America is facing an epidemic of violence. Our police officers are overworked, overburdened, and faced with increasingly conflicting duties and imperatives. If we want to uphold law and order in America, we must strengthen our police forces and enable them to face the challenges of the 21st century. This essay outlines a comprehensive six-point proposal for doing just that.
Too often, police officers will be required to perform jobs that they aren’t trained for—and then punished when they do their best anyways. We must protect our police from this Kafkaesque Catch-22. We must enable police officers to focus on their real job of catching violent criminals—and that means shifting the burden of mental health and other social service calls onto other departments that are properly trained and equipped to deal with them. Our police officers are trained to deal with violent, dangerous criminals—not ordinary people having a bad day.
I’ll be blunt: we don’t need highly-paid, highly-trained police officers camped out at stop signs twiddling their thumbs, waiting for a moving violation to happen. In the midst of our epidemic of violence we need our police officers on the front lines tracking down murderers, robbers, rapists, and other violent criminals. This is why we must free police officers from this drudge work, and put traffic enforcement back in the hands of the people who design the streets in the first place, such as local departments of transportation. Departments of Transportation are in a better position to balance the uses of enforcement officers, automated technology like red light cameras, and infrastructure changes like traffic calming.
Across America, hard-working young men have been forced into a life of crime by government overregulation. The war on marijuana has overcrowded our jails, overworked our police officers, and distracted us from the real work of dealing with violent crime. As we’ve seen in states across America, ending the fruitless war on marijuana can create jobs and promote industry and thrift in young people, while bringing in much-needed tax revenue and safety regulations. We must stop overcrowding our jails and overworking our police officers with enforcing burdensome government regulation to no social benefit!
Elliot Ness brought down Al Capone—but even he couldn’t stop the booze. It is a likewise unfortunate fact of human society that men will pay for sex. And it is a similarly like fact that the prohibition on prostitution has created a criminal underworld where rape, pedophilia, and human trafficking can flourish. These heinous crimes are enabled and supported by a culture of silence, in which witnesses and victims are too afraid or too unwilling to go to the police with what they know. By ending the criminalization of sex work, we can end this culture of silence, and bring the pedophiles and predators hiding in their midst to light. As a side benefit, we also protect our police officers from the common temptations of policing such communities!
The distrust between rank and file police officers and “the rats” in Internal Affairs is legendary—and understandable. Informing on your coworkers sows distrust and suspicion. Such distrust can be lethal in the life-or-death situations we expect our police officers to deal with on a daily basis. For that reason, we must move such matters to a panel of law-enforcement experts appointed by the mayor with the power to investigate and discipline abuses among law enforcement. This panel will uphold standards of professionalism and expertise, while protecting our hardworking police officers from the corruption of bad apples.
We have seen time and again what happens when greedy local officials turn hard-working police officers into tax farmers: distrust, alienation, and crime. Police officers depend on the cooperation of honest Americans to report and testify on the problems in their community. Such cooperation is undermined when the police officer is also the tax man. This is why we must prevent profit from corrupting the mission of police departments, and abolish predatory fines and civil asset forfeiture. Police officers are here to protect taxpaying citizens from violent criminals—not play at being tax farmers themselves.
Calls to abolish our police are misguided and unproductive. The American people want a police force that genuinely serves and protects—that identifies, prosecutes, and punishes the rapists, murderers, and robbers who prey on the rest of us. Our current system has heaped our police with too many distractions and left them unable to focus on this pressing goal. By freeing our police departments from the mess of busywork and false imperatives we have burdened them with, we can create a freer, stronger, safer America in the twenty-first century.
Featured Image is The Centennial Police – Their Universal Answer