Whenever you make a critical statement about a police officer it’s only a matter of time before some neocon piece of shit wishes ill on you. “I hope a burglar breaks into your home and shoot your family!” “I hope a rapist rapes your wife and daughter in front of you!” “I hope you get into a car accident!” The implication is anybody critical of police deserves the consequences of not having police. It’s an implication that can only be made by people who have fell for an all too common trap: the assumption that law enforcement and security provision are the same.
To illustrate this fact let’s consider a scenario that frequently plays out on roadways: a car accident. I’m using this scenario, in part, because it’s one where all three common public safety personnel; fire fighters, ambulance crews, and police officers; respond. The primary task of fire fighters is the make the scene as safe as possible and to rescue any trapped occupants from vehicles. Ambulance crews are primarily concerned with the medical needs of the individuals involved in the accident. But the primary purpose of police is to determine who broke which laws so they can be cited.
In this scenario the fire fighters and ambulance crews are providing security services. Police are providing law enforcement services. The first two are primarily concerned with the wellbeing of the individuals involved in the accident whereas the last one is primarily concerned with the profits of the State.
Did one driver run a red light? Neither the fire fighters or ambulance crews concern themselves with such matters (and if they do they’re powerless to do anything about it). Police officers, on the other hand, care very much because running a red light is against the law and therefore a citation can be issued to the driver who did it. As a quick aside a byproduct of raising revenue is the generation of a report that insurance agencies will use to determine who was at fault and therefore liable (except in states like Minnesota that have no-fault insurance) but that’s not the primary task of the police and culpability an easily be determined by a party that isn’t a law enforcer.
When somebody speaks out against law enforcement they’re not usually speaking out against security provision. Unfortunately the two have been merged into a single job and this merger has existed long enough where a lot of people mistakenly believe they cannot exist separately. But we see the fact these two jobs are not dependent on one another everyday. In fact a lot of businesses hire security providers that aren’t law enforcers.
Consider a loss prevention specialist. Their job is to prevent the theft of goods. One way they often go about doing this is placing a guard at the front of a store. The guard serves two purposes: to be a psychological deterrent to thieves and to prevent thieves from leaving the building with stolen merchandise. Loss prevention specialists aren’t concerned with whether you pay your taxes, smoke cannabis, or otherwise break any laws.
Some businesses even hire armed security providers. These providers are generally tasked with protecting people and high value property. Armed security can often be found at high risk businesses such as banks or driving and guarding armored trucks filled with cash. A lot of hospitals also hire armed security personnel to, in part, escort doctors and nurses to their vehicles because their shifts often end at oh dark thirty, which is when the risk of being attacked is notably high. But again, the armed security providers aren’t concerned with whether you pirated music, violated the sugar tariff, or did some other unlawful activity.
If you’re unsure if a particular task falls under law enforcement or security let me give you a general rule of thumb. Tasks involving protecting people or property from harm generally fall under security whereas tasks involving the threat or use of force against people whose only crime is violating a government decree falls under law enforcement. The former can be done without the latter as demonstrated by the existence of fire fighters, medical personnel, and private security guards. That being the case it is possible to criticize law enforcement without criticizing security.