It took a former cop named Randy Sutton to propose a novel solution to police problems like broken windows and broken backs.
Randy is right.
Let us now buy new glass, rather than paying to arrest and mass incarcerate people where the windows are broken.
Increasingly, US citizens are looking around and asking why they must pay top dollar for public servants who rabidly chase down the perpetrators of victimless crimes.
Drug addiction, mass arrests in urban areas and prowling for cash seizures on highways are legitimately giving police the public image of a band of modern-day stagecoach robbers from Wild West of old.
Most importantly, let’s re-orient crime stoppers to combat offenses which harm others like rape, fraud, assault or murder – and appropriately draw the line between childhood and adulthood by de-policing temper tantrums within our schools.
Former officer Sutton was right about something else too.
Militarized police in our country won’t “stand down” easily. Jobs for life with benefits, pensions and overtime don’t just grow on trees – especially in jobs where lower IQ is a positive hiring criteria.
Citizens morph into civilians, and the law (that thing LEOs are paid to enforce) becomes an easily breakable thing you can cover up with your work friends until the media spots you or the video becomes public record, if ever.
Sociopathy and the ‘Rotten Barrel’ theory
The LAPD may try to label these officers “bad apples.” But my studies indicate that, like police corruption, brutality is more likely attributable to a “rotten barrel” than to “bad apples.”
A scholarly paper supporting the “Rotten Barrel” theory appeared in “The Journal of Criminal and Police Psychology” in 1999 entitled: Sociopathic Police Personality: Is It a Product of the “Rotten Apple” or the “Rotten Barrel?
The authors noted “unlimited opportunities for corruption and deceit” by police.
Furthermore, the authors suggest that “secondary sociopathy” (normal people becoming sociopaths) can happen due to “environmental factors” ie. other police who exert peer pressure, as well the “influence of the police subculture on new recruits”.
Clearly, deviant police behavior is not new.
What’s new is recent mainstream media coverage.
Sutton also decried sinking morale due to new requirements that police actually obey the laws they enforce and better investigative reporting by the likes of CNN, ABC and the New York Times in police killings:
[Police] are under fire in the streets, in the media, in their own departments and from political leaders.
Understandably, their frustration has never been higher. In precinct locker rooms, police association meeting halls and whispered conversations between partners, the topic is the same: de-policing — that is, the conscious decision by cops to provide only minimum service.
After years of sheep-like sleepwalking, mainstream outlets are waking up to cover injustice. Watch CNN cover the Walter Scott shooting and tell me if Wolf Blitzer doesn’t look like Rumpelstiltskin, waking up from a long peaceful nap inside the Police PR Spin Machine.
Most citizens want the “minimum service” of keeping us safe at night, or bringing people to courts of justice when a crime’s been committed. Extra service, like extralegal beatings or stop and frisk are best left in the past of modern police practice.
Imagine if your Dentist exceeded “minimum service” and drilled a few extra fillings just in case.
Police heroism is entirely optional.
Considering how grueling and dangerous police work can be when done properly, shouldn’t we ask our cops to stick closer to “minimum service” rather than unprofessionally playing hero?
De-policing has occurred before within a few agencies but never on a national scale.
We saw a brief glimpse of it in New York after the killings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, when the city saw a huge drop in “officer-initiated activity” and a resulting increase in violent crime.
Proactive policing is the standard by which good police supervisors, administrators and even the officers themselves judge the effectiveness and competency of police service.
Anybody can be “an empty suit” — a term police use for a cop who’s merely killing time until retirement. The pride that goes along with “policing with honor” is what generally motivates the vast majority of America’s police to do more.
Proactive policing does have its place in seeking out the violent felons, rapacious thieves and other criminals.
Competency should be the standard by which police are judged.
When did the abstract concept of honor, rather than professionalism become the standard for which law enforcement officers strive?
Once de-policing arrives, will police “stand down” from their dangerous jobs and seek productive employment in the economy by reducing their ranks?
At PINAC News, we ask how fast can de-policing save lives, because police killings driven by today’s War on Drugs, the mass incarceration system and broken windows policies are a mistake.
How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?