General Question

janbb's avatar

How should the police be policed?

Asked by janbb (63039points) May 29th, 2020

Obviously, the system we have is not working. Too many “bad apples” or systemic silence and complicity is causing the deaths of too many innocent Black people.

How should police be chosen, trained and disciplined when they commit crimes against humanity?

I don’t have answers but I think it’s time we start asking the questions.

Posted in General so off-topic rants will be flagged.

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43 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

You could start by expanding self-defence and stand-your-ground laws to include self defence against cops.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It doesn’t work that way – - @ragingloli

I’m a bank robber and cops come after, so it’s okay to open fire on the cops! That in your view would be self defense.

chyna's avatar

The body cameras don’t seem to deter the cops as was the point in having them wear cameras. They just turn off the sound or video and act like they don’t know it malfunctioned. Or don’t give a damn if they are caught. I don’t know the answer either.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@janbb There is an internal investigation group in most police departments. In my state and others there is at the state level a SBI (State Bureau of Investigation). It used for officer involved shootings and excessive force cases.

Inspired_2write's avatar

They should had been trained better. As the fellow cops just stood by ?

They should be taught that in case a fellow cop crosses the line of behavior , then they should step up to counteract.

I wonder IF it was because the cop may had been a senior rank and thus the others stood back?

If this was the case then this should had been addressed in training , especially when he oversteps his role.

kritiper's avatar

They are already policed by the federal government, specifically, the FBI. But assholes abound. There are rouges in every agency, company, what-have-you.
Just like with everything else, you can control all of the problem some of the time, some of the problem all of the time, but you can’t control all of the problem all of the time.

zenvelo's avatar

Get rid of the fucking guns! These problems don;t exist where people don;t have guns and the police don’t need them either.

Take away the armored personnel carriers and the assault rifles and the bullet proof vests.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

US cops have “qualified immunity” which means they can’t be sued for doing their jobs. But courts have allowed that protection even when they murder innocent people in unprovoked attacks.

Knocking that down to a reasonable level would be a huge step. Any day now we will see if the Supreme Court agrees to hear a case that could change the precedent.

USA Today – May 29, 2020 – Legal immunity for police misconduct, under attack from left and right, may get Supreme Court review

kritiper's avatar

@zenvelo Back in the old west, the problem didn’t exist either. Because EVERYBODY had a gun. It’s like MAD: Mutual Assured Destruction. See? It works for superpowers as well…
So don’t blame it on guns!

janbb's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I know there is an internal investigation group in most departments. I’m not saying how are they being policed; I’m asking how should they be policed since what is being done is not working.

One thought of mine is that they should be tried in public courtrooms. I don’t know if that’s the answer but it might help.

gorillapaws's avatar

@kritiper If EVERYBODY had a nuke, do you think there would be more nuclear detonations or fewer? Mutually assured destruction only works if you’re concerned about preserving something. When someone doesn’t care about their own life, then it just gives them the opportunity to cause mass destruction (e.g. Stephen Paddock).

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin had over a dozen police conduct complaints. The problem is police management and Chief of police didn’t properly act on the complaints. If he had remedial training it obliviously did make any difference in his actions, he should have been removed from his position long ago.

janbb's avatar

@Tropical_Willie So how do we get that to change? It’s not just rogue police or police chiefs or it wouldn’t keep happening. Something needs to change systemically.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’ll bet some of the activity in the background was his Police Union. Here’s a piece by Mother Jones on the union and its tactics, sounds like Hitler’s Sturmabteilung or Brown Shirts. The Union President spoke at a Trump rally last year; he recently supported Trump’s actions and put down Obama.

I bet if Trump gets them 50 Caliber Machine Guns there will be blood in the streets. with Trump grinning ear to ear.

Patty_Melt's avatar

The military has a hard stance in regard to racial discrimination.

As I have stated on another thread, our country’s improvement in regards to various types of bigotry is slow, but it is happening.

What I experienced in the military was a reduced sense of bigotry from the civilian world. The paperwork you sign when joining up specifically states that racist behavior will not be tolerated and is a punishable offense.
Even so, stuff happens, but far less than even in my early childhood days.
I feel, and have felt, that the police population should have the same rules, and severe consequences for all officers on all levels.

Here is one hang up in why transition from bigotry and abuse is so slow…
Freedom makes social offenses take a sidestep because with expensive legal representation can twist personal freedoms to the point that even when prosecuted, we can end up being a slap on the wrist.
The military is more capable in supporting the rules, because freedom is a very different story there. In the military, a CO (Commanding Officer) can say, “sure, but sentencing is up to me. For your infraction you are sentenced to fifty hours of extra duty (supervised by base police) five hundred dollars fine, and reduction in pay grade.”
That could be done with someone found to be using the N – word.

Police don’t have that kind of guardianship. There needs to be more than some internal affairs department. There should be a peace officer board of legal offenses, which investigates, and prosecutes offenses. With an autonomous power of prosecution, a stricter set of regulations and consequences could be implemented. With that in place, officers could report officers with less fear of retribution.
Structured on a federal level, and with restrictions specific to law enforcement, consequences can be tailored to the responsibilities of law enforcement, such as addressing the difference between a hostile situation like the aforementioned bank robbery, and the peaceable taking of a suspect in situations like we are faced with right now. It could also take into account certain things like officers with PTSD who have overreacted in a way they ordinarily would not. In such cases they could mandate some mental screening to determine if this is a rogue cop, or a cop in need of mental health services.
Sometimes good cops can behave badly because of extreme past experiences.

To be clear, I don’t think that is the case with this particular case. At least two of the officers involved have a history.

This is where though, looting and vandalism is such a detriment. Fresh officers sent to deal with these situations come to see this neighborhood as volatile, and residents quick to be violent, so their future calls they will automatically feel compelled to respond as though any suspect will be a threat. You just can’t expect anything else.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Up here the police have an independent body to investigate the police, because in the past it kinda makes no sense to have the police investigate themselves.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think the job of policeman is problematic for several reasons. And right up front is the great problem confronting the entire peacekeeping and criminal justice system. Across the board, the actual work within that system does not conform to expectations, because the requirements stipulated are out of kilter with the actual realities on the way the society is ordered and regulated. In other words, what we are taught to believe about the way our world is ordered is in fact false. Though we all know better, we operate on the belief that such precepts as equality are in fact the way things are. While our laws and institutions may be promulgated on such ideals, the best we can hope for is to some degree or another approach those ideals. The behavior of the cops merely illustrates how far the narrative of the way things work fails to conform with what we are indoctrinated to believe. Racial disparities in particular illustrate this problem, because within less than a generation, despite whatever we are told or might believe, the primary function of the country’s police departments as with the society overall is assumed to have shifted from “keeping them in their place” to “they’re just like us”. The cops just occupy the space in that illusion where the rubber meets the road. It is the place where the fallacy is most visible and loud, but the courts and prisons show us that the truth pervades the entire system and permeates the society at large. It’s just too easy to forget and ignore the truth. There is hope that in time we will be able through attrition to diminish race as the distinguishing factor in injustice, and revert to the more democratic marker of class in determining who is to be stepped on.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Tropical_Willie “There is an internal investigation group in most police departments.”

Good news! We’ve investigated ourselves and found we did nothing wrong.”

As to the question -

Forget Internal Affairs. It’s a goddamn joke. The police should be policed by a board of citizens with no personal or professional ties to the police department.

Tropical_Willie's avatar


i had a family friend that was in Internal Affairs, he took it personal and the department got rid of several “bad apples”! But in Minneapolis it sounds like the Union is running the show.

kritiper's avatar

@gorillapaws There is and will always be some gun who thinks he/she is faster than you and will come to town to prove it. Always. I didn’t say it was perfect, just the best thing going at any time, both then and now.
Nukes, like firearms, are just the same: It’s the people, not the weapon.

kritiper's avatar

This question really should be in “social.” Because if there was or were any true, viable solutions/answers, society would be doing just that, so any answers here for this specific question are purely conjectural.

janbb's avatar

@kritiper Like we’ve come up with all the other viable solutions to all our other problems but I take your meaning.

On the other hand, I think there are solutions to police racism and brutality that could be put in place if there is the will to do so.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have long forgotten where I read it, but I read an article about how people are trained to be police. In the States, the training takes a matter of months. In Europe, it takes 2 years. I like the idea of longer training time.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I agree with you Jake.

kritiper's avatar

@janbb Why not apply that to all of society?? Wouldn’t that be better??

janbb's avatar

@kritiper If that’s a question you have, please ask a separate question. My question is about how to train and discipline police so that they do not kill people unnecessarily.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

For one thing @janbb like a politician (ha-ha) they need to be held accountable for their actions.
Like I said up here there is a separate body that is independent of the Police to investigate the Police, when there is a questionable action by the Mounties.

raum's avatar

Recently asked this about our local police force:

Where does the funding for “POST” come from? Who decides which ones are mandatory and which ones are optional? Who’s creating these courses? And is there any data being taken on their efficacy?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Longer training requirements, trauma-informed policy changes and education, no guns.

janbb's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf And perhaps psychological testing and retesting periodically?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@janbb yes, definitely agree on that too.

ragingloli's avatar

Their record, including all the complaints, should be public record, and every month there will be a vote held by the people of the town, which of the cops to get rid off and sent into exile.
No severance package, no pension, no appeal.

janbb's avatar

How about oversight boards with local citizens on them?

Patty_Melt's avatar

Loli, cops are not there for popularity. Sheriffs are elected. That is a huge problem in many places.
Trying to please everybody is no way to conduct law enforcement.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

The elected mayor should have final say.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Patty_Melt “cops are not there for popularity”

Then don’t complain that cops are not liked, trusted or respected in the communities where they serve.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Funny stance from someone who thinks a nation of idiots elected Trump President, but you want the same people to choose who will wear a badge and carry a gun.
Do you trust voters, or not?

gorillapaws's avatar

I think we need to end our police training partnerships with Israel. Instead, we should be sending our cops to learn from the UK where most officers don’t wear guns. I think our officers could learn a hell-of-a-lot from them in terms of de-escalation tactics.

Patty_Melt's avatar

So, what I said, only when I read this, I could hear his voice. :-)

Strauss's avatar

Transparency. Personnel records should not be sealed, except possibly under extremely limited situations.

Social media. Abuse captured on social media must be investigated, and officer 8n question should be on mandatory admin (in fairness, with pay unless determined otherwise.

Community. More emphasis should be placed on the “Protect and Serve” mottoes

De-militarize. Stop turning police departments into militias. If you want to be a soldier join the Army, not the police department.

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