In the wake of brutal execution-style killings of two police officers in New York City as the Black Lives Matter protest movement rages on, it’s a tough time to be a cop. The Washington Times reports:
Police around the nation have gone on high alert, told by higher-ups and union representatives to wear bulletproof vests, keep off social media and make arrests only in cases most pressing and crucial to the safety of the public at large.
Such orders create a odd dissonance which has to be confusing and frustrating for law enforcement professionals. On the one hand, they’re tasked with enforcing an increasing number of laws which all levels of government remain keen to craft. On the other hand, they’re expected to show “restraint” and only engage if they really, really have to.
It’s a scenario which brings to mind the two reasons I would hate to be a cop nowadays. First, modern policing has long since abandoned the scope of protection and service to become a revenue generator for government. How much of a cop’s day is actually spent protecting people’s rights versus hunting for perpetrators of victimless crimes? We need fewer laws. Those which survive the purge should be those which objectively protect individual rights. Few modern laws would qualify.
The second reason I would hate to be a cop, as evidenced by the Times story, is that police are increasingly expected to refrain from doing their job, yet blamed the moment anything bad happens. Don’t arrest protestors, but somehow stop them from looting and setting things on fire. How’s that supposed to work?
Proper law enforcement starts with proper laws. Whittle them down to those which protect life, liberty, and property. Then empower officers to enforce those laws aggressively. That would go a long way to improving the job, to say nothing of our society.
(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here.)