Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Out of Control Police

If you've read my posts, you know I'm not against the police.  I think they're brave women and men doing a tough job--for the most part.  There are a few bad ones, and a few bad decisions that make a lot of these officers look bad.  For an eye opening look at the problem, have a read:

“Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control 

The police shouldn't be killing people over office pools, or swarming young ladies, guns drawn because they think the bottled water just purchased might be underaged purchase of alcohol. 

One example:
...the mission creep hasn’t stopped at poker games. By the end of the 2000s, police departments were sending SWAT teams to enforce regulatory law. In August 2010, for example, a team of heavily armed Orange County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies raided several black-and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Orlando area. More raids followed in September and October. The Orlando Sentinel reported that police held barbers and customers at gunpoint and put some in handcuffs, while they turned the shops inside out. The police raided a total of nine shops and arrested thirty-seven people.

By all appearances, these raids were drug sweeps. Shop owners told the Sentinel that police asked them where they were hiding illegal drugs and weapons. But in the end, thirty-four of the thirty-seven arrests were for “barbering without a license,” a misdemeanor for which only three people have ever served jail time in Florida.

The most disturbing aspect of the Orlando raids was that police didn’t even attempt to obtain a legal search warrant. They didn’t need to, because they conducted the raids in conjunction with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Despite the guns and handcuffs, under Florida law these were licensure inspections, not criminal searches, so no warrants were necessary.
I submit that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with.  Regulatory matters aren't SWAT matters.  Office betting pools and friendly card games aren't reasons to break down doors and shoot people. 

Police are just fellow citizens, and are supposed to build a rapport with the civilian citizens they work with.  That leads to effective enforcement.  What's going on now is leading to unnecessary expense, property damage and loss of life.

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