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(16,038 posts)
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 11:52 AM Dec 2014

is law enforcement change possible?

This issue has two sides. First, where does the necessity for protection from civil and criminal prosecution for unfortunate human error, necessary snap decision making in extremely high stress situations, allowable self defense and defense of the public end, and criminal/civil culpability for their actions kick in?

Secondly, what other accepted practices that have evolved over the years needs to be revisited?

As stated, some protection for public employees is essential in maintaining public services. Since we're all human, and with that comes inevitable errors, how can any of us deny others, who's human error could result in tragedy while performing on our behalf, some measure against ruin when it occurs? What smart, productive person would accept such personal risk for $50k and a pension (that they most likely would never last to obtain) without some protection?

Do policies like "stop and frisk", "asset forfeiture", questioning tactics for minors, plea bargain corruptions, stoplight cameras, racial profiling, militay equipment, zero tolerance/mandatory sentencing, excessive force (always justified by the 95% overused exclamation "officer safety" even when it's ridiculous); lend themselves to overall distrust and even hatred of public servants?

"Community policing" is a joke once practiced and beneficial. ..On the other hand, there are a lot of individual cops who are stellar public servants.

As it is right now, and frankly forever, cases like Zimmerman and Wilson could never be convicted for no other reason than "reasonable doubt". Nobody who is impartial could say either are guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" given our laws of self defense and the evidence presented each jury.

The "reasonable doubt" standard has its own inherent issues. The most public frustration comes when someone overwhelmingly believed to be guilty, is acquitted. The reality is that the standard is in place based on the idea that some guilty must go free to minimize the number of innocent people wrongly convicted...a trade off. ..

Reasonable doubt isn't going anywhere, it's a constitutional standard which has no real opposition. All of the policies mentioned above however are just that...policies. Policy and accepted practice can be changed without a constitutional battle.

Many of the demands I have been hearing surrounding Wilson and Zimmerman would require constitutional amendment to remedy at the expense of more innocent conviction, or prosecution/conviction of unfortunate human error. Would stripping (or reining in) our servants of the policies above, which would actually be possible in a reasonable amount of time, quiet the angry?

It seems all I hear is noise, no solutions (which are even remotely possible)...

13 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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is law enforcement change possible? (Original Post) pipoman Dec 2014 OP
I think you have a very generous view - on the blue side salin Dec 2014 #1
So what protections would it take for you pipoman Dec 2014 #5
If only one good apple could unspoil the whole bunch. iscooterliberally Dec 2014 #2
I agree with this...those things you mentioned pipoman Dec 2014 #3
It is possible. What it requires is electing people to MineralMan Dec 2014 #4
I agree, local and state pressure is most likely to pipoman Dec 2014 #8
A few remarks rock Dec 2014 #6
Who do we replace them with pipoman Dec 2014 #7
As I implied: It's a tough nut rock Dec 2014 #11
The fact remains that pipoman Dec 2014 #12
I believe you've got it rock Dec 2014 #13
White Supremacists have been infiltrating the police and the military for decades now. MohRokTah Dec 2014 #9
I'm not buying that pipoman Dec 2014 #10


(48,958 posts)
1. I think you have a very generous view - on the blue side
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 12:09 PM
Dec 2014

of the civilian/public servant divide.

Your description minimizes the serious effects of "human error", (fatal effects - permanent effects), and doesn't account for how many of the incidents are occurring and the lack of data collected to even recognize that there is a problem.

Your frame of discussion tends to put the onus upon the public to look for/create "solutions" - when I would suggest that the first step lies with police departments to acknowledge there is a problem with reacting so fast and out of so much seeming anger that consideration of alternatives to shooting (within 2 seconds of arrival in the Tamir Rice case) doesn't seem to occur.

I don't think attempts to have a conversation will go terribly well when the framing of the discussion is rather distorted towards viewing the police (or self-appointed neighborhood watch guy) actions - while not attending to the severity of the outcomes and the frequency with which these tragedies are happening (not to mention the dis-proportionality with which these victims are people of color.)

But hey - good luck with the conversation.



(16,038 posts)
5. So what protections would it take for you
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 02:23 PM
Dec 2014

to be willing to confront dangerous people, walk into chaotic situations with angry people charged with taking control of the situation, walk into these situations and confront these people when the only thing between an unarmed angry person and an armed angry person is a physical confrontation with you?

Maybe every adult should have to do two weeks of shifts in a police cruiser? Enlightenment of the actual day to day may lead to answers and a better understanding of the issue.


(2,903 posts)
2. If only one good apple could unspoil the whole bunch.
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 01:10 PM
Dec 2014

I think that we need to get smart on crime in this country, rather than tough & stupid. We have too many laws that have pitted law enforcement against the people. The war on drugs needs to end. The military gear needs to go back to the national guard armory. Civil asset forfeiture laws need to be repealed. No knock raids need to be outlawed and anything obtained from them needs to be thrown out in court. The privatized prison industry needs to be shut down. Also, when police get sued and lose in court because they killed someone or violated their civil rights, the settlement should come out of the police pension fund rather than getting covered by the tax payers. Police need to be held to account like most everyone else in this country and should have to pay when they break the law. I say 'most everyone else' because I realized that the torturers from the CIA have walked. The bankers who crashed our economy have walked. There are wealthy people who get off because of excuses like 'affluenza' because they're too rich to know right from wrong. Basically the police aren't going to change themselves. They have too much power, and it needs to be dialed way back. They really aren't police anymore, they are an occupying military force. I guess to answer your question directly, the answer is yes, but that change is going to have to come from the outside. Law enforcement isn't going to change itself.



(16,038 posts)
3. I agree with this...those things you mentioned
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 01:56 PM
Dec 2014

Lead to snap decision making which can go south quickly. They are policy which can be changed and must occur through public pressure.


(146,533 posts)
4. It is possible. What it requires is electing people to
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 02:02 PM
Dec 2014

your local city council and county board who will do that. Usually, those elections are in odd-numbered years in most places.

Nobody votes in those elections, though. Voter turnout is dismally low. We can change that by turning out to vote and bringing people who think the same out to vote. Until that happens, though, change is unlikely in how law enforcement behaves. That takes change from the top, and if we don't bother to elect people who will make the changes, they won't happen.

Ask yourself this: Did I vote in the last city council, county board, and Sheriff's election? If the answer is that you did not, that's something you can correct next time.



(16,038 posts)
8. I agree, local and state pressure is most likely to
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 04:24 PM
Dec 2014

Change the policies that bring on at least some of these issues.


(13,218 posts)
6. A few remarks
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 03:09 PM
Dec 2014

There are two problems that need solved: 1) recognizing and replacing the vast majority of current police who are untrainable bullies (obviously with well trained humans, not more troglodytes) including the mayor, the police chief, and the district attorney and 2) prosecuting every cop that has killed or assaulted a civilian without sufficient legal cause. Sounds rather daunting doesn't it? Yes indeedee. Yet, the voters could relatively easily bring this about if we had the right leaders. So to answer your question: I doubt it. We have let the problem fester for much too long, very similar to Cancer. Where would we find these leaders today?



(16,038 posts)
7. Who do we replace them with
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 04:22 PM
Dec 2014

There just aren't that many people who want to be cops as it is. Take away allowances for error and add a new level of scrutiny to decisions which need immediate attention and nobody will want the risk. Prosecution brings the threshold of reasonable doubt which puts us right back where we began. Reasonable doubt is glaringly obvious in the Wilson case and was obviously present in the Zimmerman trial.


(13,218 posts)
11. As I implied: It's a tough nut
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 05:09 PM
Dec 2014

I don't wish to understate this one point. I like to use the Clean Pool Analogy. It's a lot easier to KEEP a pool clan than to MAKE a dirty pool so. We have a really dirty pool. My point was the pool may already be too dirty to clean. What do we replace them with? Extremely well-paid, well-trained professional LEOs. This will cost us a lot of money, but this is what we should have been doing all along.



(16,038 posts)
12. The fact remains that
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:15 PM
Dec 2014

There aren't all that many stellar people when you really get looking, as happens when one applies for your first police job. I've looked, they're hard to find. Then the stellar person has to want to carry a gun all day along with a shiny metal target on their chest. This person also must be willing and able to shoot another human being, to confront people who don't like confrontation, to respond to scenes with decapitated corpses and life threatening illness. Then there is the having to pee and take periodic polygraph exams. ..well it's a lot to ask for $50k...oh and by the way...if someone overpowers you and takes your gun statistically 1.3 people will be victimized with it, probably you will be the 1...now....think fast!.......... if you make the wrong decision in the second or fraction of a second before a decision must be made. ..you lose! Go to jail, directly to jail, lose your job, retirement, insurance, savings, kid's education fund...no, those jobs are going to be extremely hard to fill...


(13,218 posts)
13. I believe you've got it
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 10:40 PM
Dec 2014

In a nutshell that is why the job attracts cowardly bullies. Also there's a lot of guns out there. I fear we're too far gone already.



(15,429 posts)
9. White Supremacists have been infiltrating the police and the military for decades now.
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 04:26 PM
Dec 2014

You cannot change institutionalized corruption. You have to tear down the entire thing and start new.

There is no such thing as a good cop because all cops protect their own and outright white supremacists make up a portion of the police. It is corrupt top to bottom now.



(16,038 posts)
10. I'm not buying that
Mon Dec 15, 2014, 04:48 PM
Dec 2014

Are there some? No doubt. I've been hearing about Wilson being a racist white supremacist yet haven't seen a shred of evidence to support it. I've attended 2 military graduation ceremonies each with over 1000 graduates and whites are outnumbered 2 to 1 by Hispanic grads and are about even with Asian grads.

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