And now someone else knows *puts on sunglasses* how to close tags.

  48. John,

    A: That kid is a fucking badass.

    B: That’s the director’s cut ending of Home Alone.

  49. I accidentally caught a little bit of one of those cop shows one time (couldn’t find the remote).

    What appeared to be a college kid on spring break was slumped over against a tree in a parking lot; he was bleeding profusely. The cops pull up and begin interrogating the kid; he tells them a couple of guys kicked the shit out of him and took all his money.

    They promptly called for backup and searched the area* arrested him for public intoxication.

    *hat tip: Radley Balko

  50. That’s the director’s cut ending of Home Alone.

    Sweet, you got a torrent link?

  51. If I ever find myself fabulously wealthy I’m going to create “The Police Police.” Agents would drive around in cruisers outfitted with state of the art audio/video recording devices and a police scanner, witnessing and recording as many arrests as possible. Besides a great public service, it would make a great show too.

  52. You shouldn’t be. Texans have a long history of being very wary of overreaching police power. I would like to see the ensuing circus if anyone tried to repeal that statute; I’m quite sure that the repeal would go down in flames.

    Not exactly on point, but last week, my son’s bike (that he only got 3 months ago) was stolen from his summer camp. The camp’s manager drove around and finally saw the little shits riding the bikes. He said they looked like 8th graders.

    He got out of the car and chased them on foot, getting within a couple feet of them, but they took off and he lost sight of them.

    When he told the MD Park Police that came around to take the report (the camp is located in state park grounds) the cop told him that he was lucky he didn’t catch them and he would have been in trouble if he had grabbed them or something to that effect).

    WFT?? When did this world turn upside down and inside out that you can’t grab a kid who has stolen from you?

    About 15 years ago, there was this snot-nose high schoool age kid that wouldn’t quit screwing around with my motorcycle, always slapping it to set off the vibration alarm. I caught him doing it once and he mouthed off at me when I told him to knock it off. I chased him down, picked him off the ground by his collar, threw him against a tree and read him a riot act at such a volume and magnitude that it is still hanging in space to this day, perhaps.

    He never touched my bike again. I DEFY a cop to tell me I was wrong.

  53. Most people don’t deal with cops and have no idea what assholes they are and what stupid shit they arrest people for.

    Oh please, in our modern overpoliced society every person in America has to deal with an overly authoritarian jerk cop at some point in their life, due to changing lanes without signaling or getting back to the car ten seconds after the parking meter expires.

  54. I DEFY a cop to tell me I was wrong.

    A cop might not. A lawyer might. RC?

  55. Discord:

    you could buy your cruisers from these guys. it’s what the “cops” of the future will be driving…

    http://www.carbonmotors.com/

    damn JW

    note to self – don’t piss this guy off…

    seriously though, he wouldn’t have gotten off so easy w/ some gang thug. you may have saved his life…

    Texas laws? some good some bad. for instance in TX it’s illegal to leave your keys in your car…

  56. I DEFY a cop to tell me I was wrong.

    It would probably be considered assault – except when a cop does it. 😉

  57. If I come across any of these cop reality shows, including COPS, I scramble to find the remote and change the channel. I can’t watch them for even 30 seconds without getting ill.

    i find it to be a helpful reminder of what not to do. it’s a “teachable moment” with less useful commercial breaks in-between bouts of GET DOWN ON THE GROUND and STOP RESISTING.

  58. note to self – don’t piss this guy off…

    Nah, I’m a pussycat.

    Until you fuck with me One. Too. Many. Times.

    Or when I’ve been drinking a lot. Or the kids have driven me nuts. Or when the wife is around.

    On 2nd thought, I’m a twisted bastard.

  59. A cop might not. A lawyer might. RC?

    Morally wrong? No. Legally? Probably an assault. Would you get convicted? Not in most parts of Texas, I can assure you.

  60. TheZeitgeist | August 31, 2009, 12:58pm | #
    “Cops favorite answer when his search “offer” is politely declined is of course “Well, if you don’t have anything to hide, then why don’t you want me to search?” I got asked that once, to which my reply was “Why do you think I’m hiding something, because if you didn’t you wouldn’t want to search?”

    Officer: “I need you to go ahead and pop your trunk”

    Me: “No thanks”

    Officer: “What do you have to hide”?

    Me: “Nothing. I need you to go ahead and empty your pockets on the hood of the car”.

    Officer: “No”

    Me: “What do you have to hide”?
    ****
    Officer: “Where are you headed? Where are you coming from? Where do you work?

    Me: “That information is private. What do you where to bed at night, jammies, boxers or nothing”?

  61. I just want to know on shows like COPS, where are these lands of shirtless and dentistry challenged lads?

  62. Morally wrong? No. Legally? Probably an assault. Would you get convicted? Not in most parts of Texas, I can assure you.

    See? This is why I want to move out to the West (no further than the Nevada border) or Southwest.

    Living in Maryland is some bizzare punishment.

  63. The most disgusting thing about cop shows is the lack of dress code. The female cops are always showing up at work hanging half out of their blouses. I keep watching week after week after week after week just to see if the producers make them cover up.

  64. If I ever find myself fabulously wealthy I’m going to create “The Police Police.” Agents would drive around in cruisers outfitted with state of the art audio/video recording devices and a police scanner, witnessing and recording as many arrests as possible. Besides a great public service, it would make a great show too.

    Spoken, like a true libertarian (“I’ll pay for it myself”). It would actually be a good show. You’d just need a smart-ass celebrity to say “If they have nothing to hide, what are they so afraid of?” every time the cops refused to let you film.

  65. you could buy your cruisers from these guys. it’s what the “cops” of the future will be driving…

    http://www.carbonmotors.com/

    I wonder if they’d sell one, minus lights and decals saying “police”, to anyone.

  66. Maybe a fat chicks cop show? You know, the dykey lookin fatties we get for cops around here?

    Not here in So. Cal. Last time I got pulled over on the freeway several years ago, it was by an absolutely adorable redhead. I would have asked her out if my self preservation instincts had been malfunctioning (more than normal, that is).

  67. I wonder if they’d sell one, minus lights and decals saying “police”, to anyone.

    Or, more interestingly, will they sell me one *with* the lights and decals? 😉

  68. QD:

    you should always endear yourself w/ a compliment like “well isn’t that cute, a lady cop…”

  69. Officer Friendly was around in Phoenix, AZ circa late 1970’s

  70. Is it any wonder why AmeriDUH is finished as a country?

  71. I stopped watching when I saw an episode where this junkie girl got arrested for having a small amount of heroin on her. I remember the sense of outrage I got watching that, thinking “who in their right minds thinks this poor, harmless girl will be better off being arrested, and going through the “justice” system?

    I think COPS is a great show because it documents this sort of thing.

  72. “and they can only further ingrain the troubling notion that there’s nothing wrong with sending a unit of cops dressed like soldiers into private homes to arrest nonviolent drug offenders.”

    Non-violent drug offenders? Where are these mythical creatures who don’t directly or indirectly support drug cartel activities?

    If you grow your own, and it never leaves your home, MAYBE you’re not part of the problem.

    However respectable, inalienable and unassailable you believe your right to do as you please in the privacy of your home: if you’re buying drugs – for personal use, or for resale, odds are, you’re supporting gang crime, murder, auto theft, prostitution, arms smuggling, armed robbery, and rampant illegal immigration.

    But you’re OK. Model citizen. Right?

  73. If you’re forcing a product into the black market – for personal use, or for resale, odds are, you’re supporting gang crime, murder, auto theft, prostitution, arms smuggling, armed robbery, and rampant illegal immigration.

  74. However respectable, inalienable and unassailable you believe your right to do as you please in the privacy of your home: if you’re buying drugs – for personal use, or for resale, odds are, you’re supporting gang crime, murder, auto theft, prostitution, arms smuggling, armed robbery, and rampant illegal immigration.

    Decriminalize the drugs.

    Problem solved.

    But you’re OK. Model citizen. Right?

    Do you make sure that everything you buy wasn’t produced using illegal or unethical means?

    Or do you just buy it because it’s what you want and the right price?

  75. the cop told him that he was lucky he didn’t catch them and he would have been in trouble

    And I would have told the cop he is lucky too because any pig like him or his pig brothers they send out to arrest me for that might end up in a box.

  76. Officer Friendly was around in Phoenix, AZ circa late 1970’s

    Officer Really Friendly was found manning the receiving end of a glory hole in a Pennsylvanian truck stop circa the early eighties.

  77. I had absolutely no problems with the police the first 3000 or so times my youthful indiscretions brought me into contact with them.

    My father was the local probation/parole officer for the surrounding 8 counties or so, my best friend’s dad was the local public defender and we lived in a small town.

    Neither my friend nor I did anything too terrible, but when we were pulled over we were always let off. We were both pissed when the officer would inform our fathers of our recent exploits at coffee the next morning; it seemed so unfair.

    After moving away from my small hometown I was amazed at what a-holes the cops were in big cities. No casual warnings or short lectures on the wisdom of being drunk and disorderly early in the morning. It was a real eye opener.

    I went from being a HUGE law and order guy to a libertarian in a very short time.

    p.s. My father thinks that Reno 911 is the most realistic cop type show out there.

  78. I had no idea that Nick Swordson was from Reno before watching Reno 911. It explains a lot…

  79. “p.s. My father thinks that Reno 911 is the most realistic cop type show out there.”

    I work with a guy who is a retired 30 year NYPD officer. He says the old Barney Miller show was the only realistic cop show ever made. Life is usually closer to comedy than drama.

  80. Non-violent drug offenders? Where are these mythical creatures who don’t directly or indirectly support drug cartel activities?

    Big on collective responsibility, are we, DM? In my book, a non-violent drug user is a drug user who isn’t, you know, violent.

    Otherwise, you get trapped in a nice tight tautological loop – we outlaw drugs because drugs are sold on the black market because we outlaw drugs because drugs are sold on the black market because . . . .

  81. JW @ 3pm

    Living in Maryland is some bizzare punishment.

    I could not have said it better!

  82. “IIRC there was a prosecutor somewhere whose home they were about to raid, but who killed himself as they were gathering outside.”

    Yup. Check out this extremely interesting piece on Esquire regarding that event and To Catch a Predator in general.

    http://www.esquire.com/features/predator0907

  83. There are millions of nonviolent drug users. They are just generally the ones who don’t get arrested or are rich enough to avoid contact with the cops. Honestly, you think the FARC is making billions because crack fiends are cashing their welfare checks? No. They are making billions because there are millions of hard working Americans who use drugs every day but do so without becoming addicts or in any way attracting the attention of the police.

  84. This reminds me of the Dirty Harry movie “The Enforcer” where Harry briefly gets stuck on the personnel board and interviews a female candidate for Inspector.

    He doesn’t fall for the PC feminist feel good stuff and gives her a hard time about not having enough experience, not being quick enough, and not being tough enough… because “she might get herself killed and maybe get her partner killed.”

    The woman is hired and eventually becomes Harry’s partner. Like all of Harry’s partners, she does an admirable job but gets killed… by an enviro-hippy terrorist cell… after they kidnap the mayor with the use of a taser.

  85. you’re supporting gang crime, murder, auto theft, prostitution, arms smuggling, armed robbery, and rampant illegal immigration.

    The government just hates competition.

    And, DM is the government’s bitch.

  86. My favorite episode of COPS was teh when where a guy named Kevin tried to hide between two mattresses on a bed in order to evade capture. He was not successful. The first cop to find him saw the bulge in the mattress, silently came out of the room, and directed his partner bacj in with him and pointed to the bulge. They both acted surprised when Kevin emerged form his perfect hiding spot.

    “Oh, hey Kevin. What are you doing under there?”

    Oh, and for the record, we had “Deputy” Friendly in the Milwaukee, WI area. He ran the DARE program. Ah, memories…

  87. “Much as I hate to say it, there’s nothing wrong with these cop shows.”

    They are not representative of actual police work. They are as representative of day-to-day police work (including the mistakes) as The Practice is to lawyering.

  88. The law enforcement sector already attracts enough dicks and wannabe tough guys only want to impose their will on others under the protection of a gun and a badge as it is. These shows will only make it worse.

    The only shows like this I watch is “Cops” and the various extreme video shows that are made primarily of dash-cam videos. Those are the only remotely realistic ones that don’t glamorize the violation of rights and use of extreme force.

  89. Did Balko get busted with a joint once, or something?

  90. Oh, wait wait wait: “Don’t tase me, ho!”

  91. “However respectable, inalienable and unassailable you believe your right to do as you please in the privacy of your home: if you’re buying drugs – for personal use, or for resale, odds are, you’re supporting gang crime, murder, auto theft, prostitution, arms smuggling, armed robbery, and rampant illegal immigration.”

    You could say the same thing to everyone who pays their frickin taxes, or fills up at a Citgo. As a matter of fact, I am making the earth inexorably warmer now as I breath, its the iceberg’s fault the Titanic sank, and Mary Jo would still be alive if the silly woman had known how to swim. Pure malarkey.

  92. I wouldn’t mind wiping that look off her face and I wouldn’t be using a taser to do it.

    I’d actually buy a ticket to watch your attempt.

  93. I work with a guy who is a retired 30 year NYPD officer. He says the old Barney Miller show was the only realistic cop show ever made. Life is usually closer to comedy than drama.

    My stepfather did a few years as a Detroit cop and said the exact same thing.

  94. My favorite sickening cop reality show episode featured a raid on a house, complete with four cops and a nasty police dog, who found a little black man hiding in a hollowed-out area in a chair and proceeded to bite his legs, while the cops screamed “Stop moving!” (to the man, not the dog, who kept biting the man), who kept struggling because he was being eaten by a large dog. This went on for about half a minute, as the cops made no effort to remove the dogs teeth from the man’s legs. That’s entertainment, folks. Later on, a cop spokesman admitted that perhaps the dog had been a tad too enthusiastic.

  95. He says the old Barney Miller show was the only realistic cop show ever made.

    Goddamnit! Now the Barney Miller song is stuck in my head.

  96. I’d actually buy a ticket to watch your attempt.

    You like to watch, eh?

  97. Now the Barney Miller song is stuck in my head.

    Worse things could happen. That bass line (by Carol Kaye, who did a lot of the Beach Boys songs) is awesome. I’d been playing for about three years before I figured it out.

  98. What was thar cop “semi-reality”(real perps with recreated scenes starring the soul-saved snitch) show where everybody arrested for drugs was talked into snitching?

    Top Cops or something like that(NBC?).
    Worst thing ever on television.They made it look like snitching got you out of any and all trouble. That it made you feel better and it was the right thing to do and only losers didn’t snitch.

    Pure Fucking Evil……

  99. Quiet Desperation:

    “Not here in So. Cal. Last time I got pulled over on the freeway several years ago, it was by an absolutely adorable redhead. I would have asked her out if my self preservation instincts had been malfunctioning (more than normal, that is).”

    Same thing here: I was pulled over for an improper lane change down by the local beach. The cop was a youngish, cuteish female. After a somewhat flirtatious exchange, she handed back my stuff (sans ticket), saying something like, “stay safe, babe.”

    To this day, I kick myself for not taking the cue . . .

  100. Worse things could happen. That bass line (by Carol Kaye, who did a lot of the Beach Boys songs) is awesome. I’d been playing for about three years before I figured it out.

    Oh, no hating on the song, it’s a great jam alright, the first couple of times through.

    After the 21st, not so much.

  101. We had an Officer Friendly program when I was in various elementary schools around the country (military brat), so I’m sure it’s nationwide.

    In high school is where I first learned of the DARE program. The school liaison officer on loan from the LAPD was one Officer Webster. Very friendly man with a gentle demeanor.

    Well one day, Officer Webster was showing a science class his issue equipment, to include the .38 revolver the LAPD was still issuing. Unfortunately, while clearing the weapon, he somehow managed to leave a round in the cylinder. When he went to dry fire, it was actually more of a wet fire, and there resulted a small hole in the back wall of the classroom (with a somewhat larger hole in the exterior of the building). Thank God no one was hurt.

    Officer Webster didn’t lose his job, but the teasing from the students was unmerciful. He took it like a champ, though.

  102. You like to watch, eh?

    Internet tough guys getting clowned? Sure.

  103. hmm:

    cool pic. any experts out there on the model? doesn’t appear to have a water jacket.

    i’d really like to get a look at the propaganda poster in the background…

  104. check out the elevation, looks like they might be bird hunting.

  105. An excellent cop reality show is “First 48” on A&E. No drug busts or prostitution stings, just dedicated homicide cops chasing down murderers and sometimes breaking the bad news to victim’s families.

  106. It’s a .44 caliber tatter digger. Colt-Browning M1895.

    The poster

    The site that will suck hours from your day. Shorpy high res history. Where the picture came from.

  107. thx for the link hmm

  108. interesting, for an air cooled of that vintage, the one in the pic has a smooth surfaced heavy barrel. probably useless for sustained fire…

  109. Internet tough guys getting clowned? Sure.

    Unlikely. She’s nothing but a fuckbag that thinks being a little Nazi-bitch tasing people is fun because they might want to get high with a drug less dangerous than alcohol.

  110. Unlikely. She’s nothing but a fuckbag that thinks being a little Nazi-bitch tasing people is fun because they might want to get high with a drug less dangerous than alcohol.

    And then what did you do?

  111. Jim Treacher: “Did Balko get busted with a joint once, or something?”

    Not sure. I think mainly he feels strongly about the whole individual rights thing.

    Ridiculous, isn’t it?

  112. I think mainly he feels strongly about the whole individual rights thing.

    Ridiculous, isn’t it?

    It wouldn’t be if the assumption weren’t that the cop is always wrong.

  113. Jim:

    “It wouldn’t be if the assumption weren’t that the cop is always wrong.”

    that’s a good assumption, when the perp should be considered innocent until proven otherwise. a good portion of cops are scum. good cops should recognize this and take care to be respectful of citizens, i.e., their employers…

  114. that’s a good assumption, when the perp should be considered innocent until proven otherwise. a good portion of cops are scum. good cops should recognize this and take care to be respectful of citizens, i.e., their employers…

    I sincerely hope you never need one.

  115. Jim:

    me too, their track record is shit and the courts say they have no duty to protect me. given that, can’t imagine where i’d need one, unless i just felt like being harassed…

  116. good cops should recognize this and take care to be respectful of citizens, i.e., their employers…

    so what’s so wrong about this statement?

    you wanna profile a good cop? richard mack.

  117. And then what did you do?

    Nothing, but I actually care about freedom unlike this cunt and apparently unlike you do.

    I’ve worked with the police and I know how ridiculous they are. There are many good officers, but they cover up and lie for the bad ones all the time. That makes them complicit.

    Every dirty, crooked, rude cop makes life more dangerous for the good ones.

  118. The First 48 is great Television. I have to echo SOFL’s comment. It’s absolutely heart breaking and almost too real to watch. One interesting thing to note is that a lot of the time detectives arrest murders by knocking on their doors or calling them and asking them to come down to the station.

  119. As Frank Serpico said, It will not change until the bad cop fears the good cop, not the other way around.

  120. Couple things. I am sheriff’s deputy with 14 years on two departments. Females like Andrea think they have to act 10 times as hard to make up for their lack of physical strength. As though as the toughest gal is, she’s no match for the average 24 year old career criminal They put their fellow officers in jeopardy with their antics and make what is already a difficult job even more difficult.

    And JB, who do you think you are impressing with this comment:

    And I would have told the cop he is lucky too because any pig like him or his pig brothers they send out to arrest me for that might end up in a box.

    “Might” is a stretch JB, as big a bad ass as you are If you tried that shit with me I guarantee you would be the one in the box.

    If you all don’t like the laws vote to change them. The police are here to enforce the laws, not make them or ignore them when they don’t agree with them.

  121. “The police are here to enforce the laws, not make them or ignore them when they don’t agree with them”

    Oh, really. So, you enforce the law 100% as written when you catch your cop buddies driving home from a night at the bar?

  122. How two guys got a totally fake lawsuit broadcast on Court TV, during sweeps week. The Court TV Prank

  123. I think you need to lighten up a bit.

  124. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane

  125. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane

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