Who Is To Blame For “Cops Gone Wild”
For many years now our police officers have been gaining in power and authority. So much so that their power and authority is now unquestionable even if it conflicts with our Constitution. Some officers think that it is their job to apprehend, convict and punish those they deem to be criminals. Officers are taught that “innocent until proven guilty” has no place in today's society. In plain english it is “shoot first and ask questions later' or “act now and apologize later”.
Officers now have the power to stop and search whomever they please simply because they don't like the way that person looks or dresses (stop and frisk aka Terry stop). They are no longer hindered by the fourth amendment against unreasonable search and seizure. Often searches that are otherwise illegal are disguised as “drug searches” with officers claiming that a drug sniffing dog alerted to drugs, even though no drugs are found. Officers have also found ways to search for and “arrest” money. Many citizens have had large sums of money confiscated by police. Even when the origins of the money proves to be from a legitimate source, the police refuse to return it to its rightful owner.
Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
Who Is Responsible For Power Creep? Just as bureaucracies tend to feed themselves so do those that are granted power over others. Once given the power to arrest and/or influence the actions of citizens, officers began to enforce their own morals and beliefs instead of the actual laws they are sworn to enforce and uphold. Without proper checks and balances this power quickly began to feed itself and expand.
During the eighties some police departments adopted a policy of arresting gang members and charging them with a made up charge. As soon as the arrested person made bail they would drop the charges. This was a way the police could punish the person both physically (incarceration) and economically (paying a bail bond) without the benefit of due process (act now, apologize later).
YouTube has a lot of videos where police have stopped someone running drug money for the Mexican Cartels and they inform the suspect “just gives us the money and you can go on your way”. The Officer just apprehended, convicted, sentenced and executed the sentence of a criminal all without the benefit of due process I very seriously doubt that is the way the law is supposed to be enforced.
Checks and Balances
Our justice system is designed to provide checks and balances. Laws are promulgated for the good of society by our elected government officials. The police are charged with enforcing those laws. The judicial system (courts) are charged with making the determination of weather a law has been broken. Hence innocent until proven guilty.
Fixing Checks and Balances
EACH AND EVERY CITIZEN is responsible for the functions of our government. It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to contribute in a positive way to our government. At one time police departments aggressively opposed citizens taking video while they made arrests or carried out other duties. In some states it is still illegal to record police. Not allowing citizens to observe police not only creates great mistrust of the police but also allows the police to expand their corrupt powers.
Many times I have heard the argument:
Citizen: You work for me. My tax dollars pay your salary!
Policeman: Here is your penny back, I don't want to work for you. Find yourself another police officer.
The truth is the officer does not work for the citizen. The officer is answerable only to the Police Chief. And the Police Chief is not answerable to the citizens. No. The Police Chief answers only to City Council. It is your City Councilperson that has the power to fire or retire or ask for the resignation of the Police Chief.
The Police Chief knows this only too well. The Police Chief looks to City Council to set the tone or indicate how aggressive the police force is to enforce the laws. This works well for most cities. State police are controlled by our state government (Representatives, Senators and Governor).
According to the above, the place to start complaining is city council. Of course city council will try to deflect the blame back to the Police Chief. Why? Because city council knows that the Police Chief can shoulder the blame with no negative effects. He doesn't have to answer to the citizens on election day because he is NOT is not elected!
The vote is a mighty weapon. It doesn't take much to draw the attention of an elected person. Calls for the elected Councilperson to resign works best. Sometimes simply withholding support for any project the Councilperson may want to carry out. Reminding the Councilperson that come election season his financial support will be aggressively targeted as well as his community support. Now comes the hardest part....the only way this can work is for the citizens to grow a pair and when election season comes around elect someone that has the strength to call for the Police Chief to resign.
It is no longer sufficient to vote democrat or republican or white vs black. It is time to vote for our community. It is time to vote in the best interest of our children. Forget about “I risk my life every day for you”. If a person doesn't want to risk his life, let him find another job. If a Police Officer cannot perform the job the way it is supposed to be performed WE need to hold the elected person responsible. Not the Police Chief.
Equally important is the fact that the Prosecutor picks those serving on the grand jury. And most grand juries will follow the lead of the Prosecutor. Prosecutors are not legally bound to present all evidence to the grand jury. Prosecutors are ELECTED.
The solution is so simple that most citizens will fail to recognize it. Do not waste time, energy and other resources fighting for what is not achievable. Target those that are elected and can and should correct the situation. Locally that would be the Prosecutor and the Mayor and your City Councilperson. ONLY YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE.
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