The other day when I posted about my local police force I had a policeman on another forum comment to me and I think he is right.
He mentioned that the community generally gets the kind of police force that they want, or at least the kind the boisterous want. I got to thinking for a moment or two and I do believe he is spot on. Generally police departments do what they can to take care of the needs of the public. If the people in the community do not consider drunk driving to be an issue the police generally will not enforce the drunk driving laws, or at least with any kind of zealousness.
On the other hand if every civic group and concerned citizens group consider drunk driving to be a major issue then the laws will be zealously enforced.
The same holds true for just about every other aspect of policework. It all goes back to Robert Peel, father of the modern police who said the the product of good policework is the absence of crime and said how the people are really the police.
This hold true to some extent because when you think about it bad neighborhoods exist because the residents there permit it. If they simply didn't permit it the neighborhood would clean itself up. It really wouldn't take a whole lot of time for a neighborhood to clean itself up if they wanted to.
All they would have to do is hammer the mayor a bit and he would hammer the police commmissioner who would in turn assign officers to the area and the process would start.
Hookers, drug dealers and the associated hangers-on are in the businesses they have chosen for the same reason anyone else is. They want to make a buck. In their line of work the name of the game is twofold. They want to make money and stay out of jail. If it looks like they can't make any money and stay out of jail while conducting business in a certain area they will simply go somewhere else or change their line of work.
Instead a lot of neighborhoods that have gotten pretty rough because the residents there are either too cowardly, too lazy or too stupid to take responsibility and band together to get something done. Something like make it clear to the mayor that he had best get the police commissioner to get some officers on the street or come reelection he will be out looking for a job.
On the other hand it is a whole lot easier to sit there and feel sorry for yourselves and complain about the police not doing their jobs and calling them a bunch of doughnut eating fat boys when in reality they probably would like to be out there doing something.
While I do have sympathy individually for residents of bad neighborhoods, collectively the truth is it's their own damned fault for permitting it to be that way. If they don't want to live in a rough neighborhood they can either band together to clean it up or move.
The same holds true for when a police department gets out of hand and becomes revenue collectors instead of poilce officers. Generally it isn't the working cop on the street that is to blame. Like most everyone that works for a living, the working cop generally simply does what he's told. The working cop that is told to start enforcing catch-22 laws and other forms of stupid generally does unless he plans on finding another job.
When a police department gets out of hand there is generally a problem upstairs with the bosses getting either flak from their bosses or they are simply dreaming of expanding their empires. Sometimes this happens around military bases when the city fathers forget that the GIs are their tax base and they start treating them like a plum to suck the juice out of.
From time to time this happens and generally the commanding general simply tells the city fathers that he will put the entire town off-limits to anyone employed on the post. The city fathers generally listen to that one rather carefully and back off. Over the years a few COs have put towns on the off-limits list and it generally took about a month or two before the city fathers came back pleading, offering the general promises to leave the GIs alone.
When the police in a city get out of hand and start becoming revenue collectors it becomes time for the residents to pay a little visit to city hall and remind the mayor that there is an election coming up and if this stupid doesn't come to a halt than there is going to be a nice spot in the unemployment line waiting for him.
I've been told by a number of people that the city fathers watch our department pretty carefully and have let a number of officers go over the years. Like I have posted earlier they are usually pretty good.
This doesn't just hold true to police forces, either. It holds true to all forms of government. We have the government we deserve simply because we elected them.
I think the reason I have a good police force in my town is because the city fathers do a pretty good job of keeping tabs on them. Of course the reason for that is because the townspeople keep an eye on the city fathers.
Here is what another cop said about the post I made the other day. I think he make his point a lot clearer than I did in a lot fewer words. He said he would send me his "Mayberry cops" post and when he does I will post it here.
As a cop I thank you for that. One of the great frustrations is people freaking over every interaction. Odds are I don't know you real well when I contact you. So, you may make Mother Theresa look like a gangbanging thug. I know this how? Even if I do know you every one has bad days. That is a lesson cops learn the hard, painful and sometimes bloody way. Ever had an upstanding citizen lose their mind and do crazy stupid or violent shit? Most cops have. When I try to point that out, most folks (especially on here), just scream thn blue line.
I would also add something I have said on here before, that tends to drive some people frothing at the mouth nuts but I think you might appreciate and/or agree with.
A community will have the police it wants(or perhaps the police the most vocal of its citizens want). There will be unintended consequences and changing will take time, but they will get what they ask for. You and the neighbors call dispatch bitching about speeders in your subdivision on the weekend and the damn cops need to do somehting about it? Don't bitch about revenue generation when you get a ticket through said subdivision for 20 over. Want the cops to do something about vandalism in an area? Don't scream JBT when they stop you walking through that area at 3:00 a.m. Want them to do something about DUI's? No problem.
You say others want those things not you. That you want Andy Griffith and Mayberry(trust me, you probably don't but that is a different commentary) then get off your ass and create that society. Until then you see the problem when you brush your teeth. Because the cops do not make the law. They do not get paid to predict unintended consequences of the laws. They get paid to enforce the law that a community has made.
my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/