July 1st, 2011
Another day, another instance of cops behaving very, very badly. I’d buy the Gormogons insistence that cops are by and large good people and good professionals if you didn’t see stories like this all the time. Are there good cops out there? Sure! Just like there are good journalists and trial lawyers.
Oh no…Last is turning into Radley Balko/Vox Day right before my eyes.
Look, the problem with these stories is not that they don’t exist and shouldn’t be exposed, but that the libertarian types usually down on us law and order conservatives provide no context and/or as far as I know plausible public policy solutions. Actually, maybe Balko suggests we stop having police do SWAT-style raids — a reform I could get behind if I had the sense that he also wanted to lock up dangerous criminals.
Because here in Chicago (and a couple of my buddies from the Gormogons are from the Chicagoland area when they aren’t hanging at the Castle) cops are literally arresting dangerous criminals every day and for every story of abuse there are probably thousands of stories of just average cops busting average criminals who have just mugged someone, robbed someone, stolen a car, broke into a house, shot someone, etc., etc. Heck not too long ago cops had to respond to this 911 call on the near west side:
Imagine dealing with that all day!
I think the situation is different for journalists, who are providing a market product and if they are obviously biased in their reporting they get called out on it by their competition and/or provide an opportunity for market entrepreneurs to provide a better product (i.e. TWS or “Fox News”).
I also think the situation is different for trial lawyers who exploit a screwed up system which thankfully many states (hello Texas) have started to reform. Again, if individual police departments and practices need reform, I’m all for it — but don’t turn into a hater!
You’re just trying to get my goat. : )
Since the pay is about the same between being a policeman and a fireman, the police tend to attract guys who want to be heroes and who like interpersonal dominance, while the fire department tends to attract guys who just want to be heroes. (Of course, fire departments tend to attract guys who were firebugs when they were kids, but most subliminate their interest in fire into putting out fires, although there are always some arrests each year of firemen/arsonists.)
So, on average more cops then firemen are jerks. But, that’s kind of the price you have to pay for cops.
While I hate this trope, i can’t help myself. Shorter herzog: because there are good cops, we should ignore the bad ones. I believe balko et al’s public policy solution is to acknowledge and punish misconduct, despite various PD’s desires to protect their own. Is that somehow controversial?
I think you misread me: “the problem with these stories is not that they don’t exist and shouldn’t be exposed“.
I was objecting more to the presentation and tone of the story. Because I think what police do is so important I’d be happy to get behind any sensible reform, for example forcing all cops to videotape their encounters with the public using little ‘badge cams’ or something similar. I want to punish bad cops and more importantly, vindicate the work of all the good cops out there.