Needed Reform of Law Enforcement

It is sadly not a shock that Trump called for police to assault suspects this week.  Due process, presumption of innocence, basic rights of the accused mean nothing to a fascist like him.  One can only hope when all the evidence of his numerous crimes is piled up, he will receive only the rights he has fought to protect.  But this is only the tip of a very disturbing iceberg shown by the fact that the police who were in attendance, applauded to this Gestapo-esque call for the beating of the accused.

So in amongst the growing number of questionable actions of police between the entirely unconstitutional civil forfeiture programs, a string of very questionable shootings (in amongst some justifiable ones and a few others a reasonable person could not make a clear decision from the information the press has provided—cops are often more than justified in protecting themselves, it’s just there have been too many incidents lately where they don’t seem to be).  But this last week we saw police shoot someone who only reported a crime shot by police who seemed to have turned off their body cameras and car camera (or at least not ever turned them on) mixed with the Justice Department stating they would seek an expansion of civil forfeiture it’s time to not just say this is enough (that time was years ago when civil forfeiture was used against innocent citizens and the Philandro Castile incident showed cops were treating Second Amendment rights as a crime) but that there needs to be immediate and systemic reform.

To listen to the side supporting the police at all times you would think that cops are being attacked left and right.  But, just an observation…If you go and look at the data here, the last six years have seen less than 150 police officer deaths a year.  The last time you had even two straight years of that was 1963.  If you adjust for population, you haven’t had this few officer deaths per capita since the 1880′s.  

copdeaths

So lowest crime rate in decades.  Fewest police deaths in a very long time.

So why are cops acting so goddamn paranoid and as if everybody is out to kill them?  A lot of these officer involved shootings probably boil down to paranoia + misinterpreting what is going on around them leading to happy trigger fingers. But why?  Why the paranoia?  It’s a shitload safer now than it has been in generations.  And they’re acting like it is fucking Mad Max out there.  I’d like to be on the side of the police but between this and the organized crime racket known as civil forfeiture they have going on, it’s making it kind of a hard sell. I’ll admit maybe the numbers are skewed because better medical care and kevlar vests are dropping the number of deaths, versus shootings, but you’d think if that were the case police would come out with that data to show they’re the victims here.

And who knows it maybe that the media is blowing death by cop out of proportion, maybe cop shootings are actually down…but as everyone agrees there is no good data on this.  And who is to blame for this problem? Police departments not agreeing to report data on police shootings!  So, either they’re too stupid to know that if they got together and published the data it would exonerate them as the victims of media hype or it would show what we’re seeing that cops have become all too trigger happy…either way the police have no one to blame but themselves.  Either way not exactly the kind of behavior we would expect from the people we hire to be the adults in the room for any situation.  

And if you want to talk about how police feel attacked regardless of data, then it is just as valid to talk about how people feel they are being attacked by police.  If you want to go only on the limited data we have, then police are unjustified. If you want to talk about feelings, then guess what, everyone is uncomfortable with this situation, but as the police are the ones who are paid to be the adults in the room it is their responsibility to at least make the first steps to resolving this, which again they don’t seem to want to do.  And as the Salt Lake City Police have gone several years without killing anyone due in great part to their retraining of the police force in de-escalation tactics, it again suggests that the problem is the police being trigger happy and not properly trained instead of the idea that there is a war on the police.

 

But this is a problem that won’t go away with just training in de-escalation (although that is probably something EVERY SINGLE police, sheriff, highway patrol and law enforcement office in the nation needs to do IMMEDIATELY).  But that won’t be enough and there is no agreed upon list of reforms that we need to engage in to solve the rest of the issues we’re having…and those that have suggested reforms are often situations that are just asking for problems. On one side of the spectrum you have the ultra conservatives basically denying that there is any problem and on the other side you have idiots like Black Lives Matters which has released several versions of demands ranging from outright insane to just mostly stupid. But mostly stupid is the only starting place we have to work with so let’s go over why their options are mostly stupid.

stupidsuggestions

At best most of these are only half right.

End Broken Windows policing.  It tells you exactly why liberals are idiots when their first suggestion is just asking for more crime.  And, some people wonder why there is no intelligent opposition to the idiocy that is Trump—because his main opposition is just as stupid.

Broken windows policing, the idea that if you have the police make an effort to focus on small infractions (like citing people for having a broken window or jaywalking) it prevents things from getting even worse as there is no longer the implied social acceptance of crime even in the small things.

As has been shown, broken window’s policing does work in reducing major crime.  It simply does. 

But let’s deal with the reason why people hate broken window’s policing and maybe we can find the real reason why idiot liberals think it’s a problem.

It’s illegal to grow a garden in your front yard.  It’s illegal to put out signs for your business.  It’s illegal to braid hair without a license.  It’s illegal for a child to sell lemonade on their front lawn.  Using loose leaf tea is apparently a crime to police in Kansas (http://reason.com/blog/2017/07/25/appeals-court-rebukes-kansas-cops-for-po).  Police act like it’s illegal to film them.  http://reason.com/blog/2017/03/10/cops-tell-uber-driver-attorney-film   Police harass people for their Constitutional 2nd Amendment rights (and in the Castile incident police shoot you for exercising that right).   It’s illegal to basically engage in capitalism in a lot of places.  There are simply too many damn laws.  Far too many.  There are laws like loitering, jay walking and panhandling that should be enforced to ensure that larger crimes don’t spring up…but there are far too many laws making living a crime.  Don’t stop the effectiveness of broken windows policing…stop the enforcement of laws that in no way, shape, or form contribute to an environment that allows crime to flourish.  And stop cops that don’t actually know the law…and if there are too many laws for cops to remember then you need to cut the number of laws. Federal, state, and local governments should work to reduce the overall number of laws and regulations by at least a third if not two thirds.  This would allow police to focus on the aspects they need to but reduce the likelihood of greater levels of crime and not be in the business of harassing people only on ensuring that life is made better in the communities they serve.

Community Oversight and Community Representation

This is not terrible, didn’t need to be 2 different things, but heaven forbid you want them to be logical.  You do need to get individual police back to working specific areas and being known to the people in an area and the community working with the police.  And this is something the police should have been working towards for the last few decades, and which few have actually done.  And because of the fact that the police, the people who are paid to be the adults in the room, have not been doing their job right now there is a lot of animosity.  So, it’s really great to talk about community involvement, but how do you actually do that?  Well you’ll need to have community watch programs, and ride-alongs, and community meetings and whatnot…but you can plan all these to perfection and if the community out of distrust or apathy still doesn’t want to help it won’t go anywhere.  So, what probably needs to be done is that every city actually serious about improving police relations and results need to break the city into sections and every section that meets a certain level of participation gets a break of 1-2% on their property taxes.  In reality, any area that has high community participation will have lower crime which means lower need for police which means this proposal should be more than a cost saving measure in the long run.

Limit Use of Force and Training

Again, this is pretty much the same issue.  Further police do have the right to defend themselves.  We ask them to be front line for us and to ask them to do it without asking to defend themselves is just stupid.  However, they clearly have to be trained in how to de-escalate situations and how to properly deal with situations that might need to involve violence.  And without question almost every police department needs to do what seems to be working in Salt Lake City and certainly not whatever excuse they have for training in Minneapolis.

Independent investigation

Again, this just sounds stupid to anyone who actually knows how things are supposed to go.  Internal Affairs and the District Attorney’s Office are independent investigations already.  Do they maybe need better resources, possibly.  Do they need to rewrite rules to prevent moments where the cop who shot Castile got away with it because the jury had to settle on the fact that the wording of the law means they couldn’t convict?  Yeah.  But IA and DA’s are not exactly all buddy-buddy with the police at all times.  If you want review from IA divisions from other departments, that seems fair, or prosecution from outside DA’s, okay…but it’s not like creating whole new organizations is going to fix the problem.

Body cams

Okay this is a good idea.  They all need body cameras.  When the technology gets better they probably all need something like those Google Glass camera from a few years ago.  On the other hand, the law needs to be rewritten so that any cop that turns their camera off will be considered guilty until proven innocent because last week’s shooting of a witness by Minneapolis police while both their body cameras were off, just smell very fishy and cops do need to know that in no way is it acceptable to ever again not be on camera at all times.

Union contracts

Apparently, the liberals at BLM don’t want police unions to negotiate limits on investigations…you know what, how about we just end all public sector unions.  Because with a public-sector union you have the police and their unions (public employees) negotiating with the city (public employees) with government labor relations as an arbiter (public employees).  That’s a level of incestuous conflicts of interest seldom seen outside of Thebes.  If you don’t think IA is independent enough that you want outside review, you have to admit that all public sector unions are corrupt by their very nature.

 Demilitarization

Eh…this is half right.  They don’t need tanks and fully automatic weapons.  But anything for defense—kevlar, tasers, helmets, thicker plating in the cars—I’m fine with.  But all the offensive stuff needs to end.

For Profit policing

Well if you’re talking about the truly unconstitutional BS that is civil forfeiture that absolutely needs to end.  However, the liberal claims that fines for offenses need to end, no.  If you actually commit crimes you should have to pay for that.  Now if you want to direct the funds they pay so that it more directly goes back into the community that was harmed by the crime rather than the pockets of the police, I’m okay with that.

So most of this was at best only half right.

But here are a few things they forgot.

Burden of Proof

The first is that courts need to once again understand where the burden of proof lays and who has a presumption of innocence.  What I do I mean?  Well, obviously with the unconstitutional BS that is civil forfeiture is a violation of the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty, but there are smaller things.  For instance, in my town of Phoenix the city has free parking spaces marked out in various areas of the city.  In one of these sections you will find the road is marked off with the space for a parking space, and there is numbered city pole listing which parking space that is…and there is faded red paint on the curb indicating a fire zone.  Now clearly the city is stupid in that this leaves conflicting messages here, especially since the parking spot paint is fresh and the curb paint is old and faded…but guess what the city is clearly making mistakes but if you park there you get a ticket.  The city makes a mistake but you get to pay the price.  I’m sorry but the very nature of limited government is that when the state makes an error they’re the one in the wrong.  And while I have never fallen for this petty form of entrapment, I have seen the sons-of-bitches cops write tickets on these people.  When I’ve confronted them about it, they know it’s bullshit, but they write it anyway.  Little SS in training.  A just society would see every cop and judge who upheld this kind of bullshit, just as those who engage with the civil forfeiture crime, thrown into general population.  I pull this example out because it’s a very small example of a very real problem.  Police and courts seem to have this attitude that they are the law, not that they enforce the law.  This is the heart of the problem.  They are there to protect people, not mindlessly enforce stupid laws for no point, and certainly not to pad their pockets.  And until this attitude changes none of those other issues are going to matter.

Police Specials

And one of the easiest ways to do this is outsource a lot of the functions of the police to private organizations that put the needs of the public as their customer first.  Strangely enough this private sector solution comes from San Francisco.  They’re called Police Specials, a private police force that serves communities that pay them fees.  They’re halfway between private security and the actual police, offering the customer service driven nature of private security with the community wide protection of police.  I’m not entirely sure why this genius idea has never left the city by the bay, nor how such a capitalist innovation has survived in that socialist hell hole, but it’s one of the reasons the city hasn’t devolved into full on anarchy despite it’s otherwise terrible policies.  Every major city needs to adopt this (and probably most medium sized cities).

Now there are some suggestions that are improvements on the best the liberal idiots had to offer.  Will this solve everything?  Nope.  Nothing ever does.  But to put in the suggestion made here will probably solve massive amounts of problems with the current criminal justice system.  Certainly, there are other issues to look at like the American Enterprise Institute’s latest kick on prisoner rehabilitation in helping to lower recidivism and improve local communities.  Actual better policing methods in predicting where crimes where occur and stopping them before they happen will of course also help.  But this is a place to start with a problem that needs to be addressed.

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