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#33135 - 02/18/15 07:08 AM Police Immunity
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
When I was a kid I always thought that police officers, no matter where in the world they were, were all a certain type of person: devoted to the public good. However, I stopped thinking so years ago.

When reading stuff like this I become more convinced we have a lot to fear. Police departments everywhere are letting people into their ranks who should never be there.

After killing an unarmed man, who has his hands in the air, the cop has zero remorse. Instead he says: "I don't feel sorry for shooting the guy at all."
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ryck

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#33144 - 02/18/15 02:19 PM Re: Police Immunity [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
There are an awful lot of cops out there and a tiny few of those bad cops. Probably in about the same proportions of good and bad as the rest of the population. Unfortunately due to numerous factors effecting the way police do their jobs both the good and bad can easily get isolated from the rest of society and that isolation tends to reinforce the anti-social tendencies of the marginal and bad cops. Recent actions of the few are receiving a lot of attention and that is making many more officers feel defensive and fearful. A dangerous situation for all.

There are no quick fixes, but IMHO some action that need to be taken are…
  • Break down the barriers between the police and the policed. That means get them out of their patrol cars and on the streets where the rest of us live. This takes manpower and money.
  • Demiltarize the police. Get them out of camaflauge combat outfits, urban tanks, and only bring out the tactical gear when and if it is needed in a specific circumstance.
  • Stop rewording officers for arrests and convictions, instead reward them based on reduced crime rates, disasters prevented, and kids lives turned around.
  • I do some work with homeless men and in the course of that I have witnessed any number of small but thoughtful acts of kindness performed by individual officers both on and off duty. That does not make good press, but it should!
  • Rethink the war in drugs that has criminalized arguably innocent civilains just for being in the car and rewards police with lots of "toys" and confiscated property
  • Look once again at the latent racism that still pervades too much of our society.
  • Do not allow our fear of terrorists to turn us into a police state.

I'll climb down off of my hobby horse now.
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#33147 - 02/18/15 02:42 PM Re: Police Immunity [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
There are no quick fixes, but IMHO some action that need to be taken are…

I would add one more item to your list. We need better screening to be sure we are hiring the right personalities…some people should never, ever be allowed to done any uniform and carry a weapon.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
….get them out of their patrol cars and on the streets where the rest of us live.

Ditto that one. I grew up in a neighbourhood that was waaaay the other side of the tracks but we did have a community cop. I still remember "Rocky" riding his bike around the area, keeping an eye on things. Everyone respected and liked him….and we all knew that, if he caught us at something, he'd be knocking on our front door wanting to chat with our parents.


Edited by ryck (02/18/15 02:44 PM)
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ryck

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#33150 - 02/18/15 08:04 PM Re: Police Immunity [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: ryck
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
There are no quick fixes, but IMHO some action that need to be taken are…

I would add one more item to your list. We need better screening to be sure we are hiring the right personalities…some people should never, ever be allowed to done any uniform and carry a weapon.

I agree completely, but as a practical matter that is easier said than done. No one has ever claimed psychology is an exact science and how else (other than a criminal background check) do you propose keeping all of those bad apples out of the law enforcement barrel? Many towns can, or choose, to only afford the most cursory psychological evaluation and they probably end up with about the same proportion of good to bad officers as cities with the most elaborate and expensive requirements and testing. If that testing worked the infamous cases of corruption and police brutality that have taken place in LAPD and NYPD could not have occurred.

Frank Serpico contends the corruption in the NYPD he exposed in the early 70s still exists with little real change and that his life is still as at risk in NYC today as it was then. Recent events in the NYPD and the gross disrespect shown by some police officers for the mayor of New York lend credence to Serpico's statements. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good cops in both LA and NYC. But they are not the ones who make the 6 o'clock news headlines, and they should be. It would be even better if the good cops turned their backs on the disrespectful cops, but they appear to feel so isolated from the community at large that their fellow police, good and/or bad, are the only community they trust. We need to figure out how to forge bonds of community and trust such that all police officers feel they are one of us and vice-versa. If I had a sure fire process for doing that, I would be way too busy and making way too much money to be spending time on FineTunedMac. crazy
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#33170 - 02/20/15 07:42 PM Re: Police Immunity [Re: joemikeb]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: joemikeb

I agree completely, but as a practical matter that is easier said than done. No one has ever claimed psychology is an exact science and how else (other than a criminal background check) do you propose keeping all of those bad apples out of the law enforcement barrel? Many towns can, or choose, to only afford the most cursory psychological evaluation and they probably end up with about the same proportion of good to bad officers as cities with the most elaborate and expensive requirements and testing. If that testing worked the infamous cases of corruption and police brutality that have taken place in LAPD and NYPD could not have occurred.

Frank Serpico contends the corruption in the NYPD he exposed in the early 70s still exists with little real change and that his life is still as at risk in NYC today as it was then. Recent events in the NYPD and the gross disrespect shown by some police officers for the mayor of New York lend credence to Serpico's statements.(...)


To my mind this is where the "but most cops are good!" argument falls down flat. I do believe that genuine bad apples are rare...but that's not the problem. The problem is the culture promotes harmful ideas and bad behavior, and the social structure of many police offices does nothing to reign in the bad apples.

Bad apples happen in any group of human beings. Doesn't matter if you're talking cops or doctors or Sunday school teachers. You don't protect yourself from the bad apples by trying to screen them out--you can't. That's a fool's errand. You protect yourself from the bad apples by creating resilient cultures of transparency, accountability, and trust.

Police departments in the US seem to have a really hard time doing this. They create structures that, rather than encouraging bad apples to turn good, encourage good apples to turn bad. There is shockingly little accountability and even less transparency. There's an overpowering culture of looking the other way when abuses happen, and of never, ever, ever ratting out a fellow officer, no matter how egregious the misconduct. There's an internal set of ethical mores that prioritizes supporting fellow officers over the well-being of the community they police. In an environment like that, even saints will quickly tend to become corrupt.
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#33175 - 02/21/15 07:44 AM Re: Police Immunity [Re: tacit]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: tacit
Police departments in the US seem to have a really hard time doing this. They create structures that, rather than encouraging bad apples to turn good, encourage good apples to turn bad. There is shockingly little accountability and even less transparency. There's an overpowering culture of looking the other way when abuses happen, and of never, ever, ever ratting out a fellow officer, no matter how egregious the misconduct. There's an internal set of ethical mores that prioritizes supporting fellow officers over the well-being of the community they police. In an environment like that, even saints will quickly tend to become corrupt.

Exactly! And I believe that will continue so long as police remain in their own insular culture apart from the community at large. Breaking down the walls of mistrust and suspicion is not just a one way street either. There are barriers to communication and understanding on both sides and not only do the police need to let down their guard, but the community at large needs to reach out to the individual police officers. Unfortunately latent racism and unrecognized cultural differences get involved at that point and only make solutions more difficult. The trick is finding common ground to bridge those barriers and both sides have to be looking for that common ground.
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#33181 - 02/21/15 05:32 PM Re: Police Immunity [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Y'know, all this discussion of what's wrong and not wrong with cops is in keeping with the tone of ryck's original post, but it has completely ignored the question of what's wrong with the the system under which they function.

Originally Posted By: CBC News
But prosecutors and police commanders and county officials buried the case.

Fairfax County's top prosecutor declared a conflict of interest and referred the shooting to federal authorities.

The police department stonewalled reporters.

Federal investigators did investigate, and have reported to the U.S. attorney in Virginia, who has done nothing.

Let's hope that The Washington Post doesn't let go. frown
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In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#33227 - 02/26/15 04:48 AM Re: Police Immunity [Re: tacit]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
You protect yourself from the bad apples by creating resilient cultures of transparency, accountability, and trust.


You also provide adequate training. I read recently that barbers and cosmetologists must complete more hours of training than police officers.

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