General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How good are the police where you live?

Asked by wundayatta (58354 points ) January 26th, 2009

How fast do they come when called? Do you think they go after burglars and muggers quickly, or are they only interested in murders and traffic stops? Do they go after quality of life crimes (urinating in public, nudity in public, homelessness)? Are they friendly or parsimonious with their efforts to get to know the community?

Also, do you give to the PBA? If you don’t have a relative who is a cop, do you know a cop personally? Finally, what is your attitude towards police? Do you like them, or do you not trust them?

Please also say where you live, or at least your state and if you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area.

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25 Answers

skfinkel's avatar

I have a fast dial on my phone to 911, and it gets hit accidentally. Each time this has happened, I get a call back from 911 to see if there is any trouble. It’s quite fast. Once this happened when a friend was in my house, and I was just coming home when police were trying to get into my building. It turns out that they were responding to that same 911 accidental call from my automatic dial. (I can’t undo it once it calls—and each time it feels like crying wolf.) So I would have to say, at least with that small and limited/unnecessary experience, they were very fast. Seattle, WA

jonsblond's avatar

Our family lives in a small town of about 3000 in Illinois. We have a neighbor 3 houses down that is a cop. She’s very friendly and it’s a bit reassuring to have her nearby. Besides the usual nitpicking over cars being parked across sidewalks or the grass being too tall, I’d say they are very friendly and helpful in our community. They are also very involved with the schools and the children, I really like that.

syz's avatar

I have, on three occasions now, called 911 and had it ring endlessly, never answered. My boss called 911 at 2 am after hitting a bicyclist with his car (it was a scam), and they never answered. They called him back the next afternoon to find out what his “emergency” was.

Our police department solves < 3% of property crime.

fireside's avatar

I got into a minor accident and called 911 to get in touch with the police for an on-scene report that i could give to my insurance company. They answered right away and the cop was there within 10–15 minutes, but i told them there was no rush as neither of the drivers were injured and we were just taking pictures.

Thankfully, i haven’t had a need to test the system on anything more serious than that.

Vinifera7's avatar

The most I’ve ever dealt with the police personally was when I barely went through a red light at 7:30AM on an empty street on my way to the community college. Yeah, the guy was a dick for stopping me. He gave me some B.S. about how I was “impending traffic”.

However, I have also dealt with police on numerous occasions for shoplifting where I work. People will request a couple of cartons of cigarettes and then run away with them before paying.

It’s supposedly a pretty crime-free township, but you still get shoplifting, and one time they found a body in the park.

Driving through Detroit one time I witnessed an accident and had to wait over an hour for the police to arrive so that I could give my testimony. I didn’t actually have to wait, but the guy that was hit got screwed over by some insane old lady driver and was also injured by the crash.

onesecondregrets's avatar

I don’t think it’s a matter of how good they are in my town, as compared to how bored. My town isn’t big. Murders are very few and far in between. When there are burglaries and such, they jump on it like white on rice and make a huge deal out of it; articles in the paper and things like that. They go after mostly vehicular crimes, and drug/alcohol/violent crimes. The police blotter is full of DUI’s, DWI’s, possesion arrests, resisting arrests, haha. They generally aren’t friendly unless you have boobs and a vagina and are moderately attractive otherwise.

I don’t give to the PBA and I personally don’t know any cops. My attitude towards the police in my town is that they are simply bored half the time, blow things out of proportion when they should be concentrating on more important issues. I mean, we just got an undercover narcotics division because there’s so much hussle and bussle about drugs in school. I’ve been pulled over and harrassed twice with friends all for nothing and they were incredibly demeaning and patronizing with us. I don’t have a lot of respect or tolerance quite frankly for the police in my town. They aren’t the type of cops that try to better our community, rather show our community the supreme authority difference they have with us and over us. It’s irritating as all hell. I don’t trust them. Maybe 20+ years ago, yes..but now they’re all rookies thinking they’re big shots. If only they realized they’re just cops in a cowtown 50 miles out of New York City.

With that being said, I live in a suburb of NYC in Orange County, New York.

susanc's avatar

Don’t know any cops. I live way out in the country so we have a sheriff, not cops per se.
Once a long long time ago my husband and I had a huge fight. We were shouting and
out of our minds. I socked him on the shoulder with my fist. We backed off. We were shocked. I immediately called the sheriff, and within four minutes there were two tall young uniforms at our door. One took my husband out on the deck and talked with him. The other one stayed inside and talked with me. He said, “Did he hit you?” No, I sobbed. “Did you hit HIM?” Yes, I sobbed. Pause. “Well, you know, you can’t do that,
ma’am, it’s against the law.” I know, I sobbed. I’m so sorry. “And this is why you called us?” Yes, I said, we needed help. “Are you okay now?” Yes, I said, brushing away the tears. “Do you think we need to stay for awhile?” No thanks. “All right, I’ll check with my
partner.” They asked me and my husband to shake hands. We fell into each other’s arms, weeping. Cops left.
This is in Mason County, Washington.

Judi's avatar

I didn’t read all your question because I just sort of stopped and freaked out when you called homelessness a “quality of life” crime! What the heck? Is homelessness a crime?
To answer a bit of your question, I see cops as professional witnesses who see their job as to ensure a conviction. They may not lie, but they will give testimony in a way that could shade the truth. If I am in a jury, I give less weight to a police officers testimony than an average citizen because I know the citizen is not a professional witness.
In most cases, I don’t trust cops very much and if I ever thought I might even slightly be considered a suspect in a crime I would shut up and scream attorney.

wundayatta's avatar

Yeah, unfortunately, various cities at various times have tried to get rid of the homeless. Some use loitering laws. Some don’t bother to pass a law, they just have the cops truck them all away. This happens during particularly important civic events like the Olympics or political conventions, and they want the city to look pristine for a few days.

Most lawsuits to contest loitering laws win. But cities still worry about perceptual issues. I imagine that the number of homeless who are homeless because they’ve lost their jobs will rise, as the recession continues. People are often scared of the homeless. They don’t like beggars, and that can make Mayors want to rid the downtown o such people. We’ll see.

funkdaddy's avatar

here the homeless just run for mayor

Judi's avatar

@funkdaddy ; that’s freaky, hus butt is hairy!

forestGeek's avatar

I live in Seattle. Remember WTO? They are not very good!

tinyfaery's avatar

I guess that depends on what you define as good. I tend to like the LAPD because they are sooo busy they tend not to focus too much on minor, victimless crime. i.e. they rarely bust anyone for drug possession. However, I have noticed, if you call the stations with problems they don’t respond very quickly. 911 is a must.

Kiev749's avatar

they suck.

Judi's avatar

@tinyfaery ;
I wouldn’t say that. My son got a ticket for crossing the street just as the hand came up. He was told, “If Whitey ain’t there, you can’t cross.” The 2 cops ticketing him then allowed a black kid to cross the same way he tried to.

jonsblond's avatar

My neighbor’s teenage son was chased down by a bicycle cop for playing his music too loud in his car. I would have loved to witness that! He said the officer was panting like crazy.

must have been a slow day

tinyfaery's avatar

Guess it depends on where you live. LAPD cover a huge area.

Jeruba's avatar

Odd, @jonsblond. I once asked a cop why police cruising by didn’t stop and do something about my neighbor’s incredibly loud blaring music, and he said, “The police can’t be a victim. We have to respond to a complaint. We don’t make the complaint ourselves.” Don’t ask me to explain it. That’s what he said.

jonsblond's avatar

@Jeruba That is interesting. Would they need a complaint from someone in order to give out a speeding ticket? Hmmmm….. ;)

zarnold's avatar

awesome at college, not so awesome at home. (chicago and long island, respectively)

Edit: of course, this is from the perspective from an irresponsible teenager…

Jeruba's avatar

Yeah, that’s part of why I didn’t understand it. Maybe traffic laws and neighborhood ordinances fall into different categories of law enforcement. Do we have a police officer in this community?

westy81585's avatar

Columbus Ohio Police in my experience are a-holes. I’ve met a few cool ones, and I’m inclined to believe that the majority of them are good guys and not harassing people (which is why I don’t have any run ins or hear of stories of them), but there are plenty of them who are WAY to overzealous. I got arrested and my car impounded last summer for accidentally chirping my tires, no prior record, full cooperation, no speeding or almost accident. Just chirped tires. A buddy of mine a few years ago was walking down the street carrying a saw to help another friend with a fence (middle of the day), and a cop pulled over, put his light on him (again, middle of the day), and said “Hey asshole, what are you doing with that saw?” Not to mention anytime I’ve seen them arrest a college student for under-age drinking they act like the kid just tried to blow up the pentagon or rape a 12 year old.

The town I grew up in (Northwood Ohio, suburb of Toledo), they were much more even. I met a few of them who were dicks and a few who weren’t, but they were always fair in my experience (you only got in trouble if you did something to deserve it).

westy81585's avatar

Oh I figure I could put something about a run in where I requested help. About a month ago my laptop and camera were stolen from my house, and I called the police to have them come out and file a report (insurance reasons largely). The dispatcher seemed annoyed, and two cops came out within about a half hour (about 5 minutes apart). The first one was cool, and started the report. The second one who finished the report seemed a little less concerned, but not TOO bad. They said a burglary detective would be in touch with me within a week, too update me (I’d given them the numbers for the stuff stolen and such). I knew full well the odds of my stuff being recovered were slim to nil, but I never even received a call or an actual police report. A little perturbed about that, but in fairness it is the 10th biggest city in the country, and my stolen laptop probably doesn’t hold too much weight on their to do list.

davidbetterman's avatar

hahahahahaha…This is a truly funny question!

snowberry's avatar

westy81585 You might have to go get a copy of the police report for the insurance people. If so, they will ask you the exact date and maybe time it happened so they can reference the report.

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