Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member


(5,406 posts)
Fri May 29, 2020, 06:37 AM May 2020

The role of police needs to be redefined

For too long there has been this blanket protection for police. We've given them the benefit of the doubt, always saying it's a tough job or it's a thankless job or they are putting their lives on the line for our safety. And this is all true. But it shouldn't be used as an excuse or a shield.

Police offers choose their career. And they should be held to a higher standard. Not shielded with excuses. And if they can't live up to the higher standard, they should go find another profession. It seems in almost all cases where there is excessive force, we find out there were prior complaints. Warning signs, really.

We should hire police officers more selectively. Pay them much more. And hold them accountable. Those that show signs that the job is too much should be dismissed.


(761 posts)
1. Pay them much more.
Fri May 29, 2020, 07:02 AM
May 2020

Would a carnival worker be given a cash deposit and a car to drive to the bank.

There is an unrecognized unfathomable distance to reach racial equality. How many white people wish they were black?


(5,406 posts)
3. I don't know how we solve for racism
Fri May 29, 2020, 07:13 AM
May 2020

We've been trying in earnest since the 40's. All we've managed to do is drive it underground. Part of the problem is that racism is passed down from generations. It's taught at home. People genuinely think if they aren't using the N word that they aren't racist nor do they think they participate in racist institutions.

But I think we can solve for our police situation. I think it is more out of hand than we think...


(5,483 posts)
2. they need to return to protecting and serving the people, and not the state
Fri May 29, 2020, 07:10 AM
May 2020

as it stands today, the police are not our friends and not our protectors.


(5,406 posts)
4. Agreed.
Fri May 29, 2020, 07:29 AM
May 2020

I think this has to do with those going into law enforcement. I don't think we are always hiring the right people. It's almost become too militarized.


(4,845 posts)
6. In other countries, police is held at a much higher standard
Fri May 29, 2020, 07:42 AM
May 2020

This police problem that we have are both cultural (gun culture) and systemic (judicial branch doesn't examine/punish each incidents fairly and bad training). In other countries, the police would have to write a detailed report of each actions that led to their escalated response and each bullets they fire would have to be fully explained and examined by high-up/court.

Every time I hear a blanket "he resists arrest" as an excuse, it infuriates me because police in other countries de-escalates the situations, but our police seems to escalates the situation because they "feel" like "their lives are in danger". This is because we have a crazy gun culture that lets everyone owns whatever guns they please without much of a check. Police is taught to assume their lives are in huge danger when they are on duty. Of course there is racism involved that some police choose to escalate the situation toward some race (black and brown). But they are using the excuse of level of danger to justify their racism.

We need to hold them accountable and examine/punish each case more closely. When they know they need to be held accountable and explain/justify each action in detail, they wouldn't/couldn't escalate the situation unless it is needed.


(22,748 posts)
7. White Nationalists have for years planted their folks in police stations.
Fri May 29, 2020, 08:19 AM
May 2020

That should never be tolerated and the entry tests should be sufficient to screen them out, but obviously are not. Recruiting & testing is the first place change needs to start, screen out the assholes from the beginning.


(17,827 posts)
9. This is an economic problem too
Fri May 29, 2020, 08:24 AM
May 2020

People are sick and tired of working and not getting ahead in life because the rich took it all for themselves. A minimum wage that is a real living wage ($20 an hour or more) would solve so many of this country's problems.


(24,150 posts)
13. "Rise of the Warrior Cop" by Radley Balko
Fri May 29, 2020, 09:04 AM
May 2020

Buy it and read or listen to it.

Balko does a deep dive into the state of policing today, and talks about how we got to this point.

One interesting thing he mentioned about SWAT Teams;

That a large percentage of the guys who volunteer for SWAT Team duty are precisely the wrong type to be on such a team.

And FWIW, this statement;

always saying it's a tough job or it's a thankless job or they are putting their lives on the line for our safety. And this is all true.
Is not AT ALL true.

They get applauded all the time, but so what?

It's not that "tough" to be a cop. It's a club made up of armed gang members who protect each other.

And it isn't that dangerous, not in the least. When you look at cause of death statistics, a cop is more likely to die from being stupid (car crashes, etc.) or health issues than he is from being killed by a suspect.

The police are out of control in this country, they have an endemic "Us vs. Them" mentality and many of them look at all members of the public as their enemy, or at the very least, potential suspects as opposed to merely citizens, black men particularly so.

An illustration of this was done where a white guy was walking down the street carrying an assault style long gun over his shoulder and he was politely approached by cops who asked him what he was doing and then let him go on his way. In the same area a black man was filmed doing the exact same thing and the cops came screaming up on him, lights and sirens blazing, was shouted at and ordered to drop his weapon while they pointed their weapons at him.

I recently put this up on another thread, and I think it is an idea that needs to gain some traction and would make a big difference;

In the Securities Industry there exists what is known as a "U4" which is the "Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer". That form and the database into which the information is entered follows a Stock Broker throughout his/her career, recording every single complaint against the broker or the firm that is filed by a client and must be updated with each complaint filed and every time a broker is hired by another firm. The database is also, and this is the really important part, accessible and searchable by the public. FOR ANY WRONGDOING OF ANY KIND! As long as that wrongdoing is reported by the offended party. So if a broker blatantly rips off your Aunt Polly, or even suggests or tries to steer her toward investing in something unsuitable for her, and Polly doesn't say a word about it to Dewey, Cheatham and Howe, Securities Brokers, it doesn't go on the U4. Infractions need to be reported for the system to work, and for the most part, they are.

This country needs something along those lines for cops. If each and every oath taking police officer in the country also had something like a U4 that was publicly searchable, that followed him from department to department, that was updated on a weekly, monthly or as needed basis, it might just lead to more accountability. Something like a cop sleeping on the job, captured on film, or reckless driving, or as in this case, physical abuse of a "suspect", particularly resulting in injury or death, or violation of, or utter ignorance of, as in many cases, civil or other rights, or ...you get the point - ALL of it can and should go on that cops "U4" or whatever it would be called. Provided any complaint is indeed legitimate.

We DESPERATELY need this sort of thing in this country. The Securities industry learned long ago that trust in it's institutions and dealings was important, if not critical to their ongoing operation, and while they haven't always been successful in keeping that trust, for the most part the Brokerage Industry is well regulated. Of course, regulations and oversight are only as effective as the enforcing entity, whoever that should be.

There is no way in hell a police department should be allowed to investigate itself for wrongdoing, and this is particularly evident the smaller the department. The biggest threat to the safety of individuals when encountering police in otherwise innocuous situations seems to be simply not giving them the information they want you to give them, even though you are under no legal obligation to do it.

The police in this country are simply out of control, and if you don't acquiesce to every demand for obedience, you are immediately suspect and ultimately subject to intimidation and threat of bodily harm in the very least, and arrest and incarceration or even death at the most. Often for nothing more than "Contempt of Cop".

ALL police should be required immediately and without hesitation to answer the question "What is your Name and Badge Number?" and failure to do so should result in disciplinary action, up to and including loss of job. Once a citizen improperly questioned or harassed by a cop has attained that information, an immediate call to their supervisor with a complaint should instantly result in an entry on the officers U4 or equivalent.

Fuck these assholes, and fuck them again.



(5,406 posts)
14. Thanks for the post. Interesting. I'll have to check out the book.
Fri May 29, 2020, 09:52 AM
May 2020

I've had some interesting encounters with police. And I have definitely benefited from being white.

Once, in Dayton, Ohio a friend and I were playing basketball at a local school at midnight. We were in college. I had a beer sitting on the hood of his car. My friend didn't drink. Anyway, the cops showed up. Saw the beer. After asking what we were doing and checking my ID, the one cop said finish your beer and put the empty in the trunk. The other cop said, you aren't going to give him an open container ticket? He said, why would I. They are just having fun.

I bet if my friend and I had been black, the whole thing would have gone down differently.


(24,150 posts)
16. No doubt
Fri May 29, 2020, 10:00 AM
May 2020
”I bet if my friend and I had been black, the whole thing would have gone down differently.”

I have made a commitment to do my utmost to minimize my encounters with police.

I’m a trucker, so that includes DOT inspectors.

The moment someone raises their hand and swears that oath, they are no longer our friends, they are not to be trusted, they have high court rulings allowing them to lie to you and they will and have lied under oath and on sworn statements.

Becoming a cop places one into a group that has bent the rules to protect themselves from accountability.

It needs to stop.

A fired cop should not be allowed to be rehired by ANY other department, ANYWHERE.


(5,406 posts)
17. I do the same...
Fri May 29, 2020, 10:21 AM
May 2020

The overall attitude and demeanor irritates me. I don't do well with authority. I can fake it if I need to but as soon as someone tries to caste themselves as an authority figure to me, I start pushing back.

People should be very careful about getting the police involved. It can pull you into things you never would have considered.

Wounded Bear

(57,650 posts)
15. Need a change in basic philosophy...
Fri May 29, 2020, 09:54 AM
May 2020

far too many police forces and officers think of themselves as an occupying force, rather than a community policing force.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»The role of police needs ...