30 1 / 2013

This post, listing “six completely legal ways cops can screw you,” is a little crass and sometimes not entirely accurate, but it does highlight the sorts of stupid things allowed in the law (i.e. by courts and legislatures) so that police can protect their own prerogatives.

I submit that what’s really behind much of this could be called police exceptionalism. Rather than a focus on professionalism and honor in policing, there’s too much of a focus on finding ways to let police forces be in the right regardless of what cockamamie ideas they come up with. The result is that cops can do almost anything they want.

Any decent police force would reject most of this crap out of hand if focused on professionalism. Arrest people for videotaping officers at work? No thanks, we are public servants and if we make a mistake we’d rather know about it and fix it than cover it over. Use a real citizen’s ID for an undercover officer? That’s crazy — we’d never endanger a citizen that way! Seize and sell a citizen’s property regardless of whether charges are filed? You must be joking — that’s a huge invitation to institutional corruption and we’d never do that.