One thing that weirds me out is that there seems to be a consensus among BBS commenters that the police should basically be disbanded, that civilization is better off without any police at all? Do we also have that feeling for firefighters, librarians, judges, and other essential roles that I view as the cornerstones of basic civilization?
Not at all. We need police, but we need accountable police.
My grandfather was a cop in Cleveland for a little while. I recently learned that the reason he quit and later became a mail carrier is because he was disgusted by the systemic corruption within the department.
The current state of affairs is such that the job attracts many of the wrong people and repels many of the people we SHOULD want keeping us safe.
And if the choice is between accountable police, or no police, you’d choose the latter?
I find that an unacceptable and false dichotomy. It’s like saying “would you rather have Nazi doctors or no doctors at all?”
ETA: I initially read this comment as “And if the choice is between unaccountable police, or no police, you’d choose the latter?” So either I misread what you typed or the post was edited shortly after.
My point being, we shouldn’t have to choose between unaccountable police or no police at all because both of those are untenable. Obviously my choice would be “accountable police,” as I’ve already stated.
You better start with the numbers, because I do not see this at all. (Maybe in another thread, since it could easily derail the real point here.)
Do firefighters, librarians, judges, and other essential roles walk the streets with guns, kill people, and are never even charged with a crime when they fuck up and kill someone wantonly?
I think your comparison is unacceptable, going straight for Godwin’s Law right out of the gate?
What level of so-called accountability is acceptable, and who gets to define it? And at what point is civilization better off with no police versus “insufficiently accountable” police?
or no nazis at all?
I suppose the answer would be “when you’re more likely to be killed by a police officer than to be saved by one.” Which is sadly the case for many (though thankfully not all) Americans.
Even so, very few people are seriously advocating for the “no police at all” solution.
It’s getting safer to be a police-person:
There are also more police-people:
How many police-people are killing people?
How many people are killed by police?
It’s a simple and important question, but, until this year, the shocking answer was “we have no idea.” There is no central authority systematically keeping track of killings by law enforcement, and police in most states are not required to report the use of lethal force to anyone.
Well, that’s a problem, but:
The FBI’s annual crime report does keep track of homicides reported by police as justified killings by police. As defined by the FBI, “justifiable homicide by law enforcement” means “the killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.” From 2000 to 2014, the FBI reported an average of 390 justifiable homicides by police each year, with a very slight (but erratic) upward trend.
The US should reform the police. Start here and try to do a better job of it than Britain.
It depresses me that it won’t happen though. That and Theresa May trying to abolish the concept here.
I think the absolute #1 thing we could do to reform the American police is stop using lethal force as our first option. Basically don’t carry a gun, only strap the gun on when you’re going to some place that there are already guns in active use.
That way, the mistakes police inevitably make would no longer be lethal mistakes. In my opinion, this would have a HUGE positive effect almost immediately.
My hometown tried to combine the PD and FD a couple years ago, but it was decided that people might not be so nice to the FD afterwards.
Disbanded is too extreme.
Entirely re-formed with non LEO and non LEO union oversight at all levels is probably enough.
(i’d say civilian oversight, but that would only feed the myth that LEO aren’t civilians. Don’t let the ‘playing army’ gear fool ya, they’re civilians to the person)
That’s pretty much everywhere in the US, though. 2nd Amendment etc…
What they -can- do is train officers to de-escalate, as opposed to currently when they are trained to escalate situations to remain in “full control” - and violence is pre-authorized for them to maintain that entirely subjective condition.
By definition, a felon has been convicted.
Seems to be a lot of judges and juries in squad cars these days.
It is completely nuts that
There is no central authority systematically keeping track of killings by law enforcement, and police in most states are not required to report the use of lethal force to anyone.
And that should also be job zero to fix! If we don’t record the data how do we even know?
Police: Yes. As currently constituted they do measurably more harm than good, and it appears to be impossible to reform them. This country allows citizen defense and private investigation, so we should get rid of police who do these jobs very poorly and corruptly.
Firefighters: No. There have been many problems in other cultures and other times but currently our firefighters are (overall) beneficial.
Judges: No. A judge shouldn’t be able to convict; that role should be reserved for juries. But judges are essential to the management of courtrooms and legal proceedings.
Librarians: Emphatically NO. Because I see no down side to the support of equal access to history and knowledge, and because they have demonstrated willingness to stand up to injustice.
I’m not sure I can support that idea. Americans who take it upon themselves to conduct “citizen policing” don’t exactly have a great track record either. (Cough Zimmerman cough cough)
If we do record the data, how do we make it to work without being pulled over and shot and blamed for it?
I wish that were sarcastic on top of my obvious cynicism.
They actually seem to be getting -more- respect the last 10 years or so.