How would you improve the police?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by hankdatank1362, Apr 23, 2008.

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  1. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Member

    Aug 5, 2006
    Myrtle Beach
    First off, mods, I apologize as this is not exactly suitable for The High Road. However, if you will let me leave this up for a day or two, I would greatly appreciate it. If not, I guess you can axe it..it's your house.

    I know there are a lot of intelligent, well spoken individuals on this board, both from the Law Enforcement world, and people who are vehemently opposed to law enforcement as we know it.

    For my Police Administration class, we have been tasked with writing a report on how we would overhaul the image and mentality of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

    If you've been following news, South Carolina State Troopers have been recieving a lot of bad press lately. There are about a dozen videos showing various acts of police brutality and indiscretion. Examples are: A Trooper repeatedly poking a suspect in the back of the head (hard) with a shotgun barrel; three different Troopers bumping suspects fleeing on foot with the bumper of their patrol car (one even chased a suspect off-road through an apartment complex, where a mother had to snatch her child out of the way to avoid him being ran over); A Trooper running up and kicking a suspect in the head after suspect has surrendered and is lying on the ground (just like you'd kick a football off a tee), etc...

    Now I'm not looking for a cop-bashing fest. The offending officers are being prosecuted (as they should be) and the higher ups, including the SC Director of Public Safety, have been fired.

    But, how would you go about fixing this mess and improving Trooper/Public relations? Troopers have long acted like they were the most elite form of law enforcement in the state, and they can do whatever they want... how would you eradicate that mentality?

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'm not looking for anyone to do my work for me. But if you happen to have a quick, little idea you think would help, I will be in your debt.

    Thanks again.
  2. Sato Ord

    Sato Ord Member

    Mar 21, 2008
    Melbourne Florida
    One of my senseis once said, "If a man wants to be a cop he should first spend about ten years studying in a Zen monastery to weed out all ego. Then, if he still has an interest in being a cop hand him his badge and gun."

    Something many officers aren't taught is that you can't take it personally. You learn that pretty quickly working with younger psych patients. They call you nasty names, they spit on you, they even attack you, but it isn't personal. You have to let it roll off your back. You deal with the situation so that everything stays controlled, but you don't let your own ego get involved.

    What happens in a lot instances like those you mentioned is that the officer involved most likely got on an adrenalin rush and let it get to him personally and then reacted as if the criminal had actually been hunting for him. It becomes a him and me issue rather than a just doing my job issue. That criminal would have done the same thing with any body else, he doesn't care who it is, but the cop who is caught up in the heat of the moment is having trouble staying detached.

    Another problem I've seen at a couple of academies is when the teachers literally tell the students that they have the right to do anything they can make the suspect think they have the right to do. This sets up the practice of regularly ignoring the civil rights of citizens. Add to that the fact that it is easier for most citizens to, at the time, let them violate their rights than to argue, and you start to get a pattern going that will escalate.

    I was once told that I must be involved in some type of criminal activity because otherwise I would have no reason to know my civil rights so well!:what:

    Imagine that young officer's chagrin when he attended a required disarming class and found that I was the instructors!:neener: He got to be the practice dummy, a lot!:evil:

    The last thing I would change is that any training police receive regarding keeping the job in perspective should include instilling the fact that the police are there to serve the community and the people they are dealing with are just that, people. Too often police officers view everyone as suspects and not as the people that they swore an oath to protect. The fact that someone is having loud argument with someone else doesn't mean that he's a criminal, it could just mean he's having a bad day. That isn't an excuse for bad behavior, but it also doesn't excuse the officer for treating him badly either.

    A good cop is a bit of everything, peace officer, soldier in the war on crime, stress reduction counselor, crossing guard, community educator, and the list goes on. A bad cop is just another jerk with a gun. Most cops do a pretty good job considering what they have to work with, but some just need to find a new line of work.
  3. RiflemanTripleEight

    RiflemanTripleEight Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    I don't understand. Every time one of these threads comes up someone who isn't a cop writes an essay on how to be a good cop. I don't understand why these people aren't in the profession.
  4. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Is an officer's dashcam video regularly reviewed and used as a training tool for him?
  5. Devonai

    Devonai Member

    Mar 24, 2003
    A good start would be ensuring that ALL police officers are intimately familiar with the firearms laws of their jurisdiction.
  6. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Madison, WI
    I wish the community's response to minutia wouldn't alter our department's offcial policy.

    Madison, Wisconsin is very PC, and any chief has to make his department accountable to the idea of "community policing." And let's be frank here, the criticism falls along racial lines. If a white officer tasers a black citizen is it flat out going to cause a protest, a lawsuit and probably the officer's career or reassignment to a desk job.

    However, the crime rate--and I mean murders--are escalating in Madison. The tougher Chicago gangs are driving out the little fish to my city. We are drowning in bangers, and I mean entire sections of the city.

    One of my clients used a simple jackknife to fend off a mugger. Because the mugger got cut, the client had the knife confiscated.

    Now, I'm not so obtuse as to not recognize the need for prima facia evidence. However, the community was more concerned on just who was what color when the blood was spilled.

    I talked to an obviously shakey white client who clearly admitted there might be reprisals in an uncaring city more concerned with newspaper headlines.

    We have a fairly new Police Chief, Chief Noble Wray. However while his brass is newly minted, he was the acting chief for several months. He has seen a city where a more qualified firefighter was passed over to hire a lesbian Native American to quell community concerns.

    Everyone knows what's going on while the streets become more dangerous.
  7. The Unknown User

    The Unknown User Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    Well, right now, there is this persistent "us vs. them" mentality. The general public doesn't view the police as a necessary force, or as a positive presence.

    I, personally, hold a drastically different view, mostly because I want to go into law enforcement myself. I've never had a negative experience with a law enforcement officer.

    The state trooper who performed my test for my driver's license was incredibly friendly. The officer that pulled me over shortly after I received my license was very courteous, and didn't mistreat me at all. He demanded an honest answer, gave me a written warning, and gave me a stern lecture on why the speed limits exist as they do. The same officer later got me out of a jam when I locked myself out of my car a couple of years later.The only time I got pulled over was on a technicality, but the officer was still respectful.

    I think I'm in a minority of people for holding such a positive view of the law enforcement, which in itself is a problem. Another problem is the treatment of civilians by the police. We've all seen it--whether it be a YouTube video, or personal experience--some officers treat you as a felon until you've proven otherwise.

    It's possible that officers are taught from the incorrect point of view. It is the duty of the police to protect the general public by arresting deviant members of society, as well as to serve the general public. It is not their job to determine guilt, is it? Aside from collecting evidence and putting people in a cell, they have no further part in the judicial system as far as I understand. I think they need to be taught that they are not there to mistreat the public.

    But then again, you can't just fix the police--you have to fix the prejudices present in society. Some of that prejudice is perpetuated by improper, or even illegal, treatment of civilians by officers, and so of it has no basis in reality to begin with.

    Another idea I have is to integrate officers with the public more. Usually, when I see an officer, they're sitting in their car behind a big tree waiting to catch a speeder. But, there used to be an officer in my town who patrolled the shopping area in my town on a bicycle. It was nice to see him outside of a car with the window up; it let me see the officer as an equal, and a fellow human being. (Sorry if that sounds corny.)

    There was a DARE officer that came to my classes during elementary school, who was very friendly to all of us, and there was an officer at my high school, but I never saw him interacting with students outside of the students known for their (ahem) undesirable behavior (read: the police were most definitely involved).

    To summarize:
    1. No more "us vs. them"
    2. Sensitivity training: civilians are not criminals for merely existing
    3. Integrate law enforcement with the public, and start early so that children understand the police are there to assist them

    Post your paper here when you've completed it. :D
  8. SWMAN

    SWMAN Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    Northern Virginia
    College graduates, pass written exam, psychology exam, polygraph exam, start'em out at about 45K a year.
  9. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Madison, WI
    Well I'm not saying it or implying it. The OP used the word "improve" and there is clearly a lame-brain policy in my city.

    Clearly 1/3 of my associates are cops. As an MC member, half of them were cops.

    A "critique" is not always implied as an insult. It is an assessment. We can have good cops toiling under rotten policies. In fact, we do.
  10. husbandofaromanian

    husbandofaromanian Member

    Feb 3, 2008
    Nashville, Tn
    Increase their pay and terminate their employment when a better candidate wants the job. Make it super competitive.
  11. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

    May 9, 2005
    Instead of changing the police, how about changing some of the ridiculous rules and regulations both they and we are bound by?

  12. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    Maybe a better question would be, "How much more are you willing to pay in taxes for additional training and retention of police officers?"

    Economists will tell you there is not a lot of magic or voodoo here.

    If you are willing to pay for more training, then you will probably get more training. If you don't pay for more training, you will probably will not get more training. That's true for law enforcement officers, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. There is no magic here.

    The cost or more training is two fold:
    1. When an officer (or a butcher, baker, etc.) is in training, there is other work they are not doing. Since law enforcement is 24/7 work, you have to pay someone else to cover the shift of the officer being trained.
    2. You have to pay for the training itself (trainer facilities, etc.).

    The other cost is a little more subtle - in general, more highly trained employees are more expensive. That's also for two reasons:
    1. Recruting employees who have the skills and motivation to succeed at higher levels of training is more expensive than recruting employees who don't have the skills or motivation to succeed at higher levels of training.
    2. Once you have trained someone, they are more valuable in the market - and someone else might hire them away. There are a number of officer each year who get a law degree. They usually (in my experience) do not stay on the force very long after they pass the bar. Why?

    So there is no deep incantation here - by and large, if you want higher quality employees (as defined by better skills an training), there is an additional cost.

    So how much more are you willing to pay in taxes to improve the performance of you local police force?

    Most people aren't willing to pay much more in taxes for better recruiting, training, or retention of police officers. They may whine occasionally, but they aren't willing to pay more.

  13. Superlite27

    Superlite27 Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    I think we could benefit by changing the way we approach unliked behavior from police officers. Right now, we seem to be fighting fire with fire.

    I realize that many officers intent is to search so thoroughly that they finally find something to arrest for. This is why people get pulled over for failure to use their turn signal, and it results in a million questions about everything, resulting backup, sniffer dogs, and a complete search of the vehicle........for a turn signal violation.

    While oppressive and jack-booted, all it does is anger the common citizen. It serves as a witchhunt for the sake of burning witches.

    BUT......what do you believe retaliating by formal complaints, investigations, officer discipline, and other means of retaliation accomplishes? Do you think it solves the whole problem? or, logically, does it do the SAME TO THE POLICE AS IT DOES TO US: Create the wish to retaliate?

    The last time I checked, the best way to fight fire was with WATER.

    Any conflict....ALL CONFLICTS...(past and future) have never been solved by retaliation. Look at it. Have the Palestinians solved anything by firing rockets into Tel Aviv? Has Isreal solved anything by bulldozing houses? If a gang member shoots a rival, does the rival's family solve it by shooting the gang member?

    In order to take this road, a person must be willing to completely obliterate the force on the opposite side. No matter what side of what conflict. In order to be successful in the A vs. B escalation, either A or B must be willing to COMPLETELY DESTROY the other.

    Which is most likely in the retaliation war with the police? Do you have the capability of COMPLETELY DESTROYING THEM? If not, you have already lost.

    But this is taking into account that ALL OFFICERS intend to behave as jack-booted thugs. Remember, by taking the retaliation road, you will not only have to completely obliterate the bad ones, but you have now alienated the good ones. By retaliating, you have effectively ensured that ALL OFFICERS will retaliate in turn. YOU HAVE CREATED WHAT YOU DISLIKE THE MOST. By lowering yourself to return the tactic that a FEW have used on you, you have ensured that ALL will now use it. By using their tactic on them, you have become what you hate the most.

    How do we solve the problem of jack-booted officers?

    We do not become like them. We use what everyone has previously suggested. WE REWARD THE GOOD ONES! We FIGHT FIRE WITH WATER!

    This ensures that the behavior we LIKE is emulated. It provides a goal for officers to achieve. It makes officers feel appreciated and more likely to persist doing the things that actually benefit us. HELPING US. It is so easy and obvious.


    A compliment when we receive treatment we like.

    Now, explain to me the benefit of punishing bad officers over rewarding the behavior you receive from the good ones. Want to ensure officers treat you respectfully? The next time you have a positive encounter with an officer, call his supervisor and let them know it was appreciated.
    "A neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality." - Irving Kristol
  14. Navy_Guns

    Navy_Guns Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    Pass a law for mandatory beatings of any and all motorist that flees and causes a chase. If you don't like the beating idea, I'd accept alternatives like pepper spray, bean bag round to the abdomen, or tazering. I think it's insane that criminals endanger everyone in these chases, get the officers adrenaline up, and then cry foul when they get a bruise or sprain when apprehended.

    Just my opinion (and you know what people say about opinions..)
  15. Mr. Designer

    Mr. Designer Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    Stop them from writing speeding tickets.:)
  16. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    It's really very simple.

    You will NEVER see me post or even say anything about what makes a great quarterback. I don't have the slightest interest in football, and don't even CARE. More importantly, there's virtually ZERO chance of my having ANY contact with quarterbacks, good, bad or indifferent. Even were I to run into a quarterback for the Browns, in the grocery store or on the street, the odds of that interaction even having the mere POSSIBILITY of it costing me my freedom or my life are vanishingly small. Can you say the same thing about interacting with police?

    That having been said, it is manifestly in my best interest that law enforcement personnel be above all else, mentally stable, followed by honest, followed by competent. I've lived in places where NONE of those could be taken as a given. I have relatives who still live where that's the case.

    I don't have to want to be a cop, much less try to be one, to not want psychos, violent criminals, or incompetent buffoons running around with badges and guns endangering my life and at my own expense no less.

    You may argue over what qualities make a good cop, but no sane person would dispute that SOME effort must be made to at least define what a "good cop" IS and to exclude or expell those who don't measure up. The alternative is to just shrug and simply hope that you don't run into an Alvin Weems, that your sister the barmaid doesn't run into a Tony Abbate, or that your aunt doesn't marry a Bobby Cutts, Jr.

    I don't have to want to be a cop to not want to see on YouTube, one of my female cousins getting her face kicked in by somebody who never should have been a cop in the first place.
  17. 308win

    308win Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Ohio - The Heart of it All
    It all starts at the top - if those in charge tolerate or otherwise foster this kind of behavior it isn't going to change.
  18. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    That is an unjustifiably broad statement.

    I have a generally favorable opinion of the police in the town where I live. They seem honest and reasonably competent. They don't strike me as hyper-motivated, but neither do they typically stand around watching serious crimes take place. When you call them, they come in what I would consider a reasonable amount of time; not quick enough to save me from being violently murdered by someone on scene, but then I think it's unreasonable to expect that from ANY police department.

    Contrast this with my hometown, Chicago. I won't bother to catalog even the last 12 months of atrocities and pratfalls that the Chicago PD has racked up. Suffice to say that if the public at large intensely dislikes and mistrusts the police where they live, there's invariably a reason for it. I'm not talking about people not liking to get speeding tickets, or resenting being arrested for committing felonies. I'm talking about people not liking the police operating home invasion, burglary and kidnapping rings, committing sexual assaults, savagely beating women, and soliciting murders for hire.

    I would suggest that where police engage in those activities, people SHOULDN'T like the police, certainly no more than they'd like anyone ELSE who did those things. And if you DON'T want them doing those things, you have to establish strict codes of behavior and enforce them without exception. All the "training" in the world won't stop bad cops from committing crimes if you demonstrate that you won't sternly punish bad behavior. If you want to deter speeders, you have to punish speeding. If you want to deter bad cops, you hve to punish police misconduct. That's it. There isn't ANY other way.
  19. george_co

    george_co Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    Well, first of all I would improve the citizen. Mandatory militia duty as an assistant to a cop for six months for all reasonably able citizens. What would this do? It would make the public more educated about the problems facing society. I believe better policy decision would be made as a result.

    Secondly, teach cops (and for that matter other public employees and elected officials) that just because they have their hand in the pocket of the public, doesn't give them the right to due things that they know is wrong, but they know the citizen can't afford to take them to court over.

    Thirdly, teach everyone that the end does not justify the means.

    The problems with the perceptions, and sometimes reality, of the police is not thier fault alone, alot of it falls back on the citizens.

    I am not now, nor ever been, nor never wanted to be a cop. I am a public employee who has seen and heard too many of my fellow workers believing that the end justify the means, and we can do what we want because we have the public pocketbook to defend us whether what we are doing is morally right or wrong.

    And, I know the first one will never fly but I believe that it is the truth.

  20. primlantah

    primlantah Member

    Nov 2, 2007
    i have seen these kinds of threads go bad fast. People have the idea that if your not a cop you dont have the right to complain about their practices, expect a particular behavior, or provide criticism.... it all become cop bashing to these people(bruised egos i think). But EVERY SINGLE tax paying citizen has every right to say how they feel about cops and to expect a certain behavior from them because.... citizens who pay taxes(and ridiculous tickets) pay cops salaries.

    Im not bashing cops... but anyone with a government job needs to keep in mind they do work for the public and their interaction with the public is critical.
  21. dewage83

    dewage83 Member

    Nov 30, 2007
    I HOPE and PRAY this thread stays open i think it is VERY HIGH ROAD in the arguments. Even the "stop giving speeding tickets" lol but I believe you could get people to pay for better police training as long as they SEE the benifit. there will always be an US vs THEM additude unfortunatly because like my grandmother told me " a few bad apples spoil the bunch"- meaning in my interpretation, a few bad examples of police acting out of character(to say the least) ruins a lot of peoples view of MANY officers...and lastly i think mandatory beating for more than fleeing the crime scene/ engaging in pursuit, it would help deter criminals IMO.
  22. coyotehitman

    coyotehitman member

    Dec 29, 2007
    The pay is fine in my region, I'll consider the second statement a joke as it would be a perfect way to make qualified candidates thumb their nose at the profession, and if it became any more competitive to get hired in LE, nobody would meet the hiring criteria.

    Add two panel interviews, an extensive background check, a physical agility test, an additional polygraph (post offer), and a complete physical and stress test and you have described the standards of most accredited departments in my area.

    I wouldn't erradicate it, I would harness it. IMO Believing that you are elite is not a bad thing. I believe that mentality can be harnessed and I also believe it instills confidence and improves morale in the department. Having confidence to do your job, and the backing of an administration that is not afraid to ram heads with the media or public when an officer faces frivolous complaints or has obviously done nothing wrong, alleviates the stress, politics, and mistrust that makes officers cynical. Much worse is working for a department that bends to political pressure, second guesses an officers decisions, and forces its officers to behave dangerously timid to appease the public.

    My recommendations:

    After announcing publicly that past problems have been identified, steps are being taken to address and make improvements, advising that, as with any process, it will take time to fix the problems, and asking for the public's support and patience while the changes are implemented, I would:

    1. Employ a respectable department head
    2. Set a standard
    3. Hire the best qualified applicants for the job without regard to race, sex, etc. Eleminate cronyism, nepotism, and promotions based on the Peter Principle.
    4. Provide the necessary training, skills, and resources to enable employees to meet the standards you have set. Ensure their success.
    5. Expect performance and hold underperformers accountable for their actions in a fair and impartial manner.
    6. Express the department standards to the public. Let them know that officers are expected to behave ethically and professionally--no more, no less. This does not mean that they have to be nice friends of the family, coddle criminals, kiss anyone's ass, or cut special breaks to someone with "special friends." As a department, do not be afraid to say "No, I'm sorry to inform you we do not provide that service" or "I understand your complaint, however, the officer was following policy and, after review, I find that he met the standards set forth by the department.

    7. Use this answering machine message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL5P4tkOpTA :)
  23. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Richmond, VA
    Video cameras. Lots of video cameras.

    I'm not anti-cop at all. Most are just hard working Joe's trying to earn an honest living. But there are always a few bad apples in every crowd. Get the bad apples on video and turning it over to the local TV stations is usually pretty effective.
  24. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    The government doesn't "reward" me for not selling crack, molesting children or setting fire to occupied dwellings. It arrests, indicts, and convicts me for DOING these things. The "reward" for a police officer NOT beating a woman in a drunken stupor is the same as mine for not stealing out of the company till. I get to keep my job, and get raises and promotions.

    Since you don't believe in "retaliation" via official complaint by citizens who've been abused by police, please tell everyone how you would counsel Katerina Obrycka after her savage beating by Officer Anthony Abbate of the Chicago Police Department. Feel free to take as much space as you want.
  25. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    Here in Seattle the state patrol gets a bad rap whenever they do something beyond write up a ticket, such as make an arrest. It hits the news, and the impression is given that they've done something that is supposed to be the responsibility of the Seattle Police Dept. I don't know if this view is perpetuated by the news, the public, or the police, but it's very tangible.

    We hear a lot about police brutality here, too. Once in a while the paper will run stories of crooked cops, molesting cops, or cops who seem to have a taste for violence & abuse of authority, yet who always slip through the disciplinary system squeeky clean. The Seattle WTO and Mardi Gras fiascos are still fresh in the public's memory, and as a result the average person has an aversion to uniformed authority.

    I think the only answers are good PR and high standards for who we allow to wear the badge. Officers are figures of authority, and as such the public holds them to the highest standards of professionalism and morality. Sadly, it only takes a few bad apples to make the whole profession look bad.
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