Law Enforcement: What’s Next?

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We’ve all heard the increasing stories about the over-zealous use of violence by law enforcement recently. It seems that every month or so a new story pops up in which the police are being scrutinized or accused of brutality. As people become more frustrated with the law and society the number of protests and demonstrations increases. There is always a heavy police presence at these sorts of events and some feel that they are too aggressive when dealing with arising conflicts. On the other hand, some people say they aren’t aggressive enough. It’s coming to a point, though, where you have to wonder if police are damned either way. Not only in protest situations, but in everyday policing as well. Some people are always on the defensive and try to instigate so they can claim their rights were violated. In a society where everyone sues over everything some view the law as a weapon they can use for intimidation.

Law
Law enforcement at one of the protests in Ferguson, MO.

Most recently we’ve heard of the neo-Nazi demonstration in Sacramento. At this event people were stabbed in a clash between the demonstrators and those protesting them. Naturally, in the past the police have been accused of being too aggressive when keeping back protestors. Surprisingly, in this case it’s the opposite. The neo-Nazi group has accused the police of purposely standing down while violent protestors took action. A spokesman for the group has even gone so far as to accuse law enforcement of setting them up. Of course, when people put themselves in hostile situations and things don’t go their way they’re going to blame someone else. No one wants to admit fault. But we’ve gone from the police using water cannons on protestors to just standing in a line and watching silently. When a law is broken they intervene, but it still isn’t good enough for some. Some seem to want a total police presence everywhere in the hopes that bad things will just stop happening. Others hate law enforcement and feel they’re all out to victimize the less fortunate or minorities. Either way you look at it, you have to admit that police departments are being torn in two completely different directions these days.

Law as a Weapon

Now, I obviously don’t think people should be at the complete mercy of the law 100% of the time. Everyone makes mistakes, but a lot of innocent people sometimes pay for mistakes they never made. However, given the hyper-awareness people have come to have of their rights, some try and take it too far. People are constantly threatening to sue each other over everything these days. In everyday situations and when dealing with law enforcement, some people always play the victim. They feel that with the ability to lawyer up they can do anything and no one can touch them. With that being the case, how can law enforcement be effective? If the police can’t pull you over without getting a nasty letter from your lawyer, what are they supposed to do? It almost seems like police departments will end up like any other customer service group. You can already go on their social media pages and complain. What’s next? A bad “review” for the police when they bust you for breaking the law? I imagine a future wherein the police offer to “assist” suspects. A violent criminal will be able to ask to speak to a supervisor if they’re tased. They’ll threaten to involve the BBB due to their “negative customer experience”.

The flipside of that is pretty much just a total police state. Some say we’re on our way to it. Others think we’re already there. Conversely, some people don’t have an issue with an overbearing police or government presence in terms of surveillance. If you feel you have nothing to hide, what’s the big deal? I tend to feel that way, personally. When you realize that even when you are being monitored by the government it’s mostly in random sweeps by a computer. The idea of someone personally watching you in the shower is a lot more unsettling to some. Bottom line is, it doesn’t happen that way. What it all comes down to is one question – what’s more important to people? Safety or freedom? Potential criminals being afraid to break the law, or good “customer service” when you deal with law enforcement?