Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Most Dangerous City in America" Is Disbanding Its Current Police Force

"Most Dangerous City in America" Is Disbanding Its Current Police Force:
That would be Camden, New Jersey:
"The reason, officials say, is that generous union contracts have made it financially impossible to keep enough officers on the street. So in November, Camden, which has already had substantial police layoffs, will begin terminating the remaining 273 officers and give control to a new county force. The move, officials say, will free up millions to hire a larger, nonunionized force of 400 officers to safeguard the city, which is also the nation’s poorest....Though the city is solidly Democratic, the plan to put the Police Department out of business has not prompted the wide public outcry seen in the union battles in Chicago, Ohio or Wisconsin, in part because many residents have come to resent a police force they see as incompetent, corrupt and doing little to make their streets safe."
How's that for dysfunction? And it may be part of a trend. Step one would be to dismantle the municipal-level service and turn the function over to the county:  "Faced with tight budgets, many communities across the country are considering regionalizing their police departments, along with other services like firefighting, libraries and schools."  Step two for Camden is to create a new non-union police force. For other cities, that step is a bigger one: move to contracting out the service to private corporations.


Anonymous said...

From Sheriff Andy of Mayberry to Blackwater cops?

Anonymous said...

When you move to privatization of police, you have little more than mercenaries. They should not be respected as "police" and once people become aware that these are not actual "police" forces, then those targeted by these "police" will not feel inclined to submit to them. Would citizens have civil rights protections against abuses by these private forces acting under color of authority? Should the qualified immunity that municipal employees get be extended to these mercenaries?

At least in this scenario, the security patrol is likely interested in keeping it's employer's clients (municipalities) happy as determined by city council members.

What is far, far worse is the situation where the "police" stay on as municipal employees but get paid by private entities (e.g., HOAs) for "extra patrols" (actually any patrols). This type of situation is particularly bad because those targeted for abuse can't tell when the "police" are working for the city or when they are working for the HOA corporation board or managing agents. In these cases, the police should not be viewed as disinterested municipal employee witnesses but rather biased witnesses looking to keep their employment contract with the HOA.

Consider this case:
Police shoot unarmed man in driveway

The car was not stolen, the police later claimed to have entered the wrong license plate number into their car computer. The victim was black. He was in his car in his driveway. One of the two cops involved was the husband of the HOA board president.

Robbie Tolan shooting incident

Accident? or use of police force to encourage board-designated "undesirables" into leaving the "community" whether on their own two feet or in a box?