With all of the talk lately about police brutality and cop killings in the news, I realize that I should revisit an earlier comment I made regarding the police. I threw it at the end of a blog post as a sort of afterthought, so I apologize for not linking to that post—I simply don’t remember what post it was. Anyway, at the end of the post I made a remark about how I have a problem with the police force in general.
I should say that I haven’t really had any problems with police officers personally. I have no idea how any of the local police officers would treat people of different races than myself around here, so I can’t address that issue. Most of my interaction with cops have been somewhat pleasant. One guy was a dick when he pulled me over for running a red light—which I’m still not convinced that I did, but hey, he let me off with a warning anyway. If anything, the cops around here are bored, and they behave as such at times. Again, I’m speaking only from personal experience.
No, my problem with the police is more institutional. I just don’t think we need them, certainly not to the extend of which we have them. I get that there should be somebody out there to some degree doing that sort of work. I have no problem with State Troopers, and a local force in the larger municipalities. But you get too much beyond that you start wasting resources. And yes, I would allow for a small force, maybe enlarging it during tourist season (like York Beach does, for example).
Of course, we could do something like, oh, I don’t know, legalize recreational drugs and the need for the police would diminish greatly overnight. I’m glad that conversation is starting to turn around on its head but the day we see such rational solutions enacted is still a far way off. But really, do we need to enforce every law in the first place? How often do laws go unreported in the first place?
So my problem with the police doesn’t have anything to do with police brutality, corruption or even just cops who are dicks. My problem is more on an institutional level. I just don’t think we need as much policing that we have. That could lead to issues regarding corruption, anyway. If there are more cops, there are more cops to go bad. But that’s more hypothetical than I want to get with this. Instead, let’s say that if there are more cops, there are more cops to pay for. I don’t just mean in terms of salary, but expenses as well. Did my town really just need to upgrade the police vehicles from sedans to SUV’s? And let’s not get started with the militarization of the police. That’s already been covered to death in the media elsewhere.
Do I think this blog post is going to get very far in causing change? I seriously doubt it. Nobody’s salary is jeopardy, so I hope this wouldn’t anger anybody. I doubt it would even make its way to any police officer. Like I said, I don’t have a problem with any particular officer. I wouldn’t care to piss any individual off. But on the other hand, I do have a problem with the organization that they work for.