Privatization

Don't 'Abolish the Police.' Privatize Them.

"A lot of people think that law enforcement must be provided by a [government] monopoly," says economist Edward Stringham. But "there are plenty of private examples of people working to create order and safety in society."

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Instead of "abolish the police" or "defund the police," how about "privatize the police"?

In a June NPR interview, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D–N.Y.) said that "policing is not a marketplace. You can't choose another police force to take care of you to watch over your neighborhood."

In fact, private policing and protection is more common than most people realize, and it's a proven way of making law enforcement more accountable to the communities they're paid to protect.

Economist Edward Stringham, who is president of the American Institute of Economic Research and the author of Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Lifesays that "in history and even in modern times, there are plenty of private examples of people working to create order and safety in society." He points to fully deputized private police departments like those of Harvard, MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Stringham also cites the history of San Francisco during the gold rush, which relied heavily on private policing. The San Francisco Patrol Special Police, for example, were founded in 1847 and are still in operation today.

Another example is the for-profit protection service Detroit Threat Management Centers, which has been operating in the Motor City since 1995. Dale Brown, the company's founder, says that while government police focus on prosecution, his focus is solely on protection.

"We don't police people. We protect them. Police are law enforcement officers," Brown told Reason, "so essentially their task is based on negative metrics, meaning rape, robbery, killing. And of course, most importantly, arresting people for drugs or violence that has already occurred, which is not protection."

Detroit Threat Management Centers provides bodyguards, works with homeowners' associations, and secures precious cargo delivery. But it also runs an educational academy in which graduates volunteer to provide free security to domestic violence victims and other vulnerable individuals who the Detroit city police don't protect.

Stringham points out that one of the main problems with the government's monopoly on policing is a lack of accountability. Brown and his employees, on the other hand, are private citizens who are not only accountable to their clients, they are legally responsible for all of their actions. Brown handles this with video surveillance of all his on-duty employees, extensive training, and an emphasis on nonviolent solutions to threats. And in their 25 years of operation, they've had no lawsuits and no injuries to any of their clients.

When comes to solving our problems with police, Edward Stringham says "we don't need to dream up some abstract ideals and think about how things might be….We can actually look at how private security [and] private policing already exist, draw from best practices and say, 'Look, we do have markets and we can rely more on markets and less on a coercive government monopoly.'" 

Produced by John Osterhoudt.

Photo credit: Private Security on Bike, Lannis Waters/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Defund the Police Sign 1, Elvert Barnes/CC Flickr; Abolish Police Sign, Lorie Shaull/CC Flickr; Defund Redistribute, Jason Hargrove/CC Flickr; ACAB Sign, Elvert Barnes/CC Flickr; Sign on NYPD Car, Peter Burka/CC Flickr; Bernard Public Safety, Jason Lawrence/CC Flickr; Security Guard, John Loo/CC Flickr; Allied Barton, Matthew Hoelscher/CC Flickr; Duke Campus Police, Inventorchris/CC Flickr; Camo Uniforms, Chase Carter/CC Flickr

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  1. Who wants to sign a contract with my private security force, Waffen-SS LLC?

    1. Mizek does.

      1. Then again, Omni Consumer Products, or OCP, has a better ring to it.

        1. They provided way better police service than the Detroit city government ever did.

          1. I’m sure Google or or a Facebook would provide fine policing and would not be progtarded in any way.

            1. If they were progtarded – how would that make them differ from the existing police forces in places like Portland, Seattle, Chicago, etc?

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              2. They would be progtarded nationwide. The makeup of the local electorate would be irrelevant. They would become Zuckerberg’s enforcers.

        2. Yup. Anybody that think privatization of police is good idea should be forced to watch the original RoboCop with Peter Weller. If that is not convincing enough just look at the fiasco of private prisons. Which btw receive govt subsidies.
          Our elected officials are petulant and impotent. Our country is doomed.

          1. Did you even watch that movie?

          2. I really don’t think it’s wise to use a heavily exaggerated movie as the basis for why you should or shouldn’t do something. In my city we have a private security force called Downtown Biz who patrol the streets. They are incredibly effective at keeping the streets safe and yet haven’t had to kill or injure anyone in the decades they’ve been around. They are funded by downtown businesses. You never know how well something will work until you try it. I could see whole neighborhoods collectively funding something like this and getting rid of cops altogether.

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  2. Detroit Threat Management Centers provides bodyguards, works with homeowners’ associations, and secures precious cargo delivery. But it also runs an educational academy in which graduates volunteer to provide free security to domestic violence victims and other vulnerable individuals who the Detroit city police don’t protect.

    So instead of putting criminals in jail and preventing them from being a threat, your solution is for me to just live in fear of those criminals and have body guards and security around everything I do.

    Ah, no thanks. Even if that was a preferable option, what about the people who can’t afford to hire guards? I guess they are just SOL. Edward Stringham can go fuck himself.

    1. Privatized police/courts is what really draws the line between libertarians and anarchists. There is a difference between thinking we need a minimal government and believing we need none.

    2. Good misread and good misunderstanding.

      1. NO it is not. If your claim is that he doesn’t think we should abolish the police just have private security in addition to it, then he has no point. We already have that. You are perfectly free to hire all of the private security you want.

        The only way he has a point is if he advocating replacing police with private security. And if he is doing that, then my point stands.

        I didn’t misunderstand anything. You are just being dishonest here and trying to avoid answering for the obvious implications of the argument. So why don’t you come back when you both understand the argument and are willing to have an honest discussion about it.

        1. You missed this then:

          He points to fully deputized private police departments like those of Harvard, MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

          I bet those police can arrest and detain you. Where’d you get the idea that private police require everyone to have bodyguards?

          1. Hey, you stupid fuck, the private police are the bodyguards.

            Who do you think the private police serve? Only the people with the money to pay them. So what do you think their level of enforcement will be for the people who aren’t able to pay? Pretty much zero…they’ll be left to fend for themselves.

            Goddamn, you’re an idiot,

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    3. Um…The article discusses also “Fully Deputized” police forces which would be more what you are asking for.

      The focus on DTMC was just a unique example of a different type of police force. Notice that they are providing a service that gets protection for people that EVEN THE DETROIT CITY POLICE DON’T PROTECT.

      It is undeniable that there have been plenty of private police forces in the past, and today, as they mention in the article. What is noteworthy is that in an Anarchy, your police force would be something like the Pinkertons or Hessians hired by your local corporate goon. In a minarchy, I imagine it would be like what many small townships do- funding a private force, or in other cases a neighboring city’s force- to do basic police services.

      1. Then what is his point? That police being private arresting you is somehow magically better than government? If they are deputized, they are still government agents. It is just that someone else is paying their salary. So what?

        What he seems to be saying, and he really doesn’t seem to be saying much, is that we should concentrate on security and preventing crime rather than solving it. And that is just saying we shouldn’t worry about bringing criminals to justice. Just live in fear of them and have security everywhere to deter them.

        No, you concentrate on bringing criminals to justice and that way you don’t need to have security on everything.

        1. It would mean that if the community is unhappy with the service they get from one “policing company” they can instead hire a different one. Market competition will force the companies to behave better than the monopolies we have now

          1. It could mean that. But, what makes you think it would be better than what we have? I would submit that the “community” would prefer police that are much nastier than the police we have now.

            I think you make a valid point. But I am dumbfounded that anyone could be dumb enough to think that it would mean anything but even more militarized and nastier police. Remember, if I am paying the police salary, they are not going to be screwing with me. They are going to be screwing with outsiders like you. And most “communities” are not going to give a flying fuck how their private police deal with outsiders just so long as the peace is kept.

            1. “if I am paying the police salary”

              Who exactly do you think is paying the police salary now if not you (and every other taxpayer) Do you think the police have any desire not to screw with taxpayers?

              “They are going to be screwing with outsiders like you.”

              This is already how most police forces behave, they prefer to cite out of towners for minor violations because they are less likely to return just to contest the ticket. But if citations went to the town coffers and not directly to the police budget there would be less impetus to do this.

              You seem to be swinging at every strawman around but can’t mount any response to the actual argument being made

              1. Who exactly do you think is paying the police salary now if not you (and every other taxpayer) Do you think the police have any desire not to screw with taxpayers?

                And the entire point of privatizing them is to make them more responsive to the people who pay their salaries. If they are not going to respect me anymore than the current police do, then what is the point of making them private? The whole point is that the private individuals and organizations pay their salary rather than governments. So, therefore they will be responsive to my desires in ways they are not when paid by the government. So, no, they won’t be screwing with me. And that is the entire point of privatizing them.

                This is already how most police forces behave, they prefer to cite out of towners for minor violations because they are less likely to return just to contest the ticket. But if citations went to the town coffers and not directly to the police budget there would be less impetus to do this.

                So, you admit there is no point to this then. But, no that is not how most police forces behave. Not to the degree I would expect them to behave if I was hiring them. For private police to be any better, you have to assume that people if they could pay for the police with their own money and exert control over the police the way a consumer does over any other project would want a kinder more gentle police. And to that I say, what the fuck kind of retard are you? Most people would want the police to be much nastier than they are today especially if they knew they were safe from being subjected to such nastiness. Why wouldn’t they? It would just make them more safe and what do they care how the police treat outsiders there to rob them or cause other issues?

                These are not straw men. My point is that you are assuming everyone wants kinder police. No. Everyone wants police to be kind to them. They really don’t give a fuck how kind they are to everyone else and especially someone they see as criminals. So, making them privatized and more reflective of public desires will not result in police being better. It will make them much worse.

                1. “Most people would want the police to be much nastier than they are today especially if they knew they were safe from being subjected to such nastiness. Why wouldn’t they? It would just make them more safe and what do they care how the police treat outsiders there to rob them or cause other issues?”

                  See, rich people and stop and frisk in 1990s NYC.

            2. “even more militarized and nastier police”

              We have examples of private police forces, and it seems like they tend not to be nastier and more militarized. If you were representing a consortium of local businesses, would you want customers seeing Federales, Inc with MRAPs and 50 Cals parked at the entrance? Or might you expect your private security force to be more warm and fuzzy?

              Besides, as I said below, a lot of the things we expect from our police could probably be obviated. A major reason we have police is that we have disarmed our public in the cities, and so we have ceded our self defense responsibilities to them.

              1. I might not want them to be as militarized, but I would certainly want them to be nasty in dealing with criminals. Most people would. Most business owners would.

                You guys seem to operate on the assumption that everyone is just like you and thinks everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt and would be willing to take a risk of being the victim of a crime in the name of fairness. It is typical of libertarians. No, most people are not really that interested in fairness and nicety when it comes to crime and their safety.

                And yes, private police are often guilty of all kinds of abuses. If you don’t believe me, go look at amnesty international or any other human rights group website and they will list private security firms as an enormous threat to human rights and civil liberties. Why wouldn’t they be?

                1. “No, most people are not really that interested in fairness and nicety when it comes to crime and their safety.”

                  I think YOU are the one projecting. I mean, I’ll grant that there are a lot of marxists out there marching. But there are also a shit ton of people who explicitly want more fairness and nicety in their police force.

                  When it comes to crimes with victims, how often do you really think that the police are there at the right time to prevent the crime? I don’t know, but I am relatively certain that the vast, vast majority of crimes with a victim, they are there after the fact. Most of a police officer’s time is spent citing people for victimless crimes like drug possession and moving violations or filing reports after being called to the scene of a crime.

                  “And yes, private police are often guilty of all kinds of abuses. If you don’t believe me, go look at amnesty international or any other human rights group website and they will list private security firms as an enormous threat to human rights and civil liberties. Why wouldn’t they be?”

                  I went searching on Amnesty International, and there was nothing about private security firms operating as police in the US- the subject of this discussion. Everything was about the US using private contractors in Iraq or Afghanistan, which is a whole other can of worms.

        2. “Then what is his point? That police being private arresting you is somehow magically better than government? If they are deputized, they are still government agents. It is just that someone else is paying their salary. So what?”

          Two points of mainly agreement: First, haven’t we had a very recent example that, while private policing sounds great, the details are a gigantic bitch to work out. CHAZ managed to kill more black men in 6 weeks than Seattle PD has for most of its existence.

          Second, there’s been no end of complaining in these pages about private prisons, and their (for the US) abhorrent civil rights record. Whether that’s actually the case or not, that’s been the claim. So, given that, they’re floating a trial balloon for privatizing cops?!

          1. Chaz, for all its spectacle, is not an example of a private police force hired by a local community. But, as noted in the article, several colleges and some small townships in fact HAVE had private police forces for years.

            Chaz is an example of what happens when a citizenry tosses out its authorities and then is unwilling to protect itself. A warlord moves in and terrorizes them. That is certainly a danger in Anarchy. Luckily, you can have privatized security without Anarchy.

            1. And those forces are just as guilty of doing bad things as regular cops. They are still cops. Being “private” doesn’t change that.

    4. The private firm would be hired and contracted with by the local government, not individuals, similar to how trash pickup is handled in towns

      1. So, they would be cops by a different name. They still are agents of the state and still are hired by and paid for by the city government. That isn’t what this guy is talking about. He is talking about private individuals and organizations hiring cops and them being deputized.

        1. No, it’s not what he’s talking about. The officers would be employed by a private firm, and that private firm would in turn contract with the local government (like trash pickup, I don’t know how it is in your town but everywhere I’ve lived the garbage man is not a city employee, he works for a company that contracts with the city)

          If you think this interpretation of the article is wrong, I suggest you click the link the San Francisco Patrol Special Police and educate yourself

          1. If the cops are still hired by the city and paid for by the city, there is no difference from them being employees. At best this is just a way to get rid of police unions. Big fucking deal. If the city doesn’t care if its employee cops do bad things now, and you say they don’t, why would they care if their contractor cops do bad things?

            If you think the article means this, then you are admitting the article has no point.

            1. If you are saying that Private Police would be EXACTLY like normal police, except without Unions, then yes. That is a big fucking deal. Because Police Unions and their collusion with politicians to loot the treasury and their protection of serial abusers at the expense of the community are one of the main reasons why people like George Floyd are currently 6 feet beneath the earth.

              So I don’t get what your complaint is…it seems to have gone from “This will never work” to “It will work but not be a cure for all the worlds’ ills.”

          2. I actually contract with the garbage man* directly. There are like 3 or 4 companies that service the area. My trashcans are never thrown all over the place like they were when I lived in Howard County, MD (one of the richest counties in the USA, mind you) where the trash is all public. Don’t know how that relates to privatizing police but thought I’d share.

            *They are licensed by the county so not a perfect libertopia.

    5. But the cops aren’t putting dangerous criminals in jail either.

      They’re putting drug users in jail, stealing their property in the process.

      . . . what about the people who can’t afford to hire guards?

      But it also runs an educational academy in which graduates volunteer to provide free security to domestic violence victims and other vulnerable individuals who the Detroit city police don’t protect.

      Did you not read the post?

      Also, what about the current day police makes you think poor people are being protected by the police?

  3. Well, the age-old problem with the idea of private police forces, is “who watches the watchers”?

      1. I would say a lot of people do. Our police are hardly perfect, but they can be and have been in the past much worse. Having lived in Europe, I would rather deal with the average American cop than the average German or French cop. People think our cops are so terrible but they really have no idea how bad cops in most of the rest of the world are.

        1. And those lot of people would just stop if police were privatized?

        2. You know who doesn’t get to watch them though? The people they’re supposed to be there to protect and serve.

          Those people don’t get a say.

  4. Right no possible way private police would be abusive or have different incentives than government cops in their community. Because they would just get fired and replaced? So in effect why would someone want to work for a private company with no real authority to arrest? In any case I don’t think the outcome is going to be different.

    Also wasn’t this mocked in robocop?

    Reason should work on their message. They have lambasted private prisons in the past.

    1. That is right, when I hire my private police force to patrol my neighborhood, I am going to want them to be all sunshine and roses and never use force or do anything except smile and wave hello to people. I would never want them to be nasty and vicious and do whatever it takes to ensure no criminal ever dreamed of setting foot inside my neighborhood. Nope. I would never want them to racially profile or harass people who are in the neighborhood without any real reason or anything.

      How it never occurs to reason that people would expect their private cops to be much nastier than the police are is beyond me. I can’t comprehend being that far removed from reality.

      1. Still swinging at that straw man, eh?

        If that were what would being proposed why would anything need to be proposed? Gated communities already hire private security and nothing is stopping you from doing the same right now

      2. Exactly. Also, if I had to hire my own private police, I can guarantee that my willingness to extend their enforcement duties to anyone beyond me and the other people who paid is going to be zero. Because I’ll also be on the hook for their liability too.

        Seriously, if the deadbeat neighbor who doesn’t chip in has someone break into his house and attack him and his family, my directive to my security guard will be “Do not get involved, because if you screw up we’re going to be paying for the premium hike”. Same with any other number of crimes…if it doesn’t affect the people paying for the private police, then fuck those people. They are someone else’s responsiblity.

        And that will be the prevailing attitude, which is why privatizing all police is a stupid idea advanced by stupid people who can’t think beyond the first stage of any problem.

    2. “Also wasn’t this mocked in robocop?”

      If you think Verhoven is in any way qualified to accurately comment on social policy, you are crazy.

      “They have lambasted private prisons in the past.”

      I do not think this is a view commonly attributed to Reason. Usually Reason lambasts the entire Prison industrial complex as a whole. I don’t think they save special opprobrium for private prisons, so much as our country’s propensity for throwing so many people in jail.

      1. Yeah but Sean Penn was totes right on socialism being the bees knees.

      2. Verhoeven is better qualified to comment on social policy than most of the current Reason progs.

    3. Actually, it wasn’t mocked in Robocop. Robocop is not a satire – though there are satirical elements.

      Both Robocop and Robocop 2 show the OCP-funded police force as being effective – more effective than the DPD ever was.

      1. I’ll buy that for a dollar!

      2. It was effective for the people who could afford to pay for it. For everyone else, it turned their world into a crime-ridden hell.

        1. And the DPD was ineffective *for everybody*.

          So the OCP-funded police were still better.

  5. It’s noteworthy that the vast majority of us don’t really even need police. What we need are sheriffs empowered with the ability to hold people accountable for crimes- with deputization powers of course. For what we consider “Police Work” there are varying levels of need.

    Today, we cannot imagine a world without police merely because we use them to stand in for various other remedies. We want police so we can send someone to bang on our neighbors’ door when they are up late, or to serve citations for unmowed lawns. Even if we felt that this DID require the force of law to deal with, we don’t need the police.

    Even when it comes to being a first responder, I respect police but don’t necessarily see them as the best case for the job. I’ve waited on hold for 5 minutes and then waited for police to show up 10 minutes later for a breaking and entering case (neighbor). Is that really the best service we can imagine?

    My Step Dad was telling me how it wasn’t uncommon to see men packing gun belts when he came back from *Vietnam* in Colorado Springs. As recently as the 60s, it was just expected in these mountain towns that the public kept order. However, over time, the cities have disarmed the public and as a result, we need “Police” to help keep the peace.

    I am not saying I want the days of the wild west again. But I am saying that there are a lot of things that the police do that they do not need to do.

    1. Don’t rattle your spurs in my town, cowboy!

    2. Yeah, just look at Portland where people are trying to kick an occupying army out of their city. They should have more guns, I certainly agree!

      1. Well, the people in Portland voluntarily threw down their guns so tyranny overtook them.

        Which is why as long as people like you exist the rest of us aren’t giving up ours.

      2. Antifa isn’t an occupying army you half wit. They are a bunch of losers that the local authorities are allowing to play like they are an occupying army.

        But yeah, the need to go and the cops need to do something about it. You are right about that. But they are not an occupying army.

        1. As was the case in Iraq, John, you Army thugs are too stupid to understand the antipathy that government thugs inspire in the people they are terrorizing.

          1. “As was the case in Iraq, John, you Army thugs are too stupid to understand the antipathy that government thugs inspire in the people they are terrorizing.”

            And as a lefty piece of shit, you are too stupid to bother with anything like a cite.

          2. I look forward to watching a lumpenprole like yourself get shipped off to a labor camp because the socialists know just as well as we do what a worthless piece of shit you are, and they’re not interested in having you in their society either.

      3. “Yeah, just look at Portland where people are trying to kick an occupying army out of their city.”

        Yep, the Little Rock folks tried to do the same, right, you piece of lefty shit?

    3. One issue, the mentally ill, the retarded, the elderly, and the young. There are members of our society that aren’t capable of looking out for themselves yet/anymore/ever, and its not moral to let other people take advantage of them for something that’s not their fault.

      If we can’t send police to bang on our neighbors doors for crimes that don’t personally harm us, it becomes real hard to protect the kid getting raped by mom’s boyfriend. Mom doesn’t give a shit and won’t call the police, boyfriend won’t call the police on himself, and kids to scared/young to understand that there is a way out.

      1. Why aren’t you getting involved? Why does everything have to be mediated by the state?

        1. Because when he get’s involved, what is he going to do about it other than shoot the mom and the step father? The state get’s involved because you don’t want him to be involved.

          Why can’t you idiots ever understand that.

          1. Because when he get’s involved, what is he going to do about it other than shoot the mom and the step father?

            What do you think the state does?

        2. How exactly would I get involved? Physical confrontation? I’m a cripple, a 6 year old could take me on in a fight and win. Oooo, maybe your suggesting I hire someone to do something for me. Of course this person would be answerable only to me and anyone willing to hire enough muscle to take them on, which of course will never result in exchanging paying taxes for a police force to paying the local mob/gang protection money. Because its not like we don’t have real world examples of what happens specifically in American when people can’t rely on local police.

          I’m a libertarian. The government is here to protect both my rights and the rights of other citizens. This is what separates me from an anarchist. I believe and real world data shows, that if you do not have an overarching government that can be relied on by ordinary citizens to protect their lives and properties, the private replacements will be local criminal who will happily teach you a very violent lesson if you don’t pay them.

          Small minuscule communities can do voluntary pay for a private defense, but it has never scaled up in real life. If you don’t understand how that concept works, just substitute small scale communes and communism. Small groups can work together on a purely voluntary basis without anyone trying to violate anyone else’s rights. Big groups start having tribalism kick in and can’t.

    4. It’s noteworthy that the vast majority of us don’t really even need police. What we need are sheriffs empowered with the ability to hold people accountable for crimes- with deputization powers of course. For what we consider “Police Work” there are varying levels of need.

      That’s not a bad idea.

      Where I live venues hire private security to police the venue. That security deals with maintaining order and apprehending criminals in that venue. Then the police are called to come in, take statements, and cart the accused off to the criminal justice system. Even in the city you rarely see a cop, out in the county I think I see Border Patrol more than sheriff’s deputies.

      Privatized police doesn’t have to mean ‘defund the police’. It can mean shifting police to work a core mission while others take up missions we’ve, over time, tossed into the lap of the local Sheriff/CoP. Things like dealing with mental health issues all the way to animal control.

      Cops that might be great to have on the front line against violent criminals might not have the temperament to deal with a dude on a bad trip or off his meds – let alone have the patience to deal with a loose dog appropriately.

      1. I’ve seen examples of this, Agammamon. Are your security personnel off-duty cops?

        1. Like Derek Chauvin…

        2. Not really. There are some but Arizona doesn’t really have the ‘law enforcement officer enrichment program’ laws that a lot of other places have that mandate hiring off-duty LEO’s.

          When we require cops to be present we generally require them to be on-duty and in-uniform – hence the single cop car you see sitting on the edge of a construction zone with a cop asleep in it.

    5. I think it’s a debate worth having. As someone who’s against ‘abolishing the police’ (and I’ll get into my part with libertarianism on privatizing them later) I think that there’s an argument for reducing the need for continuous contacts and interventions where if the illegal tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, it might not make a noise.

      To be more clear, we libertarians have been 100% correct in that the impetus for a lot of negative police interactions start with a drug or contraband stop. If police were literally not allowed to pull you over for anything but speeding or overt reckless driving (to give one narrow set of examples) then a lot of need for armed police drops precipitously.

      1. Absolutely. The Drug War has not only led to the erosion of all of our rights but has led to too many unnecessary police stops, which then too often escalate into something tragic.

    6. But I am saying that there are a lot of things that the police do that they do not need to do.

      That is exactly right. And that is what is meant, for the most part, by the “defund the police” slogan (which is a terrible slogan IMO).

      The police should not be society’s all-purpose problem solvers. They aren’t trained for that. But, if we really want them to be society’s all-purpose problem solvers, then they need a LOT more training and a LOT more restrictions on when to use force.

      Frankly I think it just makes a lot more sense to divide up the “first responder” duties into a bunch of specialized teams who are trained to deal with a bunch of different issues. We already have that to an extent, with the difference between ‘patrol cops’ and ‘investigators’. We could have a mental health team who deals with mentally ill people who are causing a disturbance and/or are a danger to themselves or others. You *might* need a guy with a gun in those situations, but a lot of the time you don’t, you need a mental health counselor to literally talk the guy off the ledge. We could have a social work team – if the cops are continually being called to a certain address for some reason or another, maybe the next time the cops are called, send the social work team to see if there are some underlying issues that could be addressed so that the cops’ intervention wouldn’t be required yet again. Things of that nature.

      1. And that is what is meant, for the most part, by the “defund the police” slogan (which is a terrible slogan IMO).

        No, it isn’t. That’s the motte-and-bailey that Leftists love so much – say one thing and when challenged on it, retreat to a more innocuous definition, only to sally forth once you’ve moved your attention elsewhere.

        The people who started the whole ‘defund the police’ thing were clear – and are clear – that they mean no more public cops. Other enablers, like John Oliver, have run cover by providing a ‘more reasonable’ definition.

        ‘Defund the police’ doesn’t have to mean ‘no cops’ – but to the people demanding the police being defunded, no cops is what they want.

    7. The “wild west” wasn’t nearly as wild as Hollywood makes it out to be.

  6. Stringham is irrefutably correct, if the real purpose of police was to protect and serve citizens. The catch is that the real purpose of police is to protect and serve government. They exist to collect and maximize taxes and fees and to protect themselves and the rest of government from any of us that object to the imposition of and collection of those taxes and fees or the oppression they to coerce us from being free citizens to enslaved producers of maximized taxes and fees.

    “Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators, and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class.” ~ Albert Jay Nock

    1. Why did the government ever do away with old-fashioned lynch mobs?

      1. They didn’t want the competition.

        1. Yep, a monopoly of coercion is the most basic and concise definition of a government.

      2. They brought them back in Portland and Seattle.

  7. Speaking of the policearmed thugs…

    protesters whisked into unmarked van by federal troops

    Where is Timothy McVeigh when you need him?

    1. “…protesters whisked into unmarked van by federal troops…”

      Where’s a cite from a lefty shitstain when you need one?

  8. Oh, HELL NO!!! Look what egregious abuses and corruption proliferate in privatized prisons and probation services! This is an arena where profit interest has NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER INTRUDING INTO!!!

    1. Think of the fun when your police shoot my dog, and then my police shoot your police for shooting my dog, and then the guy next door has his police shoot my police for noise violations.

      1. OK, so the federal joint anti-drug task force guys won’t see much difference, but what about the rest of law enforcement?

      2. If your police shoot my dog, my police will shoot you, your police, your wife, your kids, your brothers and sisters, your parents, your college roommate, and your favorite musician.
        Going all John Wick on that bitch.
        But we will not shoot your dog(s). They I will adopt

        1. So it still comes down to who can afford the most police?

    2. Profit motive has no business intruding into?

      Civil

      Asset

      Forfeiture.

      Tons of small towns fund their local government through fines.

      That horse left the barn and the barn burned down years ago.

  9. who covers malpractice?

    1. Medicare for all, of course.

    2. The Insurance Fairy that covers intentional torts. For a profession that is guaranteed to have a pissed off customer during damned near every interaction.

    3. Insurance or bonding – just like it does for private practioners of all sorts.

  10. In a way they’re the same thing. If you defund the city police, the big retailers, big office building, condominiums and rentals would engage security services to augment their staff. The city might even pass a law to require Dollar Stores, Bars, etc. to have armed guards on premises (it’s been discussed, even now). Secure shopping centers and guarded residential areas would become more common. Some things are automatic.

  11. He points to fully deputized private police departments like those of Harvard, MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

    Oberlin College, Berkley… veritable utopias of private policing!

    Just look at how well they’ve done with Title IX!

  12. Don’t privatize them. The problem is the wars on drugs and weapons and now human trafficking. We just need to decriminalize and then slowly reduce funding for the police. This will force them to prioritize and they will have less opportunity to get into trouble. The fact is they are well trained and professional and do a great job and don’t need to be reformed. At the same time, the people are civilized and responsible and don’t need to be patrolled and controlled as much as we used to. We should acknowledge and celebrate our progress. The goal of humanity is to live without police or government. We’re getting close. Let’s not forget what it means to be libertarian.

  13. I think stretching from private bodyguards and protection to private policing is a pretty big stretch. More emphasis on the private bodyguards – sure.

    But for actual police work, that represents the congealed ability of society to do violence to members of society (under tightly defined circumstances). Society needs to be directly responsible for that – it can’t be outsourced.

    And how do you pay for actual privatized police, as opposed to bodyguards? Do they get a slice of the tickets they write, and the fines they issue? How about the civil asset forfeitures – do they get those too? Private police sounds way too close to criminal protection rackets with the blessing of society for who does the ‘protecting’.

    Fix the other problems with policing, which are well documented here, using frequently obvious solutions (end qualified immunity, hold law enforcement officers to a high ethical standard rather than “you didn’t get convicted”, end to civil asset forfeiture, let police unions use their own dues collection to pay full time union bosses if that’s what they want, rather than putting union bosses onto the public payroll, etc..).

    1. How do you pay for them now?

      How do you pay for anything?

    2. How about the civil asset forfeitures –

      Those wouldn’t exist. They are horribly immoral and a not insignificant cause for why police departments are the way they are.

    3. Private police sounds way too close to criminal protection rackets with the blessing of society for who does the ‘protecting’.

      Look up ‘stationary bandit’. The only difference between a stationary bandit and a government is that the bandit *knows* what he’s doing.

      1. So do those in government, even if they will never publicly admit so – maybe not even to themselves in the mirror.

        Receiving government pay and benefits is receiving stolen property.

  14. A “private police force” would still need the legal authority from the state to use violence in order to make arrests. There’s just no way getting around that. Not sure how this would work.

    Hey, doesn’t CHAZ have its own private police enforcement. How’s that working out for them.

    1. There were one or two hiccups

    2. Ironically – no.

      What CHAZ had was a police force under the tiny little, ineffectual, government they had. Pretending it was an anarchy . . .

      1. So it was really a failed minarchist experiment, not a failed anarchist experiment.

        Well, that’s one way to save face.

  15. My cops can beat up your cops.

  16. Privatize everything.
    Should a product or service be provided on a compulsory basis?
    If government services were valuable and the market wanted them, would they be provided on a compulsory basis?
    If I did business in the same manner as government does, and forced strangers to give me money, would you consider me a criminal?
    If government were by consent, would taxes be compulsory?

    1. How does the infant child of poor and neglectful parents get to participate in the market in order to buy her rights?

  17. Privatizing police is the same thing as abolishing it.

  18. The public is not served by granting a monopoly on violence. That was never practical, never will be, and reform is not possible.
    Private policing works. It’s the only policing that works. Why? Because they have no monopoly on morality. They are judged like any businesspersons, by us, like us. They are not feared because they are subject to the same restraints as everyone else, unlike the govt. LEOs who enjoy “qualified immunity”. That is obscene. And LEOs love it, along with Civil Asset Forfeiture (theft). They demonstrate the mentality of superiority, just as the Nazis did.

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  19. Privatized law enforcement might be number one on WatchMojo’s list of “Top 10 Worst Ideas of Anarcho-Capitalism”.

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  20. If this were to happen, the private police would do the bidding of the people who pay them and can fire them. That would not be “law enforcement.” It would institutionalize allowing the rich to step on the necks of everybody else even more than they do now. This would be a step in the wrong direction. I don’t want the Bloomberg thugs making war against the Trump thugs, with the rest of us as casualties. I do not want Epstein police protecting him from justice, or Trump police enforcing his right to continue to commit business frauds. The real police should be made more accountable, and more subject to the same laws as the rest of us. Private police will have much, much less accountability than the real police, and will expand tyranny in our land.

  21. “It’s a proven way of making law enforcement more accountable to the communities they’re paid to protect.”

    What are the chances we end up with a bunch of George Zimmermans running around?

    1. Are you saying the cops are not that?

    2. What’s your problem with George Zimmerman?

  22. “Stop for profit / corporate police”

    Mob burns down cities, local governments terminate contact with private cops and charge them with crimes.

    Any other ideas?

    Fun fact – without some liability protection, private security companies will never agree to any contract with American cities.

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