Privatizing Local Police Departments
Who knew privatizing Police would eleviate the most inherently negative attributes of our PD's!
As many of us have been watching this growing, violent trend with many police officers around this great country, from the once outstanding relationship between the people and the "Peace Officer" to " this obvious "us" against them mentality, with many of them forgetting that they are no less a civilian than the rest of us. As depicted and possibly overly stated in the above picture, most of them have become militarized, which only deepens this opposing attitude. Of course, I am not trying to portray some 1952 Ozzy & Harriet, Pollyanna picture here of what it should still be, especially not for police in many major cities, much less around our Southern Gaza strip border. No doubt it is not the same job it once was, just as most people in the world are not the same decent folk as we once were. Sorry, that's just the plain, naked truth of it. These days an LE officer has absolutely no clue to what he is rolling up on, even in the higher end neighborhoods; so no doubt this has been playing a large part in why they have become more and more detached, but no excuse for undue violence However, on the other end of all this is the Police unions, and all the political BS that has grown rampant in even the smallest of PD's. That, coupled with the fact that nine times out of ten when a bad cop, or even a good one on his way to the dark side beats down some unarmed citizen, or worse, kills them, which has been the growing trend, so much so that certain agencies have been UN-padding the numbers and we have the very real makings for the next "Concord" eventually. Even the remotest possibility of this, or even the possibility of smaller, deliberate actions against them would make one think it should at the very least concern them enough to weed out the corrupted fruit among them. Yet, this has not been the overall trend. However, this idea of disbanding all the local Police Dept's where funding, confrontational issues with the local population, and long term flat-lined or growing crime statistics are apparent, seems to be working.
When it is all boiled down it comes to personal responsibility, and the way LE in AmeriKa is politically driven now, there is none, not for the officer, and not for the PD. Nearly regardless of any unlawful action short of the very few so blatantly outstanding, no officers feel the full force of the very law they portend to enforce. So much so now, that murdering chained up, and or obviously non-threatening and docile animals has become common place among their ranks. So, as this article below points out, a private citizen hired to a private corporation for policing can and will be open for all legal measures against them personally, as well as against their employer in all the same cases of gratuitous violence against any person or animal. How many law suits and the bad press that goes along with them can any one corporate entity absorbe before being forced out for another? This just may be the needed silver bullet!
Questions of police accountability and efficacy have been prominent topics in the news of late. On a disturbingly regular basis, we hear and read stories of heavy-handed responses by officers, who, instead of de-escalating confrontations as a domestic police force ought, seem to prefer committing violence on the citizenry they’re ostensibly charged to protect.
What’s more, pursuant to supreme and federal court cases such as Castle Rock v. Gonzales and Warren v. District of Columbia, it is established precedent that police have no legal obligation to “protect and serve” the population. Law enforcement officers can and have, quite literally, stood by and watched while victims were brutally assaulted, done nothing, and because of their special legal status, could not be held liable afterwards.
So where does that leave the citizenry who pays both the fiscal and physical price for maintaining a police force of increasingly questionable legitimacy? In short, we have an overly aggressive, militarized law enforcement community that embraces an “us vs. them” mentality, who has no real obligation to protect or serve, and because of legal precedent cannot be held accountable when they overstep their authority. Maybe it’s time to reexamine the entire paradigm of modern, government sanctioned policing.
A potential solution: the private sector
In 2012, Sharpstown, a community just southwest of Houston, Texas, declined to renew its contract with the constable’s office, and hired S.E.A.L. Security Solutions, a private firm, to patrol their streets. Although calls to the Sharpstown Civic Association were not returned, it’s easy to deduce why they embraced the idea of a privatized security solution.
“Since we’ve been in there, an independent crime study that they’ve had done [indicates] we’ve reduced the crime by 61%” in just 20 months, says James Alexander, Director of Operations for SEAL. You read that right: Crime dropped 61% in Sharpstown in just over a year and a half.
The reason for their striking success is two-fold, Alexander states. He cites the continuous patrol of SEAL’s officers in their assigned neighborhoods as opposed to the strategy of intermittent presence that the constable embraced. “On a constable patrol contract, it’s either a 70/30 or an 80/20. Meaning they say they patrol your community 70 percent of the time, [while] 30 percent of the time they use for running calls out of your area or writing reports.”
He continues, “The second thing that drastically reduces the crime is that we do directed patrols, meaning we don’t just put an officer out there and say ‘here, go patrol.’ We look at recent crime stats, and we work off of those crime stats. So if we have hotspots in those areas say for that month, we focus and concentrate our efforts around those hotspots.”
When asked to compare traditional law enforcement to the SEAL model, Alexander explains, “Law enforcement officers are trained to be reactive. They’re out there to run calls, they’re running one call to another, so they’re reacting to something that’s already happened. Private security, the way that we train our guys, is more proactive, meaning that we’re in the community proactively patrolling to prevent those crimes.”
Not only is SEAL more successful at crime prevention than traditional law enforcement, they’re cheaper. Sharpstown is saving $200,000 per year over their previous contract with the constable, and they get more patrol officers for less money.
Civil libertarians will appreciate the accountability of SEAL’s officers; they cannot hide behind qualified immunity and police unions. “We do not receive the same protection, as we are in the private sector,” Alexander states, “However we are not bound by the same restraints either, like violating civil rights.” While his second statement may be a little troubling, it should be noted that because of their private sector status, any SEAL officer who crosses the line can be held personally liable, both criminally and financially, unlike government agents.
The idea of privatizing policing is catching on. As of this writing, over 70 communities in Harris County and most of the major management districts have contracted with SEAL.....