Modern police departments have more in common with military forces than they do with security agencies. If you look at most private security providers they tend to have little in the way of riot gear, grenade launchers, and armored personnel carriers. But there are a lot of police departments with plenty of all three and much more. Likewise the strategies employed by the two organizations differ. Private security providers tend to be far less psychopathic because no business wants its customers harassed by a man with a badge every time they try to come in the store. Modern police departments often don’t bother knocking on the door before sending a battering ram and a flashbang through as a precursor to a full scale invasion.
As modern police departments become more militarized more people are becoming upset, which has lead to a few investigations. The Seattle Police Department has been under investigation for a while now due to its use of excessive force on minorities. This has lead to the department adopting new rules of engagement, which has made many of its officers unhappy:
(Reuters) – Seattle police officers filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday challenging new policies that restrict use of force, saying the rules endanger lives of both officers and civilians.
More than 120 officers have joined the lawsuit, which seeks a complete dismantling of a new use of force policy hammered out between the Seattle Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice to stem an alleged pattern of excessive force.
The Seattle Police Department has been under federal monitoring since 2012, following an investigation into a series of incidents in which officers appeared to engage in excessive force, particularly against minorities.
I believe that modern police departments, due to the strategies they employ more commonly every day, attract a special type of person. Namely people who actually enjoy hurting other people. Because of this we have police departments that are filled with vicious men who get upset whenever their ability to hurt other people is hindered.
If these officers were actually concerned with helping people they would already be using the bare minimum amount of force necessary to resolve situations. There wouldn’t be multiple reports of excessive force as other officers would come down on any of their fellows that employed it. But excessive force is the norm so long as the words “officer safety” can be written on the report. Officer safety shouldn’t be the primary concern of a police department, the safety of community members should be.
In an ideal world an individual signing up to become a police officer would do so with the understanding that their job is to protect members of the community. That necessarily requires putting one’s own life on the line to protect others, not putting other’s lives on the line to protect one’s self. If that is an idea that disturbs an individual then they should find another job.