I’m working on a quite serious case involving an innocent man accused of things he could not possibly have done.  This impacts my ability to write the type of blog entry I prefer.

On the other hand, I looked briefly at the news today and I just have to ask again why we’re so insane as to believe that the more police officers we have on the streets, the safer we are.

I started off the morning by reading about a police officer attacking a teenage girl in a jail cell.  Apparently, a 15-year-old girl isn’t adequately controlled in solitary lock-up unless she’s also had her head slammed into a wall, been kicked, hit, had her hair pulled, been slammed to the floor and cuffed. And, of course, it takes two police officers to do the job properly.

Still, she got off better than the guy who — as his last official act on earth — made the mistake of “being a non-English speaker stranded in a confusing place.” He was killed.

That task required five police officers.

I’ve said this before: on any given day, you can pick up a copy of the Fresno Bee and read about some instance of police officers committing crimes and/or otherwise abusing their power.  I haven’t bought the Bee the last few days due to my above-mentioned workload, but this story from the website shows that the Clovis Police Department, which has held patient medical records for two years without filing charges after the computer containing them was seized for allegedly containing child pornography, believes it is not bound by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).  However, the Code of Federal Regulations seems to say otherwise.  (See, e.g., 45 C.F.R. §§ 164.508 and 164.510, to name just two.)

At least they didn’t beat or kill anyone to get the records!

In spite of stories like this, the idiots who run the Murray State News in Kentucky explicitly argue (2015 update: article link disappeared) that,

Too many police officers is something no one should ever complain about.

                                  * * *
These men and women are not at the donut shop shooting the breeze and just kicking back.  These individuals adhere to a proactive mentality of preventing crime rather than sitting back and waiting until situations occur. Anyone who has spent anytime around these dedicated individuals understands how much time they invest in and the effort exerted to try and preserve this community’s safety.

The only people who are complaining about the amount of officers are the people trying to get away with something and ignorant people with little understanding of the dedication put in.

If you have a problem with the people who are keeping you safe at night you should stop complaining and take up a post.

Every day when I read the news, however, I can but wish that our officers were at the donut shop shooting the breeze and kicking back, instead of shooting citizens and kicking teenage kids.  Their proactive mentality of kill or kick first, ask questions later does not make me feel safer.

I have no problem with mythical people who might actually keep me safe at night, but with officers like those I read about every day, I can agree with the editors of Murray State News about one thing: if things keep going like this, some of us may need to take up posts — and use them to knock in a few heads.

0 comments

  1. TO MICHELLE,
    There is no justice. Your story sounds incredible but I believe it. I know a woman who got thrown in jail and had to defend herself against grand theft auto. The vehicle was registered in HER NAME for crissakes. Basically her asshole boss sold her a lemon. She spent $800 fixing the transmission and fell behind on 2 payments. He called the cops and said she stole it. Even with a bill of sale and the registration in her name they arrested her and she spent the weekend in jail before even seeing a judge. Last time I looked, if you defaulted on a loan they come and take the property. You don’t get arrested for theft! What this tells me is that anyone can accuse anyone of anything and these trigger happy assholes will be sent to arrest you. The burden of proof is on the accused no matter what they say. There is no such thing as the ‘bill of rights’ in this country anymore. It is a police state.

  2. TO MICHELLE,
    There is no justice. Your story sounds incredible but I believe it. I know a woman who got thrown in jail and had to defend herself against grand theft auto. The vehicle was registered in HER NAME for crissakes. Basically her asshole boss sold her a lemon. She spent $800 fixing the transmission and fell behind on 2 payments. He called the cops and said she stole it. Even with a bill of sale and the registration in her name they arrested her and she spent the weekend in jail before even seeing a judge. Last time I looked, if you defaulted on a loan they come and take the property. You don’t get arrested for theft! What this tells me is that anyone can accuse anyone of anything and these trigger happy assholes will be sent to arrest you. The burden of proof is on the accused no matter what they say. There is no such thing as the ‘bill of rights’ in this country anymore. It is a police state.

  3. What the heck with the increase in cops? They are like a virus. Are they getting a bunch of federal $ to ramp up the #s and why??? Anybody know?

  4. What the heck with the increase in cops? They are like a virus. Are they getting a bunch of federal $ to ramp up the #s and why??? Anybody know?

  5. I am sick of these cops. They lie, they cheat and steal. We are in a mountain town and the cops do whatever they want and everyone is afraid of them. It’s like a rerun of that movie ‘ My Cousin VInnie’. They are a disgrace. I have had my car, my ski equipment stolen and also been broken into. I never got help from the cops. They are always too busy hassling tourists and drivers. I would rather get mugged than pulled over by one of these thugs. I live in Grand County,

  6. I am sick of these cops. They lie, they cheat and steal. We are in a mountain town and the cops do whatever they want and everyone is afraid of them. It’s like a rerun of that movie ‘ My Cousin VInnie’. They are a disgrace. I have had my car, my ski equipment stolen and also been broken into. I never got help from the cops. They are always too busy hassling tourists and drivers. I would rather get mugged than pulled over by one of these thugs. I live in Grand County,

  7. Lets put the power back in the peoples hands. I think it would be great to, state bt state, put a question on the ballot. “Do you wish to reduce the state police force by 50%?” This would free up funds for more productive things most states so badly need.We as citizens do not need to be harassed by troopers lurking behind every bush to ticket you for speeding while on the way to work, while they can drive like they are above the law and install lights on their personal vehicles weaving in and out of traffic. When a tragedy occurs or a situation develops that would require enforcement. The national Guard could handle the situation.

  8. Lets put the power back in the peoples hands. I think it would be great to, state bt state, put a question on the ballot. “Do you wish to reduce the state police force by 50%?” This would free up funds for more productive things most states so badly need.We as citizens do not need to be harassed by troopers lurking behind every bush to ticket you for speeding while on the way to work, while they can drive like they are above the law and install lights on their personal vehicles weaving in and out of traffic. When a tragedy occurs or a situation develops that would require enforcement. The national Guard could handle the situation.

  9. Your story is far too common. I don’t know that it actually happens as any kind of deliberate attempt to generate more revenue, or if it’s just a side effect of the fact that we really do have too many police officers.

    When you have a bunch of lemons, you make lemonade. And if you have a lemonade business, when you start to run out of lemons, you’ll do whatever it takes to find more, even if you have to grab a bunch of apples and paint them yellow.

  10. Your story is far too common. I don’t know that it actually happens as any kind of deliberate attempt to generate more revenue, or if it’s just a side effect of the fact that we really do have too many police officers.

    When you have a bunch of lemons, you make lemonade. And if you have a lemonade business, when you start to run out of lemons, you’ll do whatever it takes to find more, even if you have to grab a bunch of apples and paint them yellow.

  11. Michelle , I think it has a lot to do with the militarization of law enforcement in post 911 world. In some instance police look at all of us as an enemy having been indoctrinated with their close working relationship with the military in certain areas( Drug war) it seams to have rubbed off this attitude toward the public.

  12. Michelle , I think it has a lot to do with the militarization of law enforcement in post 911 world. In some instance police look at all of us as an enemy having been indoctrinated with their close working relationship with the military in certain areas( Drug war) it seams to have rubbed off this attitude toward the public.

  13. It is my observation that police are not present to merely “protect and serve” but also raise revenue for the state (local, state and federal) and ensure thier own employment. Since the down turn in the economy there has been an obvious increase in law enforcement. The presence is not to curb an upswing in violent crime but rather to ticket j-walkers, drivers not wearing seat belts and drivers on cells ect… (ignore the fact that police can be witnessed on cell phones while driving on a regular basis, I suppose laws dont apply to them). It is better for police to ticket these sort of offenders because it makes easy money for the govt (these sort of charges are seldom are contested) then it is for the police to waste thier time pursuing true crime. If your home is broken into or if you have a domestic issue; good luck getting help.

    Additionally, I believe the increace in police presence also instills a fear in the people, thereby making them easier to control in the future. And you know what…there is not a thing we can do about it!
    Oh and the above poster is absolutly correct about spending time in jail and having to plea to something even when you are innocent. The addage that you are innocent until proven guilty is a fairy tail. My husband spent 3 days in jail and was arrested 2 times and spent 30k defending himself because a disgruntled ex (they had lived together) claimed he stole her nailgun! There was no common sence and he spent 1.5 years fighting the charges to prevent a felony from being put on his record. We wanted to sue but found that it would be too expensive to be worth it. Thats the justice in this country. While dealing with it we learned of worse horror stories. If you have no money…you get no justice and that is the truth.

  14. It is my observation that police are not present to merely “protect and serve” but also raise revenue for the state (local, state and federal) and ensure thier own employment. Since the down turn in the economy there has been an obvious increase in law enforcement. The presence is not to curb an upswing in violent crime but rather to ticket j-walkers, drivers not wearing seat belts and drivers on cells ect… (ignore the fact that police can be witnessed on cell phones while driving on a regular basis, I suppose laws dont apply to them). It is better for police to ticket these sort of offenders because it makes easy money for the govt (these sort of charges are seldom are contested) then it is for the police to waste thier time pursuing true crime. If your home is broken into or if you have a domestic issue; good luck getting help.

    Additionally, I believe the increace in police presence also instills a fear in the people, thereby making them easier to control in the future. And you know what…there is not a thing we can do about it!
    Oh and the above poster is absolutly correct about spending time in jail and having to plea to something even when you are innocent. The addage that you are innocent until proven guilty is a fairy tail. My husband spent 3 days in jail and was arrested 2 times and spent 30k defending himself because a disgruntled ex (they had lived together) claimed he stole her nailgun! There was no common sence and he spent 1.5 years fighting the charges to prevent a felony from being put on his record. We wanted to sue but found that it would be too expensive to be worth it. Thats the justice in this country. While dealing with it we learned of worse horror stories. If you have no money…you get no justice and that is the truth.

  15. I believe cops are abusing our rights, and using scare tactics to get people to falsely confess. It’s happened to me, and I want to move to a country where police respect and fear the people instead of the other way around.

  16. I believe cops are abusing our rights, and using scare tactics to get people to falsely confess. It’s happened to me, and I want to move to a country where police respect and fear the people instead of the other way around.

  17. It has and again I will say its HAS become a big problem the attitude toward the public by the police, I have seen this changing over the years. The feel they are a elite group and trust no citizens, they look at people as criminals from the start and violate the vary laws they suppose to protect. Most need a refresher course in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law. I know this as I once was a cop. I have seen to many people sitting in jail for charges that amount to nothing. They have to wait for a trial date and in most cases are cohursed into excepting a plea for crimes they have not committed, just to get out of jail and try to resume their lives and not lose their jobs and homes. They call this “JUSTICE” I call it a ABOMINATION! No we do not need anymore police enforcing this facist behavior, we need protection against the governmental encroachments that our constitution is suppose to provide us with, the police are not protecting us, they are protecting a system that is like a machine out of control feeding itself at the cost of our liberty.

  18. It has and again I will say its HAS become a big problem the attitude toward the public by the police, I have seen this changing over the years. The feel they are a elite group and trust no citizens, they look at people as criminals from the start and violate the vary laws they suppose to protect. Most need a refresher course in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law. I know this as I once was a cop. I have seen to many people sitting in jail for charges that amount to nothing. They have to wait for a trial date and in most cases are cohursed into excepting a plea for crimes they have not committed, just to get out of jail and try to resume their lives and not lose their jobs and homes. They call this “JUSTICE” I call it a ABOMINATION! No we do not need anymore police enforcing this facist behavior, we need protection against the governmental encroachments that our constitution is suppose to provide us with, the police are not protecting us, they are protecting a system that is like a machine out of control feeding itself at the cost of our liberty.

  19. I think there is a simplistic but nonetheless plausibly applicable statistical model of law enforcement that implies that there is an optimum number of law enforcement officers (LEOs), and more than that number is undesirable. Assume that the populace can be divided into those committing a crime, and those that are not, and that law enforcement is good at catching those that are guilty, but also has a certain rate of false alarms (i.e. innocent people are accused). Now, with an insufficient number of LEOs, many criminals will not be caught because LEOs can only arrest so many in a day; even so, a few innocent will be accused. As the number of LEOs is increased, one comes to the point where there are enough to catch most all criminals, but with a corresponding increase in false accusations. Beyond this point in terms of number of LEOs, however, there can be no increase in actual criminals caught; only an increase in innocent people falsely accused. Since the unnecessary LEOs need to justify thier jobs, they will undoubtedly accuse more innocent people or enforce minor crimes. Beyond the optimum number, no benefits accrue, and there are increasing costs in reduced civil liberties, innocent people convicted, etc, to say nothing of the economic burden in paying for the officers, the infrastructure, courts, attorneys, judges, … This is an example of the application of signal detection theory first published by Green and Swets, which basically showed that whenever there is a system with uncertainty (noise), there are always tradeoffs, an increase in hits entails an increase in false alarms, and the optimum decision point is determined by the benefits and costs associated with each.

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