Cops want to believe that they are to protect and serve. That is the ideal they espouse. The motto of nearly every city or department. But it is not their function.
The function of police is to determine 2 things. 1. Has a law been broken and if so, by whom.
2. To gather evidence of said infraction to present to the District Attorneys/prosecutor.
That is the base function.
That’s it. Anything beyond that is frosting.
But when we allow them to believe that ‘protecting’ is their function, we get into a quagmire of value judgments. Where personal bias and institutional bias meet and have a toxic baby.
Yes. There was a time when police could execute some judgment upon execution of the law. But we’ve grown too far beyond that. It’s no longer true that street cops actually know the people on their beat. Further, they have no investment in the community that they patrol because they don’t live there. They don’t need to make sure their neighborhood is a good place to live.
And the internal culture reflects this mentality. They see themselves as a community under siege. That ‘civilians’ don’t understand. That cops should be given freedom to persue their goals to protect.
Without true scrutiny, oversight, or interference.
That is the worst kind of false narrative. One which creates a Us vs Them dynamic. Which makes it so that actions outside of the rules become justified. Because they are trying to ‘protect’.
This culture which sees itself as us vs them. Which denounces those who report the crimes of other police. Which considers the body which is there to police them as the “Rat squad”. Which eschews civilian oversight. Which relies on police unions to keep them in power. Its a broken system.
One which functions more like a gang than the military that they play as. Gangs don’t want you to ‘rat’. Gangs want you to rely solely on them for solace and support. Gangs create a us vs them society. And gangs only care about the gang. The thin blue line.
Police use the perpetual threat in negotiations that their members will pull their protection from the cities and citizenry that they serve. That is the definition of a protection racket. Pay up or you don’t know what could happen.
This is a system which requires drastic change. Which requires drastic measures. And it is evident that the change is no longer possible from within.
Police in our country(the USA) are flawed and corrupt on such a fundamental level that internal reforms are no longer an option.
It’s a incendiary statement. But if it is, perhaps it’s time to light the pyre.