Ser Scot A Ellison

Reforming police, the Blue Wall of Silence

264 posts in this topic

26 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

How about increasing the ratio of locally sourced police officers serving in a particular neighbourhood's police force?

If Billy from neighbourhood X is assigned to patrol that same neighbourhood, it is more likely that he will identify and have empathy with the folks in that neighbourhood compared to Johnny from neighbourhood Y being sent there.

Not going to solve the problem overnight, but surely it will help, and every bit of improvement is surely a positive thing in the current situation.

 

I agree its not going to fix things overnight but that it is a step in the right direction.  I believe officers need to be part of the commuities they police not above those communities.

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Commodore,

Are you saying that police officers who abuse their power and severely injure or kill people who are doing nothing to threaten the person of the officer (or officers) involved or anyone else is a small problem?

I'm saying in terms of volume of incidents, it's analogous to shark attacks vs driving on the highway. 

We empower the state to use force to protect our rights. Any power is inevitably abused/misused, and you do the best to minimize it. 

If the occurrences of abuse/misuse are racially disproportionate, that's unfortunate, but not sure what the solution is (virtue signaling and shaming law enforcement by calling them racist seems to be the preferred tactic). Many of the incidents result in criminal prosecution. 

And examples like Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, and Keith Lamont Scott (a convicted felon on drugs who brandished a weapon he was banned from possessing) generate a bunch of initial outrage, but are soon forgotten once the facts come out. 

My simple solution is to be more selective in what behavior we criminalize.  

 

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Commodore,

Oh, I agree fewer things need to be criminal.  But I also see State abuse of power when Police, the enforcement arm of the State, act outside their authority.  That is a serious issue that should not be ignored.

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I agree its not going to fix things overnight but that it is a step in the right direction.  I believe officers need to be part of the commuities they police not above those communities.

Define being part of the community. Living in the city or town? Or living in the precinct in regard to major cities? Or simply doing x amount of hours of community service in the precinct as a condition of your employment? 

Edited by Arch-MaesterPhilip

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38 minutes ago, Arch-MaesterPhilip said:

Define being part of the community. Living in the city or town? Or living in the precinct in regard to major cities? Or simply doing x amount of hours of community service in the precinct as a condition of your employment? 

Living the part of town they police.  I have sheriff's deputies living in my neighborhood.  I see that as a good thing.

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9 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Living the part of town they police.  I have sheriff's deputies living in my neighborhood.  I see that as a good thing.

It's a great thing. Just about every little league coach I ever had was a cop, my neighbors have been cops, my friends, their husbands are cops. But in some cities that's not possible. New York doesn't pay the NYPD enough to live in some of the neighborhoods they police.  I have a friend who is a rookie in the 1st  Precinct in New York and he'd never be able to afford it. And requiring an officer to uproot his or her family if they get transferred to another precinct isn't going to work. 

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Just now, Arch-MaesterPhilip said:

It's a great thing. Just about every little league coach I ever had was a cop, my neighbors have been cops, my friends, their husbands are cops. But in some cities that's not possible. New York doesn't pay the NYPD enough to live in some of the neighborhoods they police.  I have a friend who is a rookie in the 1st  Precinct in New York and he'd never be able to afford it. And requiring an officer to uproot his or her family if they get transferred to another precinct isn't going to work. 

Then make the precincts larger so they encompass affordable housing.

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11 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Then make the precincts larger so they encompass affordable housing.

Some are too big as it is. Also there isn't nearly enough affordable housing and the police make too much for it as it is. And the howls of outrage from housing advocates would be deafening the police start moving into it. 

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24 minutes ago, Arch-MaesterPhilip said:

Some are too big as it is. Also there isn't nearly enough affordable housing and the police make too much for it as it is. And the howls of outrage from housing advocates would be deafening the police start moving into it.

I do see your point.  That said NYC is something of a unique situation.  That is it difficult to impliment there is perfectly possible in other areas.

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4 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

How about increasing the ratio of locally sourced police officers serving in a particular neighbourhood's police force?

If Billy from neighbourhood X is assigned to patrol that same neighbourhood, it is more likely that he will identify and have empathy with the folks in that neighbourhood compared to Johnny from neighbourhood Y being sent there.

Not going to solve the problem overnight, but surely it will help, and every bit of improvement is surely a positive thing in the current situation.

 

That'll solve some problems, but cause other ones.

what if Billy catches his childhood buddy Johnny drunk driving and let's Johnny off with a warning, because Johnny's a good guy. No harm no foul. But then Timmy, the guy who put gum in Billy's hair in second grade has a busted tail light, and then Billy throws everything he can find on him. Going 5 mph over the speed limit, having a pair of fuzzy dice hanging from his windshield. Not coming to a full stop before turning right on red. Everything.

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4 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I do see your point.  That said NYC is something of a unique situation.  That is it difficult to impliment there is perfectly possible in other areas.

It is possible in smaller cities but once you get to larger more expensive cities it becomes more difficult.

And another concern I have is what happens if a cop makes a perfectly legitimate arrest, he does all of the right things then friends and family of the person arrested start threatening the officer and their family? That has the potential to get ugly. 

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16 hours ago, Commodore said:

I'm saying in terms of volume of incidents, it's analogous to shark attacks vs driving on the highway.

The number of people killed is relatively small, but the number of people unjustly and unnecessarily harassed is much larger. There's a reason people are angry and the police are lucky that the activists have managed to split the nation along racial lines -- if somebody competent and genuinely interested in change (e.g. MLK) was in charge, this could have been a serious problem for the police.

Regarding the things that can be done: I don't think there will be much progress with the blue wall of silence (most professions have similar rules). However, there are a few things that can be done:

1) Civil forfeiture and its ilk have to go. At this point, it is utterly absurd: not only does it result in harassment of the citizenry, some of the largest police departments have no idea how much money they collect or where it goes:

Quote

The New York City Police Department takes in millions of dollars in cash each year as evidence, often keeping the money through a procedure called civil forfeiture. But as New York City lawmakers pressed for greater transparency into how much was being seized and from whom, a department official claimed providing that information would be nearly impossible—because querying the 4-year old computer system that tracks evidence and property for the data would "lead to system crashes."

I don't know what it would take (a federal law?), but the whole idea of the police keeping money from fines and civil forfeiture needs to be nuked from orbit.

2) The cameras are a step in the right direction, but more care should be taken to avoid having them "accidentally" turned off or destroyed. The data should go to some outside authority to avoid "accidental" deletion.

3) Again, I'm not sure what law has to be changed here, but the standard for police starting to shoot should be raised from whatever it is now to being practically certain that the suspecting is about to seriously hurt somebody. As it stands, the incentive is for them to shoot whenever they feel even slightly in danger because they know that they are unlikely to be seriously punished if it turns out that they were wrong and the suspect was unarmed.

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18 hours ago, Commodore said:

I'm saying in terms of volume of incidents, it's analogous to shark attacks vs driving on the highway. 

We empower the state to use force to protect our rights. Any power is inevitably abused/misused, and you do the best to minimize it. 

If the occurrences of abuse/misuse are racially disproportionate, that's unfortunate, but not sure what the solution is (virtue signaling and shaming law enforcement by calling them racist seems to be the preferred tactic). Many of the incidents result in criminal prosecution. 

And examples like Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, and Keith Lamont Scott (a convicted felon on drugs who brandished a weapon he was banned from possessing) generate a bunch of initial outrage, but are soon forgotten once the facts come out. 

My simple solution is to be more selective in what behavior we criminalize.  

 

Re: shark attacks, and analogous to police corruption, only dozens of people are attacked by sharks each year...but over a thousand are 'lost at sea'. Similarly, experts say that the serial killers with (by far) the greatest odds of escaping undetected are those who work in the medical profession. Iow, like rats and cockroaches, the numbers actually detected are probably a fraction of the reality, given the natural cover.

And of course there's the whole issue of role vs. action. I think you're being aggressively dismissive here. I'm going to assume you're pretty right wing, politically?

But I pretty much agree in terms of not knowing how to fix it. 

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18 hours ago, Arch-MaesterPhilip said:

Define being part of the community. Living in the city or town? Or living in the precinct in regard to major cities? Or simply doing x amount of hours of community service in the precinct as a condition of your employment? 

In terms of policing your own neighbourhood, that's both good and bad. Historically it was often avoided because, though it probably increases the positive effect of a 'good' cop, it also tends to do the reverse, and I know specifically regarding organized crime it's often felt that it makes officers more open to persuasion, ie everyone knows where you live, where your family lives where your children go to school, etc.

I'm not saying big picture that this offsets the advantages, it might be a great idea overall, just recounting an angle on this I've read about.

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17 hours ago, Arch-MaesterPhilip said:

It's a great thing. Just about every little league coach I ever had was a cop, my neighbors have been cops, my friends, their husbands are cops. But in some cities that's not possible. New York doesn't pay the NYPD enough to live in some of the neighborhoods they police.  I have a friend who is a rookie in the 1st  Precinct in New York and he'd never be able to afford it. And requiring an officer to uproot his or her family if they get transferred to another precinct isn't going to work. 

Yeah, that's a great point, too...might increase the good/bad neighbourhood divide. 

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1 hour ago, Altherion said:

The number of people killed is relatively small, but the number of people unjustly and unnecessarily harassed is much larger. There's a reason people are angry and the police are lucky that the activists have managed to split the nation along racial lines -- if somebody competent and genuinely interested in change (e.g. MLK) was in charge, this could have been a serious problem for the police.

Regarding the things that can be done: I don't think there will be much progress with the blue wall of silence (most professions have similar rules). However, there are a few things that can be done:

1) Civil forfeiture and its ilk have to go. At this point, it is utterly absurd: not only does it result in harassment of the citizenry, some of the largest police departments have no idea how much money they collect or where it goes:

I don't know what it would take (a federal law?), but the whole idea of the police keeping money from fines and civil forfeiture needs to be nuked from orbit.

2) The cameras are a step in the right direction, but more care should be taken to avoid having them "accidentally" turned off or destroyed. The data should go to some outside authority to avoid "accidental" deletion.

3) Again, I'm not sure what law has to be changed here, but the standard for police starting to shoot should be raised from whatever it is now to being practically certain that the suspecting is about to seriously hurt somebody. As it stands, the incentive is for them to shoot whenever they feel even slightly in danger because they know that they are unlikely to be seriously punished if it turns out that they were wrong and the suspect was unarmed.

Do you realize that comments like 'activists have managed to split the nation along racial lines' is equivalent to saying that without activism racism would have little effect? Similarly if you follow up by bemoaning the lack of genuine interest in change, you're saying interest is largely feigned or absent. I mean, do you mean to say these things? Do you really think this way? Are you one of those people who thinks racism is either mostly in the rear view mirror, or that reverse racism is just as bad/somehow evens things out on some bizarre scorecard?

 

I don't really want to criticize an entire post that didn't use the word 'elites', but...man. 

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5 hours ago, James Arryn said:

In terms of policing your own neighbourhood, that's both good and bad. Historically it was often avoided because, though it probably increases the positive effect of a 'good' cop, it also tends to do the reverse, and I know specifically regarding organized crime it's often felt that it makes officers more open to persuasion, ie everyone knows where you live, where your family lives where your children go to school, etc.

I'm not saying big picture that this offsets the advantages, it might be a great idea overall, just recounting an angle on this I've read about.

Those are factors I didn't even consider. But you're absolutely right. I'm more I'm favor of community service in the precinct. 

My oldest friend is a cop in the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn and he tutors kids from the neighborhood in math a couple of days a week at the station. I think it is a great way for him to earn the trust of the kids and for them to see the cops as regular people just like them. 

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Police taught to fear the public and people die because of that training.  From a police officer:

http://qz.com/#777195/war-on-cops-stats-show-american-police-are-safer-than-they-have-ever-been-but-the-fear-remains-strong/

From the article:

The idea of a “war on cops” confirms this mindset. Emotional imagery and war stories are more compelling than statistics. Joe Cop becomes even more afraid. He is afraid of people who keep their hands in their pockets; he is wary of people who get too close or videotape him or want to shake hands. Everyone is a potential assailant.



When one adds race and unconscious prejudices into the mix, the issues become even more complex. Implicit bias affects both civilians and law enforcement professionals—although civilians are presumably not as emboldened to act upon it in potentially lethal ways. As noted by New York University psychologist David Amodio in 2010: “Recent research in social neuroscience has revealed that prejudiced reactions are linked to rapidly activated structures in the brain—parts of the brain associated with fear and disgust, likely developed long ago in our evolutionary history.”

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17 hours ago, Altherion said:

2) The cameras are a step in the right direction, but more care should be taken to avoid having them "accidentally" turned off or destroyed. The data should go to some outside authority to avoid "accidental" deletion.

not against body cameras, but...

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2016/08/12/study-links-police-bodycams-to-increase-in-shooting-deaths/

Quote

Surprisingly, we found that the use of wearable video cameras is associated with a 3.64% increase in shooting-deaths of civilians by the police. We explain that video recordings collected during a violent encounter with a civilian can be used in favor of a police officer as evidence that justifies the shooting. Aware of this evidence, the officer may become less reluctant to engage in the use of deadly force…. This contradicts the expectation of many law enforcement officials and policymakers that video cameras would reduce incidents of use of deadly force.

 

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7 minutes ago, Commodore said:

Well, yeah, I'm not all that surprised actually. The point of body cameras is to hold officers accountable for their actions; until that accountability is backed with disciplinary action and/or criminal charges for improper behavior there will be little incentive to change said behavior

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