The thread for police reforms

Sure hope we can add a lot to this.

At any rate I have an idea and wondered how plausible it would be to make thus happen…

You know how you manipulate a spoiled kid who won’t stop screaming cause he has to have candy at the grocery aisle checkout? You give them a choice that feels like they have a say. “You choose - this or that”.

In the case of police reform I suggest the same. You can choose to have full accountability and lose qualified immunity, or you all take massive pay and benefits cuts. The choice is yours.

I am not sure that your suggestion gets at the root of the problem. Pay shouldn’t be used as a stick here; it really isn’t relevant to the issues at hand. Police reform is less about the actual police departments, and more about broader culture, the justice system, and law making. Police implement, or enforce, laws. Sometimes the problems lie in the way the laws get enforced; in those cases, yes, the police themselves are the primary problem. In many cases, though, it’s the laws that are the problem, and cops don’t make laws. Not saying we don’t need to look hard at how departments are interpreting enforcement, and how they interact with people on that level, but we won’t get real reform until we look at changing laws, and that will take a change in culture.

I mean, a huge part of the law enforcement and incarceration crisis centers on drug laws, laws that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt were largely created as part of a political and cultural offensive by reactionary politicians like Nixon, Reagan, and Bush, and which were intended to demonize people of color and drive white voters away from the Democrats and into the arms of the GOP. In turn, the Democrats cravenly opted in to the hysteria about drugs and crime, in order to (unsuccessfully) stem that tide of deserters. It’s a cold hard fact that the drug laws we have created the drug crime we got, and those laws created the prison industrial system in its modern form (it had existed in other forms, of course, for a long time before that, albeit at a smaller scale).

So, if you want to reform law enforcement, start by reforming the legal system, and to do that you are going to need to completely rethink how we approach drugs, crime, and our ideas of “order” and “law abiding citizen.”

I mean lets talk about how different crimes are prosecuted.

Like property crime. Arson, burglary, theft, and all other such property crimes total an estimated $14 billion a year. Thats bad, right?

Well how are these crimes handled in police and legal response compared to the biggest property crime out there, wage theft.

The economic impact of wage theft is devastating. A recent report by
David Cooper and Teresa Kroeger from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
found that in the ten most populous U.S. states, “2.4 million workers lose 40
$8 billion” annually from wage theft. The authors estimate that
41 The effect of wage theft on individual workers is severe. The EPI study
employers steal $15 billion from workers across the country each year. estimates that the average victim of wage theft loses $3,300 per year,
receiving only $10,500 in annual wages

Wage theft exceeds the cost of all other property crimes combined. Yet we don’t hear stories of no knock warrants being served on gated communities of company execs. We don’t see long prison sentences for repeat offenders like we do some poor kid who jacks $100 from a register. Usually the company pays a fine, if anything happens at all.

This is the way society is disadvantaging poor and minorities (because they are disproportionately poor). Steal $100 and go to jail for several years. Steal $1 million, get a promotion for improving investors returns.

Indeed. And none of that can be solved by “police reform.” That takes judicial, legal, and cultural change.

The problem I’m referring to is where cops feel they’re untouchable and this is emboldened by unions holding cities hostage. We need to take back our ability to bargain with them. In nearly every city and county across this country, police unions get everything they want nearly every time they sit down to bargain. Their pay, benefits, and pensions blow away every other public sector employee. When you take into consideration their comparable educational levels it’s even worse.

But I agree we need definitive justice reform in our courts. I hope we have someone who can lead the charge to make a massive, (not small) change in this. But I also want to see the police de-fanged. They’re too dangerous and way too many are quite literally trump bootlickers.

Seems to me that there are two separate problems, even if they come from similar places.

I’m all for changing our ideas of what is a crime, what is a serious crime. But that is going to take some significant amount of persuading among the general population. Legalizing pot, sure, but beyond that, NIMBY.

But police abuse of citizens? The country is ready to rein that in, and we need to do it, while the issue is still on peoples’ minds. Really, it is a question of how, exactly, so that the reforms “stick.”

I lived through all kinds of attempts to reform school abuses, so I have some experience with how the details matter, lest the forces of reaction simply adopt the new rules as tools to prevent change.

With any luck, police reform will lead to a different kind of person choosing law enforcement as a profession, but in the meantime, we have thousands of people who chose the field because it game them an outlet for authoritarian and even sadistic personalities. (Again, not so different from what I have witnessed in education.)

Oh, definitely. There are two different but related issues. I just think it will be very hard to change police culture without a broader cultural and legal change. After all, the reason we get police officers who, as you note, are wearing blue in order to have free rein to wield petty power over average people is that we let them, and encourage them. It’s not just the police unions or the departments, it’s the municipalities, state law enforcement organizations, and society in general that turns a blind eye.

Another reason for removing qualified immunity. On top of this, lawsuits should be paid out of police pension funds, salaries, or their own independent police insurance. I’m tired of us taxpayers having to pay for police malfeasance.

One thing that occurs to me after months of videos and photos of cops acting out are those cops are fat and badly out of shape. One aspect of militarization cops clearly haven’t embraced is fitness standards. Now, I’m not saying that reformed policing ought to include military fitness standards, but if cops are supposed to be trained to react like soldiers, they need a serious fitness regime; and if they don’t need a serious fitness regime, then probably cops aren’t supposed to be trained to react like soldiers.

That’s a damn good point. It seems very much a worst of both worlds situation to have police playing at being military types without any of the fitness or discipline or training of actual military types.And I use the word “playing” deliberately, because the impression I often get watching videos of these folks is LARPers with deadly weapons.

OMG so true. But on the opposite end of the scale are the ripped super fit who are just aching to punish someone physically for any reason possible.

By the nature of the phenomenon–it takes far more dedication and effort to be fit than to not be fit–thankfully those are fewer in number than the others. But, yeah.

Honestly, I don’t see how you realistically fix this system:

Every single thing in that tweet from two years ago is wrong, but muh narrative.

$3-$5 dollars a day doing something insanely dangerous? Sign me up!

Also I note how the whole part about them not being able to do it after they get out isn’t mentioned.
Because it’s true, probably.

But you know, every single thing is wrong. Except for all the parts that aren’t wrong.
Which is… basically all of the parts except the first line because it is a thing you sign up for.

But you can make like $3 a day doing a job the State pays people $91k a year to do.
Which you definitely cannot do after you get out.

No, they don’t do firefighting. They do Type 2 wildland duties which are basically brush removal and clearing fire lanes. The state pays interior structural firefighters $91k a year which is a completely different job and you can’t get as a felon.

I think there is merit in both of y’alls thoughts. On the one hand, our prison-industrial complex is bad enough that we don’t need to exaggerate anything to paint it in the worst possible light. On the other hand, programs like the California fire fighting felons thing are in a gray area, it seems, between reasonable ways of mixing incarceration and rehabilitation, and old-school chain gang cheap labor schemes.

Mind you, I come from a time and place were it was very common for local sheriffs to ring up the state pen or local jail/prison and get convict labor for whatever task the sheriff’s buddies needed done. Not to mention actual chain gangs on state highways, complete with all of the Cool Hand Luke trimmings, minus a guitar-playing, parking meter chopping :Paul Newman.

So turns out the pre-crime unit is actually a thing.

The greatest trick 2020 ever played was making us think it was the year we entered a dystopia rather than the year we simply realized we were already living in a dystopia.

Pasco is one of those exurbs that vote for Trump, where the upper-middle white people flee to go to gated communities mixed with more rural areas full of “good ol’ boys”. It’s full of well known fuckery. That it’s this county is not surprising to me at all.

One random aside from the overall horrifying nature of that story. It mentioned that the system didn’t seem to disproportionately target minorities. When you look at that another way it is saying that when the human equation was removed police harassment, while still prevalent, became less racist than the norm. Hmm, what then does that say about he humans involved?