Are the Police a Purely Reactive Force?

Another day, another tragedy.

Driving to work there was a massive speed trap set up on one of the roads I take.

Is that all they are good for? Revenue? How many times are we to witness this carnage? Shouldn’t the police be doing the hard work of, well, policing? Maybe I am over reacting. Enlighten me in the comments.

10 thoughts on “Are the Police a Purely Reactive Force?”

  1. Yes, police should be strictly reactive. While it would be nice to imagine police doing the hard work of policing, if by that you mean preventing crime, it would mean something different in practice. It would mean an intrusive state agency investigating innocent people to find the occasional potential bad one to put them away before they do harm. Do you really want to give that power to the Lois Lerners and Hillary Clintons of the world? Do you really want more Fast and Furious? That’s the price for a proactive police force.

    Now, by another tragedy, I assume you mean Nice. That’s not a police problem, that’s a national security problem. You should be looking at the intelligence agencies and the military and their political supervision on that. And they have screwed that up royally for 8 years. But that’s what the people wanted, and they got it good and hard. When we recognize we are at war and act accordingly, this problem will start to diminish.

    As to police as revenue collectors, talk to your legislator :).

  2. They use to be, at one time police were in the job of “maintaining public order” not “enforcing the law”. The problem some people had is “maintaining public order” involves selectively enforcing and sometimes outright breaking the law.

  3. “Stop and frisk” was proactive and preventing crime. We are not allowed to do that anymore.

    Broken Windows will be next. Rudy Giuliani is now “Far Right Wing to the NY Times.

    “Death Wish 5” will be in production in another year or two.

  4. It’s a pain-in-the-a*s. I got a ticket in New Hampshire years ago…from an airplane. Never saw it. Got to the toll booth and they had something for me. Irritating. It also seems that when traffic is heavy, and you have yahoo’s doing crazy stuff at rush hour, they’re never around. These are the people that cause the enormous delays and accidents with their reckless driving and stunts. Sunday morning? Better watch those shadows by the roadside, someone maybe concealed there.

    As for Nice, that’s due to the enemy within. There’s good reason that citizens can’t find out where elected officials are dumping “refugees”, they see Germany and France as blueprints for our society.

  5. I remember once when driving with my pre-high school aged daughter, we passed a police cruiser sitting between to clumps of bushes in the median of the highway. I didn’t think anything of it (wasn’t driving particularly fast) but she immediately asked, “who would want a job hiding in the bushes waiting for speeders?”

    What is policing? I use the Nixle app to be notified of police activity (among other things) in My Little Town. Yesterday a car was sitting in traffic but when the traffic resumed trafficking the car just kept sitting there. The driver was slumped over the wheel. Apparently someone called the police (they are generally nearby since they do a lot of patrolling in this town) who found the 28 yr-old the driver non-responsive with “an uncovered hypodermic syringe in his lap”. The moron had apparently shot up and passed out. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive they searched the car, found drugs and other paraphernalia, busted his junkie ass and shipped him off to the hospital. He wound up in the lockup ’cause his bond check bounced or something. That seems like a reasonable example of policing to me.

    I used to be involved with sports and school and such in the town and I never heard anyone complaining about the police and speed traps and such. I guess we have a police force rather than a revenuer force.

    One suggestion I give to people who wonder what’s going on in their town is to take a couple hours every now and then and sit in you municipal court and just watch and listen. It is enlightening.

  6. The police respond to the incentives created by local govts and by the voters who elect them. Most voters don’t care what the police do, as long as they think crime rates aren’t too high and they themselves aren’t directly affected by speed traps and other police excesses or abuses of power. OTOH voters generally dislike direct taxes, so local govts will tend to use the police as tax collectors unless a large enough plurality of voters specifically prevents them from doing so.

    There is some truth to the saying that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged and a liberal is a conservative who has been arrested. People in our society who, absent personal experience, take positions on questions such as “What is the proper role of the police?” are rare.

  7. What Jonathan said
    Police don’t choose to become tax collectors, their duty is to enforce the law.
    I heard/read somewhere that one of the first things the much-respected in the wake of the terrible murders Dallas chief of police did was to lower such collections by 50%. (I don’t know if this is because, as we all suspect, police are given quotas or he lobbied to change the laws). It improved community relations, an improvement that could be seen even in the demonstrations there.

    Broken windows policing is different. You can have police that do the one but not the other

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