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SQUEEKY2's avatar

In your opinion, do you feel the Police are losing the publics trust and respect?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (19406points) December 5th, 2014

In our countries Canada, and the U.S the police have been in the news lately with shootings, and such.
Here in Canada while there has been a few police shootings, one thing just makes me want to barf.
The conductor of that train involved in that disaster in Quebec, was arrested which is fine, but they took him down in his back yard working on his boat in front of his 8 year old kid, with a full blown swat team, like he was some kind of terrorist.
Think that might have been a huge waste of tax dollars ?
Believe me I think the Police have a hard job, and there are a lot of fine officers.
But I feel the police have lost the fact they are there to defend the law,NOT be above it.

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40 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Not losing, they lost it.

I ride BART every work day, my son rides it to school. Scares the crap out of me when I see BART police.

Police in this country are overarmed. They need to be disarmed.

ucme's avatar

I had a Police record once, Every Breath You Take.

To police: To regulate, control & keep order…the lines seemed to have gotten blurred somewhat.

Coloma's avatar

Probably, in many areas, but I am biased, I have never had a confrontation or been in trouble with the cops so I am hoping if I ever need them they will be there for me in a professional manner. Being a middle aged white woman that lives in a small town on a rural property and in an area of low crime, no gang activity, few minorities, the only reason I would need the cops would be if there were a break in here at the ranch or other emergency situation. I have a perfect driving record, don’t drive drunk, don’t carry a weapon, don’t have any criminal record, so the odds of me having a serious altercation with the law is slim to none.

I completely agree that cops need to take a step back and not abuse their power. I am not familiar with the story you share, so cannot comment on it from a perspective of knowledge.
I’m just grateful, inspite of some of my personal trials and tribulations the last few years that I live in a safe crime free zone for the most part. I am not a street smart person at all, too trusting and happy go lucky to survive in a big city full of crime.

Pachy's avatar

Ditto experience, @Coloma. Except for the “woman” part. And yes, many segments of U.S. society are definitely losing or have lost trust in the police. Especially now that we’re able to watch videotaped police-public confrontations and public demonstrations 24/7.

syz's avatar

It’s such a complex issue. Police perform a vital service and they have a ridiculously difficult and potentially deadly job. And with our health care system and the mentally ill that are dumped onto the streets, we ask them to deal with situations that are far out of their purview (I doubt many of them have degrees in psychology or psychiatry). I don’t envy them, and I wouldn’t want to be them.

But I’ve also met some stupid, small-minded, bigoted, bullies who happen to wear the uniform. I fear that there’s a lack of standards, a lack of adequate training, and a lack of leadership. Rather than spending money on tanks and riot gear and artillery, I’d like to see that money go to training, including conflict resolution and communication training.

The reputation of the police is taking a hit, and unfortunately the situation is increasing the racial strife in this country.

(The politics of race and our justice system is a whole other discussion.)

marinelife's avatar

I never trust the police. They have their own set of concerns and their own rules. I just try to stay out of their way. They are not good listeners.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Police lost my trust a long long time ago. Yea there are good ones out there, but on a whole, my experience has been shit. I view them as little more than a legal gang.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’‘t think so – not more than usual. I don’t think it’s increasing markedly.

There are some people (see many of the above answers) who are going to distrust and bad-mouth the police regardless of any facts. In other words there minds are made up and aren’t ever going to change.

There is a second group who will support the police, probably blindly as well. That population is not represented on Fluther, but it definitely exists.

And then there are people like me, who don’t like some of the recent police actions, but am incredibly thankful that the police exist, and am happy that if I call with a problem, they’re going to respond.

note: if you’re going to look at people to blame, blame the Grand Jury process and district attorneys as well as the police.

Police aren’t all good. But they’re not all bad either,

Coloma's avatar

@elbanditoroso Yep, as is true of all humans, nobody is all bad, even serial killers love their dogs. haha

Aster's avatar

Yes. I think the public is growing more afraid of the police and with good reason. It appears they’re becoming more and more trigger happy and many are not even having to pay the price for murdering innocent citizens.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Or we’re just hearing more about it.

My experiences with the police have been good and bad.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@zenvelo wrote: “Police in this country are overarmed. They need to be disarmed.”

Wow, that’s beyond ridiculous.

If there’s a sniper shooting at a classroom, I damn sure want the police to have firepower to take the sniper out.

If an armed robbery is taking place at a bank, I am perfectly happy to have the burglars be subdued with firepower.

And perhaps the SWAT teams should walk in carrying daisies and peace signs?

[And in the case of Garner in NYC, the police literally used his arms – not a gun – for the chokehold. Would you be in favor of literally dis-arming policemen so they can’t do choke holds?]

C’mon, the concept of disarming police is a non-starter.

zenvelo's avatar


The police in Great Britain don’t carry sidearms. And why do we need SWAT teams now in tanks that weren’t needed 35 years ago?

The police are overarmed. Look at the Albuquerque Police Department record, they shoot and kill people first, then ask questions.

flutherother's avatar

The police in the UK still have the respect and trust of the public. They aren’t armed which is a good start though they can be issued with firearms if the situation requires it. Police with guns appear confrontational and even threatening. My impression is that police in the US are underpaid and the job doesn’t always attract the best people.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The police lose my respect when somebody like my cousin (who’s always been a hothead with a bad attitude) gets the badge.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Darth_Algar IME police tend to be the jocks who realized that football wasn’t a possible career path or the kids who were picked on a lot in school and now “hold the power”. I only know a few people who went on to be officers that genuinely wanted to “protect and serve”

ucme's avatar

Here’s the thing, two guys butchered a serving soldier (Lee Rigby) on the streets of London last year, in the name of Islam…yada, yada. They hung around the scene waiting for armed response units to arrive, they wanted to be killed & rushed the police with nothing more than an empty busted gun & some blood stained knives.
They were shot in the leg, arrested & will spend the rest of their lives behind bars, but they lived…pretty stark contrast to the recent US incidents, in both the crime & end result.

tinyfaery's avatar

Never trusted. Never will. When you see what cops do to non-whites from the time you are a child you learn that they are not there to protect and serve, but to accost and harass.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Here is another thought,in your opinion what would it take for the police to get the publics trust and respect back?

Coloma's avatar

There is no blanket statement that holds true for any majority.
SOME cops are racist, control freak, militant, violet, authoritarian jerks, but…not ALL.
To say that is biased in itself.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 – as you can read above – there a large number of people whose minds are made up, and there is nothing that the police could do to ameliorate the situation.

ragingloli's avatar

There is a reason why the list of slang terms for pigs is so long.
I think my favourite is “Nazi Stormtrooper”.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I totally agree @Coloma there are a lot of fine officers out there that do an outstanding job,and it’s the bad apples that get the spotlight.
So what do the police have to do to gain back the publics trust? Maybe charge an officer for shooting an unarmed person to death?Just a thought?
Maybe more training? To shoot a 12 year old for waving a toy gun because he wouldn’t listen to their demands, OMG show me any 12 yearold that does listen. Personaly I hope that cop has nightmares for the rest of his life.
Come on think about it,responding to the call,has any shots been fired,uh NO.
Then good chance he isn’t going to,or the weapon is fake.

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Yep, that is a travesty, but…honestly, what parent would let their 12 year old run around with a toy gun in this day and age? haha
Even out here in the foothills kids are not running around flashing weapons, toy or otherwise.
If a cop shot a 12 year old for carrying a BB gun while walking around the woods, that’s one thing, but in any city, especially crime ridden areas, no kid should be carrying anything even remotely mimicking a gun of any kind.
I am not saying it couldn’t have been handled differently, whatever that means, but the kid behaved stupidly and at age 12 he is old enough to know better, had he been 5, well…

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Coloma again I agree, but do the police have to do to gain back the publics trust?

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I don’t know because it is all contingent on personal experience and mindset, individual areas, jurisdictions & departments that have a high track record of police related killings.
In those particular circumstances I think all that can happen is a focus on more discriminating police practices and a lengthy amount of time passing between killings.
The police in my area vs. L.A. or Oakland are apples & oranges, there is little crime in my area compared to an inner city environment. 100 crimes a day vs. a couple.
The more crime the higher likelihood of shootings on either side, cops and criminals.

zenvelo's avatar

There is a lot that police can do to regain trust. One might be to ask for a special prosecutor to investigate all police involved shootings, and take to a Grand Jury if warranted. Too much is done by internal affairs and DAs that want to protect their own.

Ferguson and Staten Island both had Grand Juries that were led to no indictment by the prosecutor. Grand Juries go where the prosecutor directs them.

rojo's avatar

When I was younger all cops were pigs and none were my friends. All my dealings with them were negative.

With age, I have had more dealings with them on a personal, non-confrontational, level and found that most are good guys who sometimes have a tough job. There are those that could get out of control, that is true of all jobs and all societal levels but more of a problem with an armed group such as the police. It is the job of their superiors to keep them under control.

The problem, in my opinion, is two-fold. First too much is expected of them, they have too many laws and rules to try to enforce, many of them rather stupid. If they could focus on those actions that address aggression between individuals and less time trying to police crimes against yourself, they would be better equipped to do the job.

Another part of the problem is that they have lost the respect of the rest of society. People are much more likely to be confrontational because of this lack of respect and the police, in turn, respond more aggressively. On an individual basis they have to rely on fear and intimidation because of this confrontational attitude of the general populace.

I think that they need to look to their own motto “To protect and serve” and take it too heart but, unless those they are charged with protecting and serving can once again respect the office, there will just continue to be confrontations between the police force and the populace.

ibstubro's avatar

Let’s see:

As a middle aged white male I was accused of being a drug dealer by a cop in St. Louis on the basis of crossing more than one lane of traffic on one signal.

Coming home from the Dr. with a box full of sample packets, a red light in front of me turned green, the truck in front of me pulled out, and the samples shifted. I glanced down, the couple in front of me were fighting, he slammed on the breaks and his trailer hitch made a hole in my bumper. The cop said a ticket was mandatory, then gave me a card. Turned out he had quit the force and the next week was starting a course where you could avoid points on your license if you paid to take his class.

When I bought my house, the old owners left a number of things they were required to remove. No escrow, so no way to enforce it. They also left a Culligan water softener. We weren’t in a hurry to return it, figuring he could pay for our water softener for a while until we purchased one. One day the Culligan man found a door unlocked, entered the house, traveled it’s whole length, and spilled salt water all over the basement floor, then again in the drive. I called the police. They declined to come out to the house, and when I tried to press the point later, came to the house and tried to intimidate me. The cop admitted he was familiar with the Culligan owner.

My house was broken into in the middle of the afternoon one Sunday. I don’t think anything was taken. The responding officer declined to even fingerprint a decorative tin box that the thief had twisted the lid off.

911 called and said the girl next door had called about he mother having a medical emergency, would I go be with her until they arrived. Never met the girl, but was friends with the mother. I get there, the (nursing student) girl opens the door and says “Mom’s dead, and she’s been dead a long time!” Dad is 2–3 hours away, grandma, 4–5 (I’ve met none of them). I end up talking to grandma 2–3 times and promise I’ll stay with the girl until family arrives. A cop arrives (that I immediately nickname, “I’m too sexy for my shirt”), interviews me, and tries to force me to leave. I finally say, “Look, i made a promise to the grandmother. It’s not your decision. If the girl wants me to stay, I stay. She says ‘go’, I go.’ She says stay, and he’s visibly pissed and makes me spend the majority of the time standing in the yard.

I have not had good interaction with the police, and never really met one until I was 40 or so.

Longest post I will ever make, I promise.

DWW25921's avatar

Yes, I believe trust between cops and citizens is lacking considerably. I could expound but I think a few others have stepped up well enough.

jca's avatar

I recently read an editorial in the NY Post by NYC Police Commish Bratton that said citizens do not have the right to resist arrest. If they believe they are being arrested unlawfully, the place to deal with it is in court. It is terrible that Eric Garner died at the hands of the police but he also should not have resisted arrest.

There are good cops and there are bad cops. There are plenty of rude cops with attitudes. Still and all, when in trouble, who ya gonna call? I’m calling the cops and I’m glad they have guns. There are so many weapons on the streets, especially in cities. I don’t want the cops disarmed and the bad guys to have assault weapons. s

If you go to the UK, yes, the cops don’t have guns but neither do the citizens have assault weapons, either.

ragingloli's avatar

If the pigs want to regain trust, here is where they must start:
They must actively purge themselves of the corrupt.
The “good cops” must stand up and actively arrest the bad cops.
As long as the so called “good cops” keep shielding, protecting, and turning a blind eye to the demons, they are all guilty, just as the entirety of the catholic church is guilty by protecting the child raping priests.
There are no “good cops”.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I love that “resisting arrest” has become the new justification for police murder.

zenvelo's avatar

@jca You hit on the solution! Repeal the 2nd Amendment.

ibstubro's avatar

In the US, police are grossly underpaid, making it largely a profession for misfits with an inferiority complex.

A lot of heavily armed men with tiny penises, IMO.

zenvelo's avatar

@ibstubro A lot of heavily armed men with tiny penises, IMO.

IMO that phrase is redundant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why are men so hung up on penis size?

ragingloli's avatar

*hung with

ibstubro's avatar

For the same approximate reason that all women are irrationally fearful of men, 24/7/365, @Dutchess_III. i.e. It’s hyperbole.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I think @ragingloli said it best,if they want to regain the trust and respect of the public, then the Police better stop shielding bad cops,and in turn make them face justice ,like any other citizen in society has to do when they break the law.

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