Tag Archives: Law Enforcement

A Good Police Officer Is A Humble Police Officer

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

I have a great respect for police officers. Like soldiers, they selflessly put their lives on the line for my safety. But a good police officer is a humble one. They understand that they are not above the law—they are there to serve and protect the citizenry. When a humble and respectable person is wrong, they admit it. More importantly, when they’re wrong, and a 12-year-old kid asks for their badge number, they give it up and show dignity and honor for the job they are charged with. This Las Vegas police officer however, has traded such dignity and honor for a sense of entitlement and a god-complex.US_Park_Police_badge[1]

He did something illegal by parking his motorcycle where a motorcycle shouldn’t be parked unless he had been chasing someone, or doing other official police business that required an emergency parking job. As it turns out, he was getting food/drink and he got called out on his illegal parking by young Jeremy Drew, a kid with a pretty good sense of justice.

If this officer had a shred of dignity, he would have looked at Jeremy and said something like, “You know, you’re right. My sincerest apologies. I was wrong to park here. Here’s my badge number, and if you feel a duty to report me, then by all means, you should do so.” Would the officer had been so kind had I parked my motorcycle there while I got lunch?

Las Vegas PD Officer In Question
Las Vegas PD Officer In Question

Then that officer should seriously reflect on why he became a cop in the first place, and whether he’s serious about defending the Constitution and local laws—therefore not violating them himself. He then should either resign if he doesn’t have the honor to do the job properly anymore, or change his way of thinking and behaving if he does.

Many police get upset when we citizens show little respect for them. To those officers I say this: don’t do actions that are disrespectful, hypocritical, arrogant, or plain illegal, and you won’t usually get disrespected. The corrupt among you, the indifferent among you, and the good officers who do nothing about the bad ones, serve as the main reason respect for the badge is waning.

We all know bad cops are bad, but that’s simply not the whole issue. I understand the idea of the police “brotherhood,” but if one of your fellow officer’s is out of line and you accept it, allow it, and/or condone it, you’re indifference might as well be an endorsement. If it is a crime for a person watching a murder to do nothing (depraved indifference), then you as police officers should also do something to stop your fellow officers when they do wrong as well.

The honor for the badge should be far more important than the honor for the random person behind it. If they don’t respond apologetically and remorsefully—showing clear signs such behavior will cease, then maybe a discussion with superiors or internal affairs is in order.

While most police officers are good, the ones that are doing illegal and/or inexcusable acts are rarely dealt with when their offense is only a misdemeanor like above, and this tolerance of bad behavior is exactly why America has shifted from a country that heralded Andy Griffith to a country that embraces the “F*** the police” mantra so prevalent in pop culture these days.

In another instance, on May 26th, 2012, a Portland Maine law student who remained unnamed by choice, was carrying a sidearm, as is his Constitutional right. A resident with what appears to be little understanding of the rights to carry a sidearm, decided to call the police and report the innocent open-carrier. Officers were dispatched to the scene. See the story here:

Again, an officer was in the wrong, and reacted incorrectly once confronted by a citizen who was in the right. Here’s what should have transpired but didn’t.

  • An officer should have never been dispatched. The person who called the police should have been advised by the dispatcher that carrying a weapon is a legal act and that they cannot dispatch an officer unless it appears there is an illegal act happening.
  • The officer merely did his duty in responding, but he was incorrect in his interpretation of the law. I can forgive an officer for not being in command of the laws like a lawyer—a law degree takes a lot longer to attain than your typical police academy certification. But if someone is telling you the law, and they seem to know what they’re talking about, especially when you don’t, then stop acting like you do. The law student was right, which means the officer was either purposefully being incorrect, or just wasn’t certain and thought he knew the law. Either way, arguing with someone when you don’t know you’re right is pure arrogance. What would have been so hard about saying, “You may be correct, let me check with my superior” or “You’re right sir, my mistake” once corrected by the law student.

There are a litany of videos of police officers abusing their power, these are merely two. The military and police are somewhat similar, yet where the military is revered for its respect and honor, the police are too often not. The one glaring difference between the two is labor unions—soldiers aren’t unionized. When union entitlement mentalities take over a workforce, the workers rarely fear for losing their job. Someone with little fear of getting fired, isn’t so compelled to do the right thing—in government, this is a recipe for abuse.

When legislators, police, and other government employees violate the law, the penalties imposed are usually far less severe than what John Q Public might endure if he committed the same offense. This is fundamentally wrong in a country where “We the people” give power to the government.

Instead, government officials should be penalized more severely. I didn’t take an oath to defend the Constitution, but they did—they know better. If we can’t trust them, who can we trust? And if we can’t trust them, “We the people” who actually have the power according to our Constitution, might as well get rid of them. Would you hire an employee if you thought they would steal from you?

Barney Fife and Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show
Barney Fife and Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show

We voters must vote to rid our government of organized labor so that we can better hold the rule-breakers accountable. But police must start to care about the honor of their profession and police themselves as stringently is they police us. Doing so will yield top quality public servants. Until then, we get the Barney Fifes and/or Joseph Miedzianowskis instead of the Andy Griffiths and Elliot Nesses. We deserve better.

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Contrary To Popular Belief, Laws And Police Rarely Prevent Crime

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

What are laws actually for? If you’re thinking to prevent crime, think again. While I don’t support anarchy, if there’s no laws to be broken, there’s no crime, right?

The legislature writes laws to set a standard for law-abiding citizens to know what will and won’t land them in jail. It’s the best way to ensure fairness in prosecution.

Sure, some of the delusional legislators believe that would-be murderers would pause and think, “I want to kill this person, but Nancy Pelosi says that’s wrong,” but lawmakers with critical thinking skills know better.

Nancy Pelosi (D - California)
Nancy Pelosi (D – California)

Taking it further and speaking in absolutes; a law cannot stop a crime—criminal acts are physical actions. In order to stop a moving object, you need another physical object to interfere. Isaac’s Laws of Motion, remember? But a law is just words on a page and cannot technically prevent anything. A police officer could, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Let me give an example of why this nuance of defining standards is important and what happens when it’s done wrong.

In 1995, after the repeal of the national 55 mph speed limit, Montana passed a daytime “reasonable and prudent” law. In what could be one of the most glorious acts of libertarianism ever enacted, the state entrusted the people of Montana to determine for themselves a safe speed to travel under the conditions at any given time. To many people’s surprise, studies showed that letting people drive as fast as they wanted actually reduced highway fatalities. They got to where they were going faster too.

Montana Reasonable and Prudent Speed "Limit" Sign
Montana Reasonable and Prudent Speed “Limit” Sign

Then on March 10th, 1996, at a brisk 85 mph, along came Rudy Stanko and his Camaro, when Kenneth Breidenbach, a Montana Highway Patrol officer pulled him over, citing him for unsafe driving in relation to speed. See the legal arguments here.

Stanko was initially convicted, but “Reasonable and prudent” wasn’t properly written, making Stanko the victim of bad law.

Stanko’s attorneys appealed, stating that the “reasonable and prudent” statute was constitutionally vague—they were right. The judge agreed that a person cannot be cited for not driving reasonably and prudently unless the state first defines reasonable and prudent, which it hadn’t. As such, Stanko had no way of knowing if he was doing something that would earn him a ticket, and thus no way to avoid doing it.

Although I hated to see the Montanabahn go, we cannot allow police officers and courts to arbitrarily decide why one person doing 85 is OK, and the other is not. Why? Officer Ken or Justice Joe, for instance, could cite their cheating ex-girlfriends at will for something they let everyone else get away with—I assume you get the point.

As a libertarian (and a Corvette owner), I of course hoped that Montana would have attempted to define reasonable and prudent, which I concede may have been monumentally difficult, but instead, they reverted back to an actual speed limit of 75 mph, and this great bastion of libertarianism died a sad yet preventable death.

So now that I’ve illustrated the purpose of laws and what a good law does, to be fair, I should point out that some laws may serve as a deterrent. However, crimes of a violent nature are also usually crimes of passion, which are usually only preventable with a weapon, not a law.

So do police prevent crime?

Think about all the times you might call the police. More often than not, they are called because either a crime is in progress or has been committed. Also, when police pull someone over, they are doing so because a traffic law has been broken, not because you were about to run a red light—which was clearly still yellow—dammit.

In both instances, the crime is investigated and/or prosecuted, not prevented. It is a very rare occasion you would call the police before a crime is perpetrated and the police would intervene to stop the act before it was able to be carried out. EC689123235C04BEBFE698A4CC_h231_w308_m5_caksoayGp[1]

Again to be fair though, as evidenced by high rates of recidivism, when police arrest someone who committed one crime, they are often preventing the next one on that felon’s “to-do” list.

To all police officers, if you’re one of the many honorable and law-abiding people putting your life at risk for me on a daily basis, I appreciate you immensely—as we all should. So please don’t assume I’m criticizing your sacrifices.

But I believe preventing crime is ultimately a duty of the people. This is one of the many reasons why we have the 2nd amendment and why we all should be more apt to take advantage of it. We should encourage citizen-based crime prevention options, and stand your ground legislation should be nationwide. If a criminal knew most of the neighborhood was armed and would gladly shoot them without repercussion, the innate sense of self-preservation might just override the desire to steal your car stereo—it is not worth dying for.

As far as the police go, I firmly believe that as a nation we should have far less police officers in favor of more police detectives. I don’t blame the officers themselves, they’re just doing a job, but too often the police serve as a means of income for the community via traffic enforcement instead of preventing and solving crime, and this isn’t in the people’s best interests.

So how do we prevent crime then? As you may have imagined, I have some suggestions. Here’s but a few:

  1. Stop writing unneeded laws: I won’t go deep into the drug debate here, but it is a perfect example. Most violent drug-related crimes occur because recreational drugs are illegal. This idea was proven beyond any doubt during alcohol prohibition and its subsequent repeal approximately 80 years ago. Deep within our nature exists a truism: if you encroach on mankind’s freedom, we will lash out—sometimes quite violently. Don’t believe me, tell your kid not to do something, see what happens.YourSpeed
  2. Reign in entitlements: As long as we’re paying welfare mothers to have welfare babies that serve more as a source of income than an outlet for an abundance of motherly love, we’re going to have children who grow up with little to no sense of morality. If I feel I’m entitled to your car, I’ll likely just take it? However, if we force people to sink or swim, we’ll have a lot more people who develop a good work ethic. People who work for things appreciate them and don’t feel compelled to take what others worked for due to another innate quality in most humans—empathy.
  3. Improve education: Get rid of teacher’s unions, public schools, etc., and have proper free market education. If free markets can make a better car, and I think Russia vs. America proved this, then it can build a better school too. Studies have shown private schools routinely outperform their public counterparts. One look at any prison shows that most of the people in there can’t even spell incarceration. Sure there are genius criminal minds, but contrary to Hollywood hype, they’re not as common as you would think. A smarter society is usually a more peaceful one, whereas most criminals are idiots.
  4. Improve the economy: Some criminals are psychopaths, but some criminals are just desperate. Psychopaths will commit crimes as long as they are free, but with a strong economy, you at least reduce the crimes of desperation.

Ultimately we need to adopt a “No victim, no crime” policy then restore our country’s greatness such that people don’t feel the need to do bad things to survive. but the answer is almost never more laws and more police.