There is a wide variance of opinions by this blog’s readership when it comes to the roll of the police/sheriffs/state police in society.
One thing that strikes me is that many believe that the outcome of police actions is something that police officers concern themselves with. In rural jurisdictions where everyone knows everyone, maybe. In urban settings, no. If a person is found not-guilty by a jury, that’s on the jury. If evidence is excluded and a motion to dismiss is granted, often the arresting officers are never notified. There is rarely time and with the volume of arrests and activities, by the time something goes to court, the officers may only have a vague recollection of the matter.
Most police officers in urban environments feel ‘punished’ on a regular basis whether justified or unjustified by administration, by the public in general and by working conditions, which are rarely optimal.
Once in the system, they tough it out until they can leave the business with a pension which will see them into their dotage. In the mid 1970’s the average life expectancy of a police officer in the US was 54 years. Many agencies at the time pegged retirement age at 55. That wasn’t accidental. However, fewer officers smoke, drink and the life expectancy is more in line with the general population these days.
You can help the police care less about their jobs, and about doing a good job. They don’t need to stop the suspicious vehicle cruising a neighborhood at night (trust me, you can’t drive down the street without violating SOME provision of the vehicle code, so there can be cause for a traffic stop). They don’t need to respond promptly. There is no legal requirement that they respond at all. Maybe a social worker will be sent to comfort the victim of an armed robbery or a rape or an arson. No need to get the courts involved. That seems to be a flavor of the moment. Many states are releasing people convicted of serious violent felonies decades earlier than they would otherwise be eligible. (It’s job security for the police)
I have a son-in-law in the business in Southern California and he along with many others are considering relocating out of state and commuting to work for their three-day (12 hour) shift and bunking in a commonly shared apartment, then driving home for their four days off. My family has real estate agents coming by next week to give them a sense of the market value of their home. It’s not a threat. It’s cause and effect. I am not personally in favor of that sort of work situation, for the historical record.
There may be a move to force officers/deputies to live in the cities or counties or states where they work, but the courts have routinely shot those actions down. And they all have the shared apartment for a local address anyway.
The loss of qualified immunity on top of everything else may please members of the public, but the officer’s stake in the positive outcome from policing will drop even if cities and counties buy massively expensive malpractice insurance. The truth is that once an officer is sued, and a payout is made, they wouldn’t be insurable and they’d have to quit anyway. And while some of you are thinking that only bad apples can be sued, think again. They can be personally sued presently under qualified immunity if they act outside of the lawful scope of employment. Nobody would last long enough on the job to figure out how to do the job. Hiring standards drop, convicted felons who are judgment proof because of their poverty carry badges and guns. And how cool is that? You can sue them all you want.
As I’ve pointed out on this blog often enough, it doesn’t matter to me personally. There are no police/sheriffs where I live. The White Wolf Mine is remote. I can call a sheriff and somebody may show up in a few hours or the next day or even within the week. Whatever problem would force me to call the sheriff will be solved hours before they arrive. So if no deputy sheriff ever arrives, it’s no big thing. Fund, defund, disband, whatever. People sort things out on their own in the remote corners of America. But it’s not that way in the inner cities.
And while I have removed myself from the equation and somebody driving down the dirt road to my house is an event, that’s not true of family. Most are forced to work and live in areas where police/sheriffs are needed. For their sakes, I do care.