Police Abuse

How Many Law Enforcement Officials Does It Take to Explain Their Legal Privileges?

In Maryland, 15.



Maryland's Public Safety and Policing Work Group, a state panel created in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore earlier this year, is facing some criticism over its upcoming hearings about the state's Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR), one of the oldest such set of laws on the books in the United States, because the panel, made up of state lawmakers, will hear testimony from 15 separate law enforcement officials in defense of their "bill of rights."  

The American Civil Liberties Union says that's unfair, but the chair of the panel says "both sides" will have an equal time to speak so he doesn't see the problem. Via the Baltimore Sun: 

Del. Curt Anderson, the Baltimore Democrat who co-chairs the work group, said the lineup is more about time than the number of people who can speak. 

He said the 15 law enforcement officials — 11 from local Fraternal Order of Police lodges across the state, three from local sheriff's offices and Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop — will have a total of an hour and fifteen minutes to speak. 

The ACLU and other reform advocates "can bring as many people as they want," Anderson said, as long as they keep their testimony to an hour. 

Equal time is only speciously fair to begin with. There is one defense of LEOBR but many avenues of criticism, from the piecemeal to the wholesale. More importantly, the panel's approach to the legal privileges enshrined in the state's LEOBR betrays the fundamental problem with government policy toward policing, namely that police officers are treated by government, because of the political rules and culture surrounding their professions, as another constituency or interest group, and not as servants of the public who should always show deference to their employers and masters. 

Is there a case to be made for Maryland's LEOBR? Sure. After all, one was made in the 70s when police and their advocates convinced the state legislature to pass it. One representative of the police unions should suffice to explain the benefits of the privileges offered by LEOBR, and one representative from the state police or legal department should suffice to explain the legal history of the legislation, its effects, and what might happen if it were repealed. Instead, there will be 15 law enforcement officials testifying, each likely to personalize the LEOBR, talk about its importance to their jobs and to preserving public safety blah blah blah.  

Such input by government employees, sadly, is the norm in the contemporary democracy. In each case it perverts the relationship between the public and its government, helping to incubate a privileged class, made up of government workers, who have a special, beneficial relationship with a government that serves the interests of its employees more than its technical employers. 

h/t Walter Olson

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  1. Such input by government employees, sadly, is the norm in the contemporary democracy

    I’d say that favorable treatment of the enforcer class by the ruling class is pretty much the norm for every kind of government everywhen.

  2. I’m sure the ACLU will also be free to have their members show up armed and in force to fill the gallery during the hearings as well–all in the interest of fairness.

    1. ACLU will also be free to have their members show up armed

      *searches archives for vocal ACLU support of 2nd amendment rights*

      1. Please let us know when you find it !

  3. Donald Trump has a small problem with his Hispanic favorability rating.

    1. Hispanics ? How many of the 1,600 +/- that answered the poll are eligible to vote ? How many are actually going to vote ? 14% claimed to view Trump positively ? Does that mean he gets 14% of the Hispanic vote ? I dunno ?

      Polls can say anything the pollesters want them to say.

      1. Romney pulled, what, like 28% of the hispanic vote? Losing 14% of the hispanic vote in order to rally a huge portion of the R base that doesn’t see any other candidate being super anti-immigrant and may not vote otherwise is actually not a bad political gambit.

        1. People always mention the anti-immigrant right, but what about the rabid Union protectionists? Those fuckers vote and won’t necessarily vote for the Team that wants to bring in more people willing to bust up their union shops and have them move to right to work states.

          Trump has a shitload of support from union workers. I can’t believe it’s not a bigger story than it is.

    2. A month ago in a political meeting I was sec’y of, the voice that spoke up immediately saying of Trump, “He speaks for me!” was that of Ed Ramirez.

  4. servants of the public who should always show deference to their employers and masters.

    Trying to make some pig choke on his afternoon donut?

  5. How Many Law Enforcement Officials Does It Take to Explain Their Legal Privileges?

    The answer is 3. One to break your door down. One to shoot your dog. One to point the gun at your head and tell you that you’re next.

    1. 4. One to disable the cameras of the other three as they prepare for the dynamic entry.

    2. And one to screw in the lightbulb.

  6. So, part of the Bill of Rights of LEO includes their ability to take yours away?

  7. Ok, the poster here named Liam McPoyle, identify yourself! You know what I’m talking about.

  8. Aw, come on!

    You can’t expect enforcers of the law to actually obey the laws that they enforce!

    That’s not fair!

    They are to be obeyed! Not the law!

    1. Rules aren’t for Rulers, they’re for Peasants.

  9. One to hold the ladder, fourteen to remind everyone who much juice police unions have in elections.

  10. Why do they need an hour and fifteen minutes to say Kings Men FYTW?

  11. Here’s a Police Officers’ Bill of Rights for you:

    “Cops have the same rights as any government employee, no more and no less. The cop being interviewed about a shooting where he is potentially a suspect has the same rights as Ms. Harkin the DMV clerk being interviewed about taking bribes.”

    1. what rights do govt employees have that everyone doesnt?

  12. “70sTKTKT ”


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