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Opinion: Are Police Still Useful Or Do They Need To Be Swapped Out?



NYPD police car (pixabay)
It must be noted that both the author and the website are not against police in any way, we're only exploring a topic that was brought up to us.

Police have long since been a source of law enforcement, they started out being unarmed and mostly just soldiers. As time went on they started to get their own uniforms, weapons, and vehicles. Currently, many people feel that police aren't particularly useful for protecting them if they live in rural areas. Some people even feel that police are a waste of tax dollars that's just another excuse to militarize people and keep everyone in line for the motives of the government. There have even been several instances where police have not been doing what they need to do. However, there are been several issues involving private security forces, which have been a call for a solution to the problems with police.
 

Police have often been criticized for not getting to the scene of the crime fast enough. While the response time for police is fairly decent for urban areas, citizens living in a rural area often have to wait much longer for police to arrive. This is why they're more vigilant and have firearms in their homes. In fact, it's well known that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police use few officers to monitor a large area. This is visible in a video on the website known as YouTube titled "Canadian police(RCMP) saved my life." The officer in the video states that he has a detachment that manages around 30 thousand-square kilometers. He also mentions that there are only "six police officers for this giant area" The officer also mentions how he covers an area of over one-hundred kilometers. What this means is that if someone's farm is being robbed which seems to be quite easy considering Lee de Coninck Smith, who told CBC in an interview that "Snowmobiles, ATVs — these are big-ticket items that are easy to grab and easy to get rid of. Anything that's not bolted down, it can be taken." This means that clearly anything can be taken and police are often either understaffed or too far away to help, sometimes both of these factors work together. If police aren't available to come to the scene of the crime on time, citizens need to defend themselves using their own weapons as they see fit. Regardless they need to pay for a service that, sometimes isn't even going to arrive at the scene when needed most.
 

Some people feel as if the taxes they pay are going down the drain, specifically with police. They have feelings that are negative towards police because of evidence which shows them not doing what people feel should be part of their job. This goes hand to hand towards militarization of police forces because the more militarized a police force becomes, the more distant they feel from the very community they're trying to protect. It shows that officers can't entirely be proactive while still doing their jobs. The government keeps spending more and more money on giving higher grade military quality weaponry and tools to officers but haven't entirely considered the possibility towards a psychology show of force. Both Los Angeles and New York spend the most on their police forces. New York is at the top with a whopping $4.89B according to Forbes. Los Angeles spends $1.49B. This is a huge cost to the taxpayer, every single year. In Canada, specifically in the Quebec city of Montreal, police just directing traffic cost $10.5M in 2016, according to an article on Global news. The city did in fact, mention how they were going to try and close the gap on this issue. Taxes are being spent on things like better equipment while the equipment is only used in emergency situations. Most of the time officers don't need a full-on rocket-proof armored patrol vehicle to raid a home. It's essentially just a way to redistribute tax dollars that need to be spent to ensure that a budget can either stay the same or even increase. Let's face it if you own a lemonade stand and your parents give you ten dollars but find out that it only costs eight dollars to run, next year they'll give you eight. It's all about numbers and keeping budgets large. In another case about taxes being directed in an essentially useless manner, police records have also been quite hurtful to Canadians in particular who've never actually been stopped by the police. In The Star's article, they cite several incidents in which the police have not particularly been involved in an incident but have records on the person. In one specific case, a woman's family had to have her mental health record which was showing up with the police checks, changed with the force of a lawyer. This shows everyone that if you don't have a record but have even called the police, it's possible it can show up on a background check. It's such a waste of police efforts because all of this information is logged into a system, then if someone finds out, it's removed by legal action, this usually means that the justice system ends up clogged with tiny, useless and time-wasting cases while money and time can be better spent elsewhere. It's an entire system of time-loss which could be far better organized and even be cheaper for the taxpayer if it was. In particular, if a police force was extremely organized they could reduce the amount tedious small cases like the above-mentioned one. The lives of many people would be made easier.
 

Police also don't technically have to protect someone. Police have it right in the job's name. "Law Enforcement," they don't really have to do much more than that. They can come across someone hurting someone and have to intervene because the "law" is being broken but don't have to intervene if you're not safe since no laws have been broken. In fact, The New York Times published an article in which they reported that The Supreme Court ruled that police don't have a constitutional duty to protect people. Which is technically true but not liked by anyone who has ever used police services as they now know that police can not act on certain things. Criticism is another issue with police. It's a real possibility that some police officers are weaker willed than others. When that individual comes along, calls of racism and abuse could deter them from doing their job. It's a possibility that isn't always looked at in policing.
 

Most people's solution to the issues with police would be private security. They can be cheaper and more effective. They have the ability to hit hard when needed but maintain are often said to be able to maintain a quiet, friendly but still reliable source of protection. They're hired for everything from outright wars to security for someone who wants security in their country or a foreign one. They've been called the superpower for hire because of their extremely skilled ex-soldiers hired and their ability to get their hands on items such as Dragon Skin armor, which is widely accepted to be better than traditional body armor. They also have access to equipment that a regular military force might not have yet due to the bureaucratic nature of any government-connected system. They're used by pretty much anyone who can afford them. In fact, the United States federal government hired Blackwater, a formerly named private security company now known as Academi, right after Hurricane Katrina to protect government facilities. Blackwater was also hired by the U.S federal government in Iraq, they received millions of dollars to protect places and people. None of this means that private security companies, in general, don't have their fair share of trouble. In September of 2007, Blackwater agents were involved in what's now known as the Nisour Square massacre. Blackwater agents shot at Iraqis. This resulted in the injury of at least twenty civilians and the murder of seventeen. This happened in Baghdad. Four Blackwater employees ended up being tried, one went down for murder and the other three for both manslaughter and firearms charges. After that, the PMC (Private Military Contractor) lost its ability to operate in Iraq, at least temporarily. There's also video evidence to suggest that some agents of PMC groups are violent and don't follow traditional regulation. In a YouTube video, alleged Blackwater members are seen openly firing on the tires of vehicles in Iraq. Although no proof is provided to back up the claim of the video.

Sources

David Johnston and John M. Broder. “F.B.I. Says Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Nov. 2007, www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/world/middleeast/14blackwater.html.
 

Greenhouse, Linda. “Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 June 2005, www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/justices-rule-police-do-not-have-a-constitutional-duty-to-protect.html.
 

Hamilton, Charles. “Rural Saskatchewan Residents Say Stanley Trial Reignited Concerns over Crime, Police Response Time | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 15 Feb. 2018, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/stanley-verdict-again-raising-concerns-over-rural-crime-1.4535146.
 

holy7514sirus. “Canadian Police(RCMP) Saved My Life.” YouTube, YouTube, 11 May 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s0GUehHRrs.
 

McCarthy, Niall. “How Much Do U.S. Cities Spend Every Year On Policing? [Infographic].” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 7 Aug. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/08/07/how-much-do-u-s-cities-spend-every-year-on-policing-infographic/#70619df4e7b7.
 

Parrillo, Felicia. “Over Budget: Police Directing Traffic Costs Montreal Extra $10.5M in Overtime.” Global News, 20 Apr. 2017, globalnews.ca/news/3391731/over-budget-police-directing-traffic-costs-montreal-extra-10-5m-in-overtime/.
 

Cribb, Robert. “Canadians Stunned to Learn They Have Police Records, despite Never Being Found Guilty.” Thestar.com, 17 May 2014, www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/05/17/i_had_no_idea.html.

By Michael Normandin

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