Tuesday, July 12, 2016

To Ponder

Do we want a police force that can make the decision to execute suspects and only be subject to internal review?

When police are under pressure and scared, being human just like the rest of us, they make mistakes.

I want officers to be able to defend themselves, under the exact same set of rules and with the exact same rules of force as I can use. I want the police to be citizens that happen to work as law enforcement. I do not want them be in a special class of "only ones" that get to operate under combat ROE.

I also think that the militarization of local police forces over the last 40 years is a very bad idea. They're wearing combat uniforms, they roll out in surplus MRAPs and HMMVs, and they approach non-LEOs as if they are enemy combatants. The mindset of "whatever happens, I'm going home at the end of the shift" is pervasive.

When you train young men to think like they are at war, they will act like they are at war. The people they interact with will respond in kind. Black Lives Matter is a response to how a lot of black citizens experience law enforcement. Right or wrong, they feel like they are citizens in an occupied country policed by a military.

We have a War on Drugs, a War on Crime, and a War on Gangs. What happens when they declare a War on Guns? Not their guns, of course, yours and mine.


Borepatch said...


Richard said...

There is clearly a problem with Federal LE in terms of militarization, proliferation of agencies with designated LE missions and providing temptation of local LE in terms of military hardware. Local LE, while not immune from this trend is much closer to its roots of protect and serve. Military hardware is a temptation but picture yourself as a local chief offered "free" hardware. It might come in handy someday for an unforeseen contingency so there is no harm in taking it. (It is a rare police administrator who is a fiscal analyst.) Most of the militarized units of local LE are part-timers whose day job is a patrol officer. Larger agencies do have regular units (SWAT teams, etc) but can at least partially justify them. They are overused for routine purposes but the choice is use them for that or have them sitting around waiting for rare SHTF situations. Some limitations here would he helpful in making police administrators consider whether they really need a full-time unit.

Use of force, especially deadly force, is highly regulated. Unfortunately, situations where it may be justified are highly chaotic and with a major pucker factor. Most of the celebrated use of force controversies have proven to be justified. The ones that aren't tend to be prosecuted. In some cases, prosecution may not occur when warranted. In other cases (e.g. Baltimore) prosecution may be motivated by politics rather than justice. In all cases, the general public is ignorant about the use of deadly force. Any one who comments is, in my opinion, morally obligated to study the law and better to get some exposure to training. The shoot/don't shoot simulators are widely used by police forces and generally are an eye-opener to non-police.

Eagle said...

OTOH, if you aren't equipped with the proper protective gear because the local authorities are more interested in showing love than in stopping violence, you can get hit with a piece of concrete thrown at you or dropped on you by a "protester" that could fracture your spine. NO officer should be put in that situation. It's just plain stupid.

The question shouldn't be whether protective gear is available and worn by officers who are tasked with stopping rioters (protesters who throw bottles and bricks are *NOT* protesters). Quite frankly, I support as much defensive gear as they can carry: helmets, shields, vests - all of it. And if this makes them look more "tactical" than "police", then so be it.

In the same vein, I would not want officers in these situations to be carrying anything other than non-lethal weapons: beanbag guns, batons, teargas, stun guns, pepper spray and mace, and other "objects meant to discourage rather than kill". In a situation when an officer feels the need to defend himself/herself against a protester armed with "only" a rock or a bottle, a firearm may be overkill (literally).

MRAPs and HMMVs aren't necessary at a "protest" - although I could see a "water cannon" to be of some use in breaking up a "protest" that is escalating into a riot.

Comrade Misfit said...

I agree. Unfortunately, the "bad shoots" and abusive use of force tend to be swept under the carpet, as far as the criminal justice system is concerned. They leave it to the civil side to deal with, which is why Chicago has had to cough up over a half-a-billion dollars in the last several years.

"We've given you a lot more training, so we're going to excuse errors that we'd send a CCW holder to prison for" doesn't pass the smell test.

Arthur said...

To paraphrase: "When the Stalinists are fighting the Maoists you don't pick a side, you pray for a meteorite strike."

Over-militarized, above-the-law, unaccountable LEOs are a problem. Urban Guerillas raping, looting, and murdering their way through a town are a problem.

Do I really need to pick a side?

Moe said...

Excellent post.


David aka True Blue Sam said...

There have been some memorable "bad shoots" in recent history without the benefit of a robot. Whether this technology will make for more abuse than we have seen, I don't know. All laws potentially carry the death penalty, and we are seeing abusive laws being proposed at a frantic rate. I am more worried about that than how the Police took down a terrorist. The cat's out of the bag, and we can't change that regardless of whether the tool will be misused in the future.

Ken said...

That's going to be your new raid stack some day, and...

...oh, well, all departmental procedures were followed and a good-faith effort was made to find the right address.