Monday, June 22, 2020

Police Work

The entire country is involved in a debate about the nature of police work, and how it affects the folks in the country.  How should government police the jurisdiction so that the people are safe?  It's an interesting question that bears on the society in which we live.

Police work today is very different than it was when I began policing in the early '80s.  At that time, for example, there were no cops in the schools.  or in airports.  As our society evolved, so did the nature of police work, and the police started getting involved in things on a gradual basis.  Sometimes as a result of an horrific event (Columbine, 9/11), but more frequently, simply on the basis is some well-thinking organization asking for help, and the police administrator simply trying to be nice.

This led to mission-creep, and police agencies got bigger simply because they needed more people to do those things that were considered necessary, but outside the realm of traditional police work..  Somebody is having an event.  They ask the police department to send a police officer.  The administrator sends a police officer.  Nothing happens.  The fact that nothing happens is taken as iron-clad proof that the police officer was necessary at the event, when there is no evidence to support that claim.  I used to have this argument frequently with my supervisors.

Me: "That was a total waste of time."

Supervisor: "But it made everybody feel better."

Me: "It was still a waste of time, energy, and resources.  There was no problem, no reason for me to be there."

Most police calls-for-service don't involved criminal activity.  And, I'm not even talking about traffic accidents, which are generally a prelude to a civil suit.  That's a whole 'nuther topic.  But, most calls-for service are not criminal in nature.  Let's take, for example, the incident involving Rayshard Brooks, the gy who was recently shot at the Weindy's restaurant in Atlanta.

Rayshard fell asleep in the drive-thru.  Someone called the police.  What happened next is a tragedy on so many levels that I won't go into it all here.  But, the question remains, why were the police called?  It certainly is not against the law to all asleep in a Wendy's drive-thru.  Would it not have been better for the manager of that Wendy's to go outside, tap on the window and wake him?  Why call the police?

If we accept that the police have a vital role to play in the maintenance of a free society, and we are going to have a debate about what the role of the police in maintaining that free society, then we also need to think about what role the police will pay.  When we talk about police work, I think we can all agree that the police need to be there for things like murder, rape, burglary, and yes, even traffic accidents.  But, should the police be called when some bozo falls asleep in a drive-thru?

That's not against the law?  It's simply an inconvenience.  The manager needs to trot his ass out there and see if he's asleep, or what the problem might be.


kamas716 said...

I might be wrong, but I thought one of the employees had gone out to the car before the police were called and couldn't wake him up.

R said...

From all the press coverage I've read Rayshard was shot during a DUI arrest. The conduct of the officers involved probably could have been improved but I don't think society is well served by creating an environment where drunk driving is socially acceptable and doesn't face consequences. While some jurisdictions are overly aggressive about arresting/prosecuting people who are obviously attempting to sleep it off in their car without driving it passing out while driving under the influence is a police matter (once it's confirmed that there's no medical emergency) in my opinion.

dogsledder said...

Rayshard was another case where he probably could have been arrested without killing him, just like George Floyd. But HEY ! Everybody ! DON"T' RESIST ARREST ! White poeple KNOW this. Asian people KNOW this. Remember- the cops carry guns ! Obey them when they tell you something. It is an ORDER. If blacks (or anyone) are too stupid to understand this, there will be no solution.