Are Police More Damned Trouble Than They're Worth?

Modern police forces have become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection.



In the spring, months before Michael Brown was shot and Ferguson erupted in reaction, whoever writes New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton's blog for him posted, "In my long police career I have often drawn inspiration from a great hero of mine, Sir Robert Peel. Peel founded the London Metropolitan Police in 1829." The post listed the nine "Peelian Principles" attributed (probably spuriously) to the founder of modern policing and formulated to combat crime in a rapidly modernizing city. The principles are remarkable both for the high ideals to which they aspire, and the minimal resemblance they bear to the actual forces over which Bratton and his counterparts around the United States actually preside.

Given the grim reality of law enforcement in today's America, it's hard to believe anything like those ideals could ever be met.

The background to the principles is no mystery. Peel and friends wanted to consolidate London's constables, night watchmen, and police forces in the growing city. But "people were suspicious of a large force, possibly armed," the U.K.'s National Archives note. "They feared it could be used to suppress protest and support military dictatorship." People feared this because the army had been used to do exactly that. In addition to the guiding principles, the police were given blue uniforms to distinguish them from military red. They originally weren't even allowed to vote to minimize their influence over government policies.

Interestingly, Bratton's version of the first principle reads, "The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder." But the original version says, "To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment." Maybe New York City's police commissioner drew from an altered-by-repetition version of the principles. Or maybe he just had difficulty seeing modern armored vehicle-riding, assault rifle-toting, police as an alternative to military force.

The principles also specify that police "use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient." That doesn't mean cops have to be pacifists. But it's hard to reconcile a preference for persuasion with the over-the-top police occupation of Ferguson, or the promiscuous use of militarized SWAT teams to kick in doors as a matter of routine. Only 7 percent of SWAT uses compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union involved a "hostage, barricade, or active shooter"—79 percent were to serve search warrants.

It's also hard to reconcile a dedication to the "minimum degree of physical force" with the warning to the public in the pages of the Washington Post, penned by Officer Sunil Dutta of the Los Angeles Police Department, that "If you don't want to get shot…just do what I tell you." Dutta and his colleagues apparently don't agree that "to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public," as the principles would have it.

Public Domain

For that matter, willing cooperation requires that the public knows what the police are up to in order to have any sort of opinion on the matter, willing or otherwise. So when police forces actively conceal the use of techniques and technology, such as cellphone-tracking stingray devices, from public scrutiny and judicial oversight, cooperation isn't even being sought.

And when that concealment is not an isolated incident, but involves departments from coast to coast deceiving the public on the advice of the federal government, it's obvious that, at least in this country, Sir Robert Peel's heirs have lost any interest in the idea that they are "only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen."

Modern saturation policing—when cops swarm a neighborhood or randomly throw roadblocks over major roadways—is openly intended as a form of intimidation. The Tennessee Highway Patrol plans "driver's license, sobriety and seatbelt checkpoints, as well as saturation patrols and bar and tavern checks" over Labor Day weekend to scare the public into compliance with a laundry list of rules and regulations. It's probably more effective at making people afraid to leave the house on a holiday lest they trip over lurking troopers. It's also at odds with the idea that "the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action."

It's not that there was ever a golden age of policing. Within a few years of the Metropolitan Police Department's creation, peelers were sent after Chartist political demonstrators (though they did avoid the sabers-swinging tactics that the military brought to such occasions with bloody enthusiasm). Police officers were frequently drunk and corrupt.

It's also unclear that the new police actually reduced crime, with criminal court proceedings continuing at the same pace before and after the creation of the force.

Valerian Gribayedoff/Public Domai

When the idea of professional policing crossed the Atlantic Ocean, the force Bratton now leads trumped the British example. It managed not just corruption, but an actual riot between two rival departments in 1857. Fifty-three officers were injured before the state militia intervened.

But, all that said, there's a reason for the creation of such institutions as constables, night watchmen, thief-takers, police, and other efforts at keeping the peace. People don't want their property stolen, their persons abused, or their lives taken; they want to deter and punish the predators among us, and they don't always feel up to doing the jobs themselves.

But modern police forces have gone dangerously off-track. They've become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection. That Dutta's column was actually a response to public outrage over police conduct shows how disconnected policing has become from the people it supposedly serves.

Bill Bratton was on to something when his blogger invoked the Peelian Principles. Those nine points, intended to appease a justifiably skeptical audience, were never perfect, and they've always been implemented by flawed human beings. But the ideals to which they aspire are a hell of a lot better than what we have now.

NEXT: Obama Worried About Looking Hawkish, Rand and Hillary Formally Flip Their Parties' Roles, St. Louis Cop Defends D-Day Tactics: P.M. Links

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  1. When seconds count, the police are only an MRAP ride away.

    1. “Captain! Captain! Can I go AGAIN!”

  2. Police Commissioner William J. Bratton’s blog for him posted, “In my long police career I have often drawn inspiration from a great hero of mine, Sir Robert Peel.

    William “obeying police is what democracy is all about” Bratton is full of shit. Or rather, the guy running his blog is full of shit.

  3. Police departments should be abolished and all law enforcement should be surbordinated to sheriff’s at the lowest level political subdivisions possible. If not just privatized…

    1. Say one thing about schools, but if there’s any currently publicly provided service that should be replaced with vouchers it’s police/security.

    2. No. Eliminate government police. Have victims hire them, just as they hire plumbers, mechanics, and others.

      It has the nice side effect of eliminating victimless crimes, but even I don’t think statists are too obtuse to miss that.

      1. Scarecrow repair, That’s kind of how it works in some 3rd world countries. If you need the police you pay for their gasoline and the more you pay the better results are obtained.My truck was stolen and I had to pay the cops to return it to me.

        1. Sounds like the cops in that country are better than, say, the LAPD. I had a laptop stolen from a friend’s car in LA some years ago, and filed a police report in order to get my insurance to pay out. I never heard from the cops again, but a few months later (after my insurance had replaced it), I got a call from a guy wanting to know if I’d had a laptop seized by the police–he had bought my laptop at a police auction and figured out who it belonged to from a browser bookmark.

          In other words, the police not only didn’t help recover my stolen property, they _stole it themselves_.

          1. Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence

    3. How is that different from how most police departments actually work?

      My town has its own police department, and voters by and large seem OK with it. If we weren’t, we could change it.

  4. The police are nothing but a gang that has been elevated above other gangs via “the law”, and that politicians pay for protection. And they behave accordingly. Is there anything that the police now do that is worth anything? Is there anything they do which isn’t harmful at this point? Or that couldn’t be done better by a private service?

    1. They act as secretaries for insurance companies for property loss. That’s of some value, and I can see some cases in that capacity where a private service wouldn’t have the authority to do that job well enough.

      I realize that’s 0% of police news coverage and 50% of their time spent working. But we could certainly limit their job to that function and save 95% of the money wasted on all the other useless and counter-productive things they do.

    2. I tend to agree, and I think it’s the fact that they’ve been raised to a special legal status that’s the cause of a lot of the problems. Things would probably be better with more private security forces, for day-to-day stuff, and a smaller set of police forces more akin to the US Marshals than to modern local police departments, for apprehending fugitives, carrying out court orders, etc. I’m sure some people would immediately claim that private security forces would be “unaccountable”, but how could they be less accountable than the police are now?

      1. They wouldnt have immunity, so thats an improvement on accountability right there.

        1. Exactly!

        2. They wouldn’t get the “benefit of doubt” if prosecuted. . .

          Improvement #2.

      2. Historically, private security forces have been even worse than what we have now.

        1. The trick is to make each cop, government or private, carry “malpractice insurance” against excessive force, perjury, etc.
          Rack up too many claims, and nobody will sell you insurance – no insurance, no police job.

          A doctor can’t practice medicine without malpractice insurance. . .

  5. When I was in college 20 years ago, one of my teachers, who was from Pakistan, had his apartment broken into. He told us the story and couldn’t figure out what use the police were. The way he told it, an officer came in, asked a few questions, took some notes, and then told him they probably wouldn’t catch the guy or get the stolen property back.

    So in other words, Yes.

    1. I had a similar experience with police right here in the US. It’s no surprise the police here are just a useless and equally brutal.

    2. This is what happened to me in the early 2000’s. The burglars kept using my laptop to connect to my University’s internet over dial up. They were doing it every day. I tried telling the detective that this was happening and they could trace the calls. He told me to have the University turn my laptop off.

    3. I’ve had four car burglaries and several embezzlements over the years. The first time I reported the burglary to the police, naively thinking somebody would give a damn. The cop was actually sympathetic, but frankly told me that there was no prospect of recovery. The second time, my wife insisted that we call the cops at the scene of the nighttime crime. Believe it or not, the police actually dispatched an officer. He actually tried to help, and looked around the vicinity to see if the thieves tossed the less valuable stuff after rifling through it for valuables. Of course, that was all he could do.

      The 3rd and 4th times I didn’t bother calling the cops because I knew full well that it was a waste of my time.

      I don’t really fault the cops so much because they really are not organized and incentivized to investigate petty crime. The incentives are much stronger to go after the forfeiture revenues and easy convictions in drug-related crimes.

      The biggest embezzlement had to do with my futures account at MF Global. The perp in that case was Obama’s main bundler, and he’s still free as a bird and living large. If I had reported it to the police, or to the FBI, or any other agency of government, they would have laughed me out of the office.

      1. I also had a burglary and called the cops to the same effect. However, the reason there is little they can is because unless a burglar is caught in the act or fencing the stolen property there is little that can be done. The most they can do is check for fingerprints which usually doesn’t turn up anything useful because thieves either know enough to wear gloves and tend to only touch things like doorknobs/handles or other things which are too contaminated to be of use. Also if the burglar is not in the system it wont help anyway. They can check surveillance footage if available. Or they can track down the stolen goods if they are unique enough like some jewelry or if they have a serial number and the victim kept a record of it.

        I explained this in depth becuase a private security firm would not be any better at investigating crime, would probly in fact be worse since they would also not have the ability to check databases for fingerprints at all, and could not compel pawn shops to give them records of who pawned what or indeed a list of things that have been pawned.

      2. Sounds like you need to move. In over half a century, I’ve never had my home or car burgled. Of course the fact that I mow my grass with a G19 plainly visible in my waistband and have a sign that says “trespassers will be shot” on the front door probably helps.

  6. It’s also unclear that the new police actually reduced crime, with criminal court proceedings continuing at the same pace before and after the creation of the force.

    Makes a ton of sense actually. Peel merely centralized existing law-enforcement into a single governmental entity. He tried his best and failed to make it any better than the existing hodge-podge. Then over time the centralized system rotted from within, making it far worse than what it had replaced.

  7. Police aren’t worth anything. They destroy value. Only a minority of the population benefits from the police. They include:
    – Cops who feed off of taxpayer dollars
    – Prison guards who feed off of taxpayer dollars
    – Prosecutors who feed off of taxpayer dollars
    – Judges who feed off of taxpayer dollars
    – Corporations who feed off of taxpayer dollars (e.g., private prisons, weapons manufacturers, LEO equipment manufacturers, big pharma, alcohol)
    – Politicians who feed off of taxpayer dollars
    – Families of all the aforementioned groups
    – Businesses who rely on corporate welfare to protect their property instead of hiring private security
    – Racists and eugenicists who like cops killing black and brown people, and poor and homeless people

    #CowardCops #ACAB
    @Peaceful Streets Projet

  8. They originally weren’t even allowed to vote to minimize their influence over government policies.

    this is what honest government would do.

    1. So no danger of that happe3nign then…

      Just imagine a world where no government employee was allowed to vote or lobby.

      1. I have imagined that since I was a teen. . .
        Since then I have expanded the list to include *anyone* who gets a government check – from the Prez to baby mama. . .

  9. The natural libertarian position would be opposed to the tax parasite government thugs called the police and to side with those individuals who have had their natural and civil rights violated by the violent agents of the state.

  10. In addition to the guiding principles, the police were given blue uniforms to distinguish them from military red. They originally weren’t even allowed to vote to minimize their influence over government policies.

    What a bunch of anti-democratic fascists.

    1. (and since this is a JDT thread, I’ll mention that I’ve been reading It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand the past couple of hours and have been suitably impressed with the Tuccille family wit)

    2. What a bunch of anti-democratic fascists.


      1. Everyone knows that the right to vote is the key to ensuring individual freedom, Free Society.

        I grow weary of reminding libertarians of basic civic principles.

        1. no one makes them feed at the trough. I gave up some civil liberties when I served as part of the deal.

          1. That was sarcasm, homes.

        2. Everyone knows that the right to vote is the key to ensuring individual freedom,


        3. Everyone knows that the right to vote is the key to ensuring individual freedom, Free Society.

          You’re being sarcastic right? I’ll just assume you are.

  11. The anti-cop thing can go a bit overboard. There are some very bad people in jail, due to cops. They do some good work, along with some bad. However, in many ways, the war on drugs, blue laws etc. are the fault of the citizenry. I don’t see a need to abolish completely all police forces, but they need a lot more accountability, and fewer laws to enforce.

    1. Jesus H. Christ, are you aware that licking the boots of Caesar’s centurions pisses the fuck out of Jesus?

      No, there is never anything good that can be said about the state’s coercive caste!

      Don’t be such a fucking slave.

      1. What an ignorant dick. Being so irrational and one sided does nothing for the service of liberty. It just makes you look stupid, which just may be the case. So, go ahead. Keep looking stupid.

        1. No, it would appear that you are playing the role of ignorant dick.

          Cops do not make or produce anything. They are parasites who derive their income, including all of their bennies, from violence. They do not practice peaceful and voluntary exchange. You may not like this characterization, but it is manifestly the truth and no amount of linguistic legerdemain change that.

          How does forcibly taking the property of others in order to finance a policing monopoly square with the NAP?

          You are not more credible because you make some general assertion that the police do “some good work”. Even if some individual cops do “some good work”, so what? If a cop fails, even once, to go public with his observations of fellow officers initiating aggression, beating, choking, kicking, punching, shooting or tazing another person or their canine friends, whether such incidents are occasioned by drug raids, botched or otherwise, reports of a child who has drawn pictures of guns, stopping and frisking individuals or otherwise interfering with the right of such individuals to travel without being molested by the state’s thugs or the service of warrants.the service of a warrant, it does not matter what else he may have done that could plausibly be described as “some good work”.

          Stop being an apologist for scummy leeches feeding at the public trough.

          1. “Cops do not make or produce anything.”

            Yes, but they do destroy things. When the things in question have negative value, this is a benefit.

          2. Criminals do not make or produce anything. They are parasites who derive their income, including all of their bennies, from violence. They do not practice peaceful and voluntary exchange. Without an organized police force to counter them, criminals would have free-reign and would rarely if ever be caught. You may not like this characterization, but it is manifestly the truth and no amount of linguistic legerdemain changes that.

            BTW, half of the people in this country don’t produce a fucking thing.

      2. Ceasar’s Centurions wore sandals not boots.

    2. If some cops “do some good work” then why aren’t they (1) arresting or killing the cops they see committing violent and/or felony crimes, and (2) speaking out about the endemic corruption and violence of a criminal thin blue line?

      1. That’s why I said “some good work” and not “all good work”. There are people who need to be behind bars, or do you disagree with the NAP? There are murderers, robbers, rapists, thieves etc. in jail due to the work of police. I’m glad those people are off the streets.

        I am very unhappy with all the other crap, the blue line, corruption, militarization, entitlement, lack of accountability, the whole nine yards. I’m depressed by the daily nutpunches as much as anyone. I will probably be saddened for a very long time over the mass child molestation that took place in England and how every institution charged with protecting those children failed them miserably, especially the police.

        That does not erase the fact that there is still some good work done by them, and I’m not sure how that work would get done without a police force of some kind.

        1. Jesus H. Christ|8.28.14 @ 6:01PM
          “….and I’m not sure how that work would get done without a police force of some kind.”

          So what you are saying is that you have no fucking imagination and you are limited. And you called someone ignant.

          1. What would you suggest as an alternative?

            1. Why should any person be forced to finance the services of a monopoly he does not want and knows is replete with thugs who are not obligated to supply such services to him?

            2. Thief takers.

              1. A few minutes of reading on this and it sounds like a thoroughly unsatisfactory method of dealing with crime.

            3. Bounty hunters.

        2. And where were the parents of these children in England.

          I read several different pieces about that in total disbelief.

          How do so many kids get “groomed” for sex under their collective families noses ?


    3. I agree. Far fewer laws will result in far fewer enforcement mechanisms. It has long been conservative dogma that if you just starve the budget of these things, they will die a natural death. That’s backwards. Cops are typically the good guys, charged with doing a bs job. Get rid of 90 percent of laws, suddenly the police force will look like the guys in the white hats again.

      1. The war on drugs, the excessive number of laws, and the lack of accountability all combine to make a toxic police force. The accountability problem may be the worst, as this makes police work more attractive to thugs and psychopaths.

        1. Exactly. When they asked domestic violence perpetrators what professions they would prefer, they listed them in this order: prison guard, police officer, and pastor. Painful, right?

        2. Yet, in all honesty, you are ignoring a giant problem we would create in libertarian utopia…what the heck would television be about?

          1. Yeah, I watch very little TV.

            1. This explains our ignorant libertarian viewpoints: we read books.

          2. Vampires or zombies.

          3. “Yet, in all honesty, you are ignoring a giant problem we would create in libertarian utopia…what the heck would television be about?”

            It would be about a libertarian utopia that was destroyed by a stronger, more organized force like maybe Peru or North Korea, or the National Cattlemen’s Association.

      2. Of course, it goes without saying, get rid of 90 percent of those laws and you could cut the police staffing substantially.

  12. Only 7 percent of SWAT uses compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union involved a “hostage, barricade, or active shooter”?79 percent were to serve search warrants.

    To a man with a SWAT team, all search warrants look like hostage situations.

    1. Don’t forget that that kid playing video games from this morning was part of the 7 percent.

  13. Funny how privatized police are usually a staple of Dystopian fiction. Right now, I’d take OCP over what we have.

  14. This was a decent article with a stupid headline (and about 85% scary comments). If you want real change, it doesn’t make sense to overstate the point. Cops serve a valuable purpose and do it about as well as your typical civil servant, although wearing a uniform, carrying a gun and badge, and having authority can attract some of the wrong element. Focus on all the things that make the justice system abhorrent, e.g. forfeiture, drug laws, militarization, lack of dashboard and body cameras on cops, inability to fire bad cops because of public employee union contracts, documented cases of police brutality or poor judgement or criminality, full retirement at 42, the list of valid and sympathetic targets goes on and on. Make it a general attack on cops and you risk looking like a cop-hating idiot and achieving nothing but marginalization.

    1. achieving nothing but marginalization

      You’re new here, aren’t you?

      Seriously, though, how much of what cops do involves stopping or apprehending murderers, rapists, and thieves? I’d be amazed if it reached 10% in most places.

      1. mostly they are there to prevent drunk people from getting out of hand and hurting themselves or others and keep junkies from breaking into cars and houses to steal stuff and calling the wrecker and the ambulance when there is a collision and breaking up fights between spouses…strangely, all of this can be done highly effectively without swat teams or military vehicles, although wearing cameras does seem to reduce the verbal and physical abuse required to achieve the objective

    2. Exactly right. I was going to say JD has posted some really ignorant articles here in the past, but this one tops the list. Taking real criticisms of modern policing and extending it to “let’s do away with them” is truly sophomoric. And you’re right…he clearly found his audience here.

      1. So it’s “sophomoric” to discuss possible changes to society and government? We’re just supposed to tinker around the edges and say things like “Well, maybe if we had an ombudsman with more independence…”?

        The police are not a fact of nature – I would guess that 90% of all humans who have ever lived have done so in a society without the equivalent of modern cops – and there’s no reason that they have to exist.

        1. Yeah those 90% had their local neighborhood freindly repressive military to keep them company. Seriously, everyone that says we ought to get rid of police entirely needs to be reminded of how things were before the police existed.
          If you were suspected of breaking the law you were hauled off by the King’s men tossed in the gaol (how they spelled jail back then) which at the time was basically a castle dungeon (in many instances they were a castle dungeon) to await a trial where you would inevitably be found guilty because it was not like you were able to prepare a defense because you were too busy trying to catch rats to eat (prisoners in gaols were expected to have someone else bring them their food and at most would have been given bread and water).
          You could of course be spared all this indignity by “volunteering” to join the army or navy or by pleading guilty and hoping that instead of a hanging you were merely shipped off to Botany bay

  15. Police are still needed to investigate crimes, apprehend suspects, and guard prisons. SWAT is needed for their original purpose (hostage, active shooter, etc) only. As a first line of defense, police will never be there. Proactively searching out crime is normally an overreach. Removing stupid laws and providing citizens with tools for self defense – Liberty 101 – will result in a peaceful community.

  16. “They’ve become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection. That Dutta’s column was actually a response to public outrage over police conduct shows how disconnected policing has become from the people it supposedly serves.”

    Well put. Dutta’s column was a twisted, example of the worst mentality present in cops: “Stop resisting or I’ll kill you.” It’s the same mentality found in wife-beaters, who blame the spouse for “making me hit you.”

    Time for a return to more reasonable policing standards and fewer machine-gun toting lunatics in our streets, whatever uniform they wear.

    1. Day 1 of training, Rule 1: go home at the end of your shift.
      If that is the unwritten rule, how can they claim to put their lives on the line for us?

  17. Very good article. Almost all levels of government are out of control. There is no cohesive theme of service, its agency after agency feeding off the citizens while chugging along on their own political, self serving agendas.
    The gov’t agencies feed off of each other’s power. If one technique is successful for one agency, other agencies will adopt it. Thanks to political appointments radical concepts can be adopted quickly. The LA and NYC police adopt policies and the small departments around the country follow along too. Just like the ALS ice bucket challenge.
    There is far too much government. I rarely see a police officer doing anything more than bringing in revenue and meeting the monthly quota.

    1. And what really gets my goat is NSA attacking TOR and it’s users all the while it is being funded by other agencys of the same government.

      That is when you know Gov is too big and out of control.

  18. Cops for the most part are useless. Everyone should carry guns and deal with their own problems.


    1. Do you have a newsletter I could subscribe to, anonbot?

    2. I agree with this^^^…and if you can’t deal with your own problems (old age, handicapped, Gandhi-esque, or too anxiety-ridden to actually pull the trigger if your life was in grave danger) you can always hire a private gun-slinger.

  19. Part of the problem is that the people who head law enforcement agencies don’t actually have law enforcement experience. They are business managers or lawyers, trying to manage a bunch of overwhelmingly “Type A” personalities. Management is actually the one place where law enforcement agencies need to be militarized. There needs to be strict discipline and no-bullshit consequences for mistakes. There needs to be a UCMJ-like set of rules and laws that hold LEOs and their management to a higher standard. There HAS to be a chain of command with strict oversight, responsibility, and accountability. If an officer shoots the wrong person, him AND his Sergeant pay the consequences; him for fucking up, and his Sergeant for improper training and supervision. Until there is that level of accountability, nothing will change. Extraordinary power requires extraordinary oversight and accountability.

    That said, the idea of not having police at all is like first-grader rocket-ship-box fucking retarded.

    1. True dat.

      The idea of private security and law enforecement is time tested proven unworkable.

      The old west is one example. The rancher with the most money hired the most gunfighter cowboys and ended up with the biggest ranches and the most cattle.

      That’s not NAP as I understand it.

      1. exactly things are bad enough now when cops forget that they work for the people. What do libertarians really think will happen if private security hired by someone else (meaning they don’t even pretend to work for you) starts running the show? Does anyone really think that they will have a greater incentive to not violate the rights of the accused?

        The current problems stem from voters demanding results from the police e.g. the whole “tough on crime” thing. If the police were to be replaced by Private investigators and security (basically the pinkertons) the employers would be even more demanding of results since they are actually spending their own money, so the problem would only be exacerbated.

  20. What if everyone in the USA was a cop?
    That would fix it!

  21. As a long-time libertarian voter, subscriber to Reason, and metropolitan police officer in a city with over one million people, I’m used to the routine ankle-biting and “oh look what that guy did” articles from Reason regarding policing, and it’s good to call out miscreants in the ranks when they show up. I read Reason magazine because it’s the domain of thinkers and writers who look to, well, reason to form their arguments.

    Mr Tuccille drifted from this realm in calling the million-plus front line law enforcement officers of this country “Predators from which the public needs protection”. Quite a statement from a managing editor of a magazine called, well, Reason. So what reasons does this article base the opinion on? I see

    1. Using militarized SWAT teams for search warrants
    2. A poor article by one out of one million officers, Officer Dutta
    3. A StingRay cellphone listening device
    4. Tennessee Highway Patrol’s use of sobriety checkpoints
    5. The discovery that some cops are screw-ups, drunks, and corrupt.

    With that you would think the daily routine of an officer is to check out a Stingray from the property office, go drive the MRAP to someone’s house with a seatbelt warrant and kick down the door, and then skip the rest of the day’s work to go get in a bar fight, and then go write an article about how everyone sucks and I’m always right.

  22. So what solutions are given by Mr Tuccille? I see a reference to Peelian Principles in the last paragraph? and that’s about it. A bit light for a man with a career spent between the military, Peace Corps, and service as a police officer. Wait? I’m not seeing that in his bio. But I do see that his bio includes working in online services, at forgotten dot-coms and orgs, writing a novel, and living what appears to be an idyllic lifestyle in the desert far from the reach of scumbaggery. Oh well, I’m sure he’s as qualified to talk about the working of a police department as a layman would be to walk into a coal mine and tell the foreman about how to properly conduct blasting operations.

    Missing from his analysis is the work that police to that do make them worth the trouble – deterring the carnage of drunk driving, deterring the carnage of collisions that, get ready for this, stem from those pesky minor traffic violations that cops hassle you over (speeding, no use of signal, texting while driving, not stopping at red lights, driving on flat tires, etc), breaking the cycle of domestic abuse, dealing with the downside of the 2nd amendment (school shootings, armed robberies, etc), human trafficking, burglaries, suicidal people, crazy people, homicidal people, theft, financial crimes, sex crimes, and on and on. It’s quite of a body of work to neglect to mention.

  23. The police are the backstop to all of society’s failings ? failed parents, failed schools, failed healthcare, failed families, failed economic conditions, failed relationships? The police don’t write the laws, the people you vote into office do. The police don’t recruit from the legions of angels in heaven, they recruit people like you. And when the pendulum swings too far one way, such as the case with MRAPS and such, police at the end of the day answer to citizens and the MRAPs will someday soon go back to the mothballs.

    1. … police at the end of the day answer to citizens

      What fucking looney tune universe do you reside in? Seriously, have you been raiding the evidence room for the good dope?

      The problem is that the police not only are not accountable, but do not think they even should be accountable. Fuck off and get a clue, (alleged) cop.

      1. You are using the right name. Fool.

  24. In the meantime when I’m not occupied arresting rapists, I will be out trying to help discarded 14 year old girls escape a drugged out mother and a father who puts her on the corner to prostitute for him. I’ll be making drunk driving arrests to keep them from killing you and your family members. I’ll be listening to you tell me that you had a TV stolen and that you don’t know what brand/serial number/color the TV was but you damn well expect me to find it in a city 200 square miles in size ? oh, and that you’re new to the neighborhood so you didn’t think it necessary to lock your door or windows. I’ll be hassling you at a traffic stop to wear your seatbelt and use your turn signal so I don’t have to watch the medical examiner scoop you off the highway piece-by-piece with a snow shovel. I’ll be listening to you tell me that vouchers and privatized security teams like Blackwater, the yellow pickup truck security guards at apartment complexes, and the Wal-Mart loss prevention guys would be so much better than a municipal police department staffed by people who have spent more years keeping the peace than you’ve been alive. I’ll be listening to you say that police don’t create anything, though I would argue that roadways free of drunk drivers don’t come from the comments section of the blog-o-sphere.

    1. Yah, must be gruelling, asking a driver who had two beers after work to blow into a notoriously unreliable device, then seize his car and probably cause him to get fire, b/c you’re all hell-bent to keep those MADD cunts happy.
      /golf clap.

      1. I had my car totalled by a drunk driver once..keeping drunks off the road is a useful public service…unfortunately, the drunk driver in this case, and he was falling down drunk, was an off-duty police lieutenant…reduced to reckless driving and fined $30, over before i took the neck brace off, and of course still on the force

    2. Well said….

    3. Yeah, well, bully for you.

      How many of your brothers in blue have you watched break the law (we’ll even go so far as to say commit a felony) and done nothing? If the answer is greater than zero, fuck off.

      Why are you whining so much that people are down on cops? If you can’t hack it, find another line of work.

    4. You know that what you just posted is bs, and we know that what you just posted is bs. Who, precisely, are you trying to fool with this absurdity that police spend most of their time capturing rapists and DUI offenders?

  25. I don’t think so they are still very very helpful of peoples. I know some are not but not all of them.

  26. I’m always frustrated that libertarians aren’t taken more seriously….then I see a piece like this, where good arguments are cobbled into an overblown dog’s breakfast indicative of a guy in a tinfoil hat and aimed in the wrong direction, and i realize that the right to shoot oneself in the foot is cherished by libertarian and non-libertarian as well.

    1. Libertarians aren’t taken more seriously precisely because of shit like this. Comments like “All cops are bad and should be banned”, or “We should have open borders”, or “All drugs should be legal today” or “We should never attack another country unless they attack us first” demonstrate a serious lack of foresight and planning. It’s almost as if you all purposely ignore the human propensity for violence and “free stuff”.

    2. And by new posters to the forum, as it turns out.

      As I’ve explained to you before, there is no reason why state police forces are needed. None. Even statists would agree that small sheriff departments are far more accountable and less prone to harassment tham police, not to mention massively less expensive.

      Private security, volunteer or professional watch services, and an armed citizenry can more than take care of the problem of property violations without the need for a “public servant” who justifies his six-figure salary by spending the vast majority of his time waiting or, when he’s active, handing out tickets to generate revenue for the state.

      1. “there is no reason why state police forces are needed. None”

        Nonsense. Some of you guys couldn’t “reason” yourselves out of a wet paper bag. Do you seriously think that hundreds-of-thousands of loosely organized, unassociated private security organizations wouldn’t have the same issues on a grander scale, you’re smoking too much weed or something.

    3. It’s pretty obvious that most libertarians are anarchists. When they aren’t drugged out, that is.

  27. Where I live, if you’re the victim of a crime, you’re directed to a website where you have to file your own police report . They’re always available to harass and menace, but never to file a report. In other words… YES, when you crunch the numbers they are much more trouble than they are worth.

  28. Great piece!

    What is scary is that the second amendment has been usurped by the NRA and their owners, the handgun manufacturers. Handguns will not protect us from the new, militarized police. Given the information about the Ferguson police (and others), the second amendment should give me the right to purchase a tank in order to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Furthermore, if the federal government continues in its current oppressive direction, I should be able to purchase jet airplane fighters, aircraft carriers, and missiles in order to protect myself from an oppressive government.

    By the way, I don’t want to own a tank or an aircraft carrier (I don’t even own a gun). But that is where the country/culture is heading if we don’t change current laws and practices. We have a chance to repair ourselves; or we can self-destruct.

    1. Please state exactly how “the second amendment has been usurped by the NRA and their owners”.

      You do have the “right” to purchase a tank, and once you move out of your mother’s basement and get a job, you can find some here:


    2. The frightening thing is that you’re semi-literate enough to know where periods go and to capitalize the first letter of each sentence. Maybe there’s something to be said for the half-million dollars taxpayers wasted on your public education after all.

      A quick thanks to JD for getting all the trolls in one thread and helping us bring our Reasonable filters up to date.

    3. You really are a fool. Maybe you can explain how the NRA has usurped the 2nd amendment. And the gun manufacturer’s don’t “own” the NRA. The members do and there are millions of us.

      The ones attempting to usurp the 2nd amendment are the liberal weenies. And I doubt you even know what the 2nd amendment says.

      Wise up, fool.

  29. This piece has been linked to on some other website, hasn’t it? You can always tell when a bunch of new commenters show up and the tenor changes.

  30. my classmate’s ex-wife makes $63 hourly on the computer . She has been out of a job for five months but last month her income was $15794 just working on the computer for a few hours. read this post here…….
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  31. Let me make a correction:

    “The Tennessee Highway Patrol plans ‘driver’s license, sobriety and seatbelt checkpoints, as well as saturation patrols and bar and tavern checks’ over Labor Day weekend to PAY LOTS AND LOTS OF OVERTIME PAY TO HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICERS TO SUPPLEMENT THEIR INCOMES UNDER THE PRETEXT OF SCARING the public into compliance with a laundry list of rules and regulations.”

  32. Fortunately, the public continues to see through such ridiculous arguments and continues to rate police very highly in terms of respect and professionalism. Reason will give an example of where a mental call turned bad and the police had to shoot, and ignore that this happens in a phenomenally tiny percentage of calls, and is almost always justified. Poll after poll shows overwhelmingly positive review of police actions after-the-fact by the customers we serve. Paranoid fact averse Reasonoids feel free not to call police. Pay is per hour and not per call. We will continue to retain our hero and protector status, while the know nothing do nothing critics, will wank on. Any rational review of statistics as to how police react and respond to all sorts of incidents (citizen filming police and open carriers being two conspicuous exceptions), well result in the conclusion that police do a damn fine job. One thing we can agree on is that all patrol officers should be equipped with body cameras which helps protect good copsfrom bogus complaints and weed out bad cops. Heck, I would purchase one myself if allowed to use it. Credibility matters and personally I’ve got a 100% result when filing assault on an officer or obstruction charges, body cameras would just offer better evidence in such situations and protect citizens from bogus complaint of same. Again whine away reasonoids, the public knows the truth and continues to support us

    1. The public has no idea what sort of characters police are until they actually interact with their “public servants” once or twice. Appealing to the power of propaganda as a sign that you’re doing such a fine, fine job as a public servant is standard self-justification that you see among tax leeches like yourself.

      The rest of your diatribe misses the central point that civil society needs enforcement of property rights and an impartial justice system, not overpaid, public union tax leeches who trample on natural and civil rights with abandon, then act like macho men because us “civilians” have no legal recourse to fight back. What a tough, brave man you turned out to be.

      1. Rubbish. The public knows very well what they get. In addition to observing our actions at calls for service, they do ride-alongs, attend citizen academies, etc. Just on my block, three of my neighbors did a ridealong with me and all said they have that much more respect for what we do after seeing it firsthand. You have plenty of redress against bad cops. Heck I know personally over half a dozen cops who sued the police themselves for Mistreatment, recklessness, civil right violation, etc. One of my friends sued for reckless endangerment after she was seriously injured during a training exercise and won a few hundred thousand dollars. I won’t give the details but I’ve sued as well and won etc. The police in our country are very fair and do a damn good job but there is considerable recourse for people when they don’t

        1. Do us all a favor and disappear for a couple of years again, Dunphy.

      2. OK, Yenrab. It’s pretty obvious that you have a huge axe to grind with the cops. I’m sure it has something to do with your being caught in multiple criminal acts and spending a lot of time in the slammer. Fool.

  33. The author says the police were over the top in Ferguson. I wonder if he has ever lived in a ghetto environment and realizes how dangerous and racist such places are and that being white is like wearing a bulls eye on ones back?

    1. If you want to portray the Ferguson police–the people who were arresting reporters for sitting in McDonalds when they weren’t dressed in riot gear–as victims with a target on their back, you might need to reassess the nature of victimization.

      Did you people ever come to the wrong neighborhood.

    2. The author is a fool. The mob in Ferguson was totally out of control and attacking store owners and cops.

  34. But the police are really nice when someone breaks into your ivory tower.

  35. Most of the comments here are typical of Reasonoids. Rant against the police. Here is a news flash, dummies. Not all cops are thugs and crooks. In fact, those comprise a minority.

    If you fools got your wish we would be living in constant fear of criminals. I didn’t realize Libertarians were anarchists.

    1. yes your fear of crime/terrorism allows you to be manipulated by those that would rule you.

    2. Yes they would be very uncomfortable in a country without police.

  36. Feral pigs put anything with a heartbeat in mortal danger.

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  38. It is true the police spend too much time on drug and prostitution cases.

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