What's the Job of Police?

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posted on Jul, 22 2006 @ 06:48 PM
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Carolyn Warren, et al., vs. District of Columbia, et al. 444 Atlantic Reporter, 2nd Series, beginning at p.1, (DC Appeals, 1981).

Summary. Appeal from Civil Action No. 79-394. In the trial court, the defendants were “non-suited,” a term meaning that there is no relief for their complaint which also means the Trial Court did not go into the merits of their claims. A special 3 judge panel of the DC court reversed the decision as applied to Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro. The case of the third complainant, Miriam Douglas, was not reinstated. The DC appealed the part of the decision reinstating the case of the 2 women to the Appeals Court.

FROM the case:
Warren and Taliaferro heard Douglas' screams from the floor below. Warren telephoned the police, told the officer on duty that the house was being burglarized, and requested immediate assistance. The department employee told her to remain quiet and assured her that police assistance would be dispatched promptly. Warren's call was received at Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters at 6:23 a. m., and was recorded as a burglary in progress. At 6:26 a. m., a call was dispatched to officers on the street as a "Code 2" assignment . . Four police cruisers responded to the broadcast; three to the Lamont Street address and one to another address to investigate a possible suspect.

Warren and Taliaferro crawled from their window onto an adjoining roof and waited for the police. While there, they saw one policeman drive through the alley behind their house and proceed to the front of the residence without stopping to check the back entrance of the house. A second officer apparently knocked on the door in front of the residence, but left when he received no answer. The three officers departed the scene at 6:33 a. m., five minutes after they arrived.

Warren and Taliaferro crawled back inside their room. They again heard Douglas' continuing screams; again called the police; told the officer that the intruders had entered the home, and requested immediate assistance. Once again, a police officer assured them that help was on the way. This second call was received at 6:42 a. m. and recorded merely as "investigate the trouble" - it was never dispatched to any police officers.

Appellants' claims of negligence included: the dispatcher's failure to forward the 6:23 a. m. call with the proper degree of urgency; the responding officers' failure to follow standard police investigative procedures, specifically their failure to check the rear entrance and position themselves properly near the doors and windows to ascertain whether there was any activity inside; and the dispatcher's failure to dispatch the 6:42 a. m. call.

HOLDING. The trial judges correctly dismissed both complaints. In a carefully reasoned Memorandum Opinion, Judge Hannon based his decision on "the fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen."

[The operative words are “ . . to any particular individual citizen.” Comment offered by Don W]

The duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists. Holding that no special relationship existed between the police and appellants, Judge Hannon concluded that no specific legal duty existed. We hold that Judge Hannon was correct and adopt the relevant portions of his opinion.

" . . [I]t is easy to condemn the failings of the police. However, the desire for condemnation cannot satisfy the need for a special relationship out of which a duty to specific persons arises. In neither of these cases has a relationship been alleged beyond that found in general police responses to crimes. Civil liability fails as a matter of law. END.

See www.healylaw.com...



[edit on 7/22/2006 by donwhite]




posted on Jul, 22 2006 @ 08:13 PM
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Originally posted by Astronomer70
How can you possibly hope to define the "job" of police when the word job itself has no clearly defined agreed meaning?


You could start here:

www.m-w.com...

You could also consider the items you have mentioned and elaborate on them.



posted on Jul, 22 2006 @ 08:38 PM
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Very well then, the job of police is to perform their duties and responsibilities as police officers--namely to uphold and enforce the law(s) of the political jurisdiction that hired them.



posted on Jul, 22 2006 @ 09:46 PM
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On a societal level, the police would ideally promote the security and survival of society. However, the division between the police and the civillian has grown dangerously in the last several years. This "us" and "them" division is what has given birth to the "stop snitching movement," a movement designed to discourage cooperation with law enforcement. In many circles, it is simply unacceptable to speak to law enforcement, testify at a hearing, or make any statements. Proponents of the movement are now mass producing clothing lines, including t-shirts with stop signs on the front and the caption "Stop Snitching."

When I see movements like this it seems obvious to me that police power has gotten out of balance with police responsibility. From a sociological perspective, the only reason for police to exist is to benefit and promote the society. The organizational imperative has overridden the real purpose of a police force, and without some sweeping and wide spread social change, the problem will only get worse.

[edit on 7/22/06 by wellwhatnow]



posted on Jul, 22 2006 @ 10:58 PM
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posted by wellwhatnow

On a societal level, the police would ideally promote the security and survival of society. However, the division between the police and the civilian has grown dangerously in the last several years. [Edited by Don W]


You tell me why our states refused to abide by the US Con which says in two places that every defendant is entitled to a lawyer? In 1963, a Florida prisoner named Wainwright sued his warden, named Gideon. Wainwright was in prison but did not have a lawyer at his trial. The Supreme Court said “yes” the states must furnish a lawyer to an accused before you can lock him up. That was the start of the Public Defender Program.

This antagonism between police and civilians got going in earnest with the Miranda case from Arizona in 1966. To advise a defendant of his rights was not a new concept. In fact, if you have read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or seen any of the very excellent Sherlock Holmes movies, you know the English police always tell a person arrested, “everything you say will be taken down and used in evidence.” I have heard that warning frequently on old time radio shows like "Gang Busters" and "The Shadow." So what’s the hullabaloo? There is more, much more. But I’ll stop here.

I blame the sad state of affairs on Republicans. How many times have you heard a Republican candidate for any office bad mouth the US Supreme Court which was defining the limits of police power as it was applied to citizens? Wrist slapping does not work in the big time.

The only way the courts have to enforce these police practice rules is to deny the police the fruits of violating of the law. People got peeved when they saw guilty people released from jail because the evidence was tainted by police violations and not allowed to be used in court. Demagogues grabbed on a win win scenario! And the religious right types and neo cons eat it up!



In many circles, it is simply unacceptable to speak to law enforcement, testify at a hearing, or make any statements. Proponents of the movement are now mass producing clothing lines, including t-shirts with stop signs on the front and the caption "Stop Snitching."


Few people realize that 90% of police work is developing your informants. Without informants, most crimes would go unsolved. There is a great risk the street-wise informant will “develop” the police, so great care must be exercised to prevent this kind of role reversal in the name of law enforcement. New cops have to be closely supervised to be sure who is “running” who. It is one of the weaknesses of the generally useful Federal witness protection program.



From a sociological perspective, the only reason for police to exist is to benefit and promote the society. The organizational imperative has overridden the real purpose of a police force, and without some sweeping and wide spread social change, the problem will only get worse.


We must be sure we have identified the real problem and not go off “half cocked” and shoot ourselves in the foot. I for one believe today’s police are the very best we have ever had. There is a higher standard of professionalism than before. Cops have the toughest job in our society. We ask them to deal with the scum of the earth using rules made for decent people who act civilized and not to become infected with the criminals diseases.



[edit on 7/22/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Jul, 22 2006 @ 11:44 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite

We must be sure we have identified the real problem and not go off “half cocked” and shoot ourselves in the foot.



I am not blaming the police for what has happened. The root of the problem is in our legislation and law making bodies. The police do not get to decide what will be illegal. A very small group of elites are allowed to define what will be considered deviant. Then they decide how the police are to go about enforcing the law. In my opinion, this is a problem as I do not trust these few to decide what is best for all of society.

There are certainly cases of a misuse of power by the police, but the problem goes deeper than that. Those who gave them the power are the ones I blame first.

(edit for clarity)

[edit on 7/22/06 by wellwhatnow]



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 07:32 AM
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posted by wellwhatnow



posted by donwhite

We must be sure we have identified the real problem and not shoot ourselves in the foot.
[Edited by Don W]


I am not blaming the police for what has happened. The root of the problem is in our law making bodies. [Edited by Don W]


The most visible evidence of what you are saying WWN?, I describe as “micro-managing” by Congress and state legislatures. If you have time, watch some of the hearings on CSpan, and note how our representatives are “making points” with the electorate by asking mostly silly or irrelevant questions which the witnesses have to dutifully answer as if it was a real question. Disgusting. Frustrating. Deceptive. Disturbing.



The police do not decide what will be illegal. A very small group of elites are allowed to define what will be considered deviant. Then they decide how the police are to go about enforcing the law.


Would it not be a reassuring thing to watch if we had a Commission of “police on the street” and maybe even some convicted persons, trying to work out what is needed and how to best accomplish it, whit due regard for fundamental civil rights.



This is a problem as I do not trust these few to decide what is best for all of society . . Those who gave them the power are the ones I blame first. [Edited by Don W]


Trust comes from continuous, solid, dependable performance. Not from a slick election campaign. I guess I’m restating the admonition, “walk the walk and drop the talk.” I think what we are describing is endemic in our institutions. That is both good and bad. Good because even when cracked but not broke, the system still works, more or less. Bad because is takes time and a of it to make change either for the better or for the worse.

Who said, “Constant vigilance is the price of democracy?”



[edit on 7/23/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 06:23 PM
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posted by GradyPhilpott

You could start here: You could consider the items you mentioned and elaborate on them.


Issue 1. A couple decades ago, the police switched side arms to the 9 mm semi auto.

I don’t like this.

Issue 2. In the same time frame, we have seen local PD SWAT - special weapons assault teams - units proliferate. I watched a drug enforcing unit on a forcible entry detail on tv the other day and they looked exactly like our USMC in Fallujah.

I don’t like this.

What say you, GradyPhilpott?



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 06:57 PM
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I don't have a problem with auto pistols, but I do believe that the police need to maintain more of a law enforcement appearance, rather than a paramilitary appearance. SWAT teams are a reality, however, because of the nature of modern society.

[edit on 2006/7/23 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 08:26 PM
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Guns Police Carry

Before WW2, most local policemen had to furnish their own weapons as well as the uniforms. I remember when my city of Louisville advertised for used firearms to buy for the LPD, in the late 1940s. The Board of Alderman then authorized $150 for a uniform allowance, about 2 weeks pay.

By the late 1970s, most police were furnished with .38 revolvers. Semi-automatic pistols were not considered as reliable. If you have a mis-fire in a revolver, pull the trigger and you’re back in business. However post War 2 pistols and factory ammo both got to be so reliable that this was no longer a major concern. The revolver was about to be replaced.

In 1985, The US Army changed from the M1911A1 .45 Colt pistol to the Beretta Model 92FS. The Army assigned “M9" as its designation. Double action, 15 rounds in 9 mm caliber. (This gun is also offered in .40 S&W). Many if not most police departments have adopted the 9 mm pistol replacing the traditional S&W Model 10 style 6 shooters in .38 Special caliber.

The police face a rather unique problem for people who use firearms in their work. The gun needs to be powerful enough to disable (or kill) an adversary, but not so powerful as to pass though walls, car bodies (or other people), and retain enough power to injure innocent people in the vicinity. If this was not a prime concern, every cop would be issued the famous Dirty Harry .44 Magnum revolver. J Edgar Hoover had issued the more powerful .357 Magnum revolvers to the FBI in the late 1930s, but the FBI is rarely involved in shooting episodes.

In 2000, in NYC’s Bronx, Amador Diallo, was approached by 4 police who said they thought he reached for a gun, and he was shot 43 times. That alone is indecent. To shoot a man 43 times. No, Amador was not armed. It is surmised he was reaching for his wallet to identify himself. An innocent man.

A similar incident occurred in London less than a month after 2005's 7/7 triple bombing when an innocent Brazilian man was shot 5 times by one officer up very close to the suspect who was pronounced DOA at hospital. Wrong man.

There are many more of this kind of tragedy. NYPD’s Bryan Conroy, received up to 4 years in prison for the negligent killing of Qusmane Zongo, of Africa. Zongo was suspected of selling counterfeit CDs. He was unarmed, but he was shot 4 times. Conroy offered that Zongo lunged at him and he shot in self defense but witnesses said they thought Zongo had tried to run away.

Psychologists have said publicly that a person under the intense pressure of making a hazardous arrest with gun drawn, may fire on the slightest unexpected movement by the suspect, without consciously deciding to do so, but in a reflex action in part due to his training. It is further said that the noise of the gun firing may cause repeated but involuntary trigger squeezing until the gun is empty; the shooter remembering the event as if he had fired only one shot.

Without meaning to be trite, we do not hire cops to engage in a quick draw contest with wrong-doers. Every cop means to go home to his family at the end of his shift. That is not unreasonable. We don’t hire Bat Masterson’s or Wyatt Earp’s. The Army’s full automatic M16 has been modifed to allow for 3 shots each time the trigger is pulled, to reduce the number of wasted, unaimed rounds. A 3 shot burst is considered enough for military purposes. The M16 remains capable of single shot fire as well. But no more discharging a 30 round magazine each time you pull the trigger.

I believe police weapons should be engineered to limit firing to 3 rounds before some conscious decision must be made to fire 3 more rounds. Aside from being unseemly, it is putting the public at unacceptable risk to fire off 43 rounds at one man. And him not firing back.



[edit on 7/23/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 08:39 PM
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Even before the full auto mode on M-16s was modified, Marines were trained to fire in three round bursts. Obviously, in combat full auto suppressing fire was quite common.

Altering police semi auto firearms to fire no more than three rounds in semi auto mode places a restriction on police that even revolvers don't have. A better means to limit fire would be to limit magazine capacity, but a three round magazine would be ludicrous and could cost lives in a serious encounter.

When the ridiculous Brady bill was enacted, civilian magazine capacities were limited to ten rounds, while larger capacities were allowed for law enforcement.

I would also like to point out that by the late seventies, the .357 was the round of choice for law enforcement and had been since at least the sixties.

The current round of choice for law enforcement is the .40 S&W, although the 9mm is still popular.

I think that allowing police to carry arms with which they are comfortable is the best way to go, limiting full-auto to SWAT applications.


[edit on 2006/7/24 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 08:11 AM
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When you send a cop into a street fight armed with a single-shot pea-shooter, going up against a punk armed with a full automatic, it will spell disaster for the cop. Why would you want to hobble an officer? It's beyond me.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 08:51 AM
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They are called "peace officers" because their job is to protect the peace. If by protecting the peace they have to arrest some miscreant then that is what they do. If to protect the peace, they drive someone home from the bar, then that is what they do. Unfortunately, if to protect the peace they must utilize violence then that is what they do. Their only job is to protect the peace of those people around them. Now defining how they go about the "protecting of the peace" is where the problems begin.

I've long been an advocate of personal responsibility in maintaining the peace. It is up to the neighborhood to police itself with the police as an option of last resort, to take over when a situation has moved beyond a certain point of control. It's defining that point where the problems of police power occur. My opinion is the less the better, you can always give them more power if obsolutely neccessary, but you'll play merry hell trying to get it back once given.

Does this make any sense? It did while I was writing it, and reading it before posting. Oh well, guess I'll find out in a little bit.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 03:27 PM
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Seems to me there are at least two aspects to "protecting the peace" (in the sense you are using that phrase). One aspect would have to deal with the methods, techniques, tools and such of the peace officers and another would have to be some definition of what constitutes breaking the peace--in other words the laws of the political jurisdiction that hired and pays the peace officers.

Having said that, let me add that it is pretty easy to see where ambiguities, uncertainties and interpretations creep into the mix. It is well nigh impossible to pre-define all circumstances that would constitute breaking the peace and it is just about as difficult to define what methods, techniques, tools, etc. of peace officers are needed to keep the peace. To be extreme, we wouldn't want peace officers to use nukes inside the city limits, for example.

I would imagine that what would be considered acceptable police practices in one community would be considered totally unacceptable in another. That's one of the reasons we have courts of law--so we can decide what reasonable and prudent men would do in the same circumstances.

[edit on 25-7-2006 by Astronomer70]



posted on Sep, 17 2006 @ 07:31 PM
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At the last official estimate, there were 970,588 Law Enforcement Employees in the United States.

This number includes Dispatchers, Investigators, CSI, Traffic, SWAT etc.

Taking into consideration shift restraints, less than 1/4 of them are on duty at any one time. That leaves less than 242,647 Officer's to police a population of over 300 Million. Now subtract the support personnel; that is going to leave less that 150,000. Again for a population of 300 million.

Priorities....


People complain on here and every where about what the Police should or should not be doing. Out giving tickets for seat belts, speeding, arresting for dope, murder etc. Usually this complaining is a result of some negative personal interaction with us. Everyone thinks the Police should be where ever they are at the moment, unless they are doing something wrong, then we should mind our own business and stop "getting in" their personal affairs.

Remember...

The Police are NOT autonomous!!!

They work under the direction of the City Counsel, County Counsel or State Legislature that YOU have elected. These elected bodies either directly instruct your Police to ticket for seat belts, or place pressure upon them to do so. Same with speeding, etc.

So if we are all out rounding up those bail jumpers, and "Putting people in jail," then you will simply complain when "Little Johnny" gets run over by a speeder because we were not out there running that radar you just complained about.
What if we are all processing those same bail jumpers when some nice old lady gets mugged and we can't respond??

It takes anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to process each arrest, depending on the jurisdiction and whether or not they have a processing unit. {Another unit that counts towards the total and takes Police off the street.}

Priorities...

As far as the guns go, the typical Police Officer goes through a LOT more training than even the average Marine. (I was in the Corp) Yet, being in a shooting incident is very different from sitting here talking about what they should or could have done.

My opinion is that a gun is a gun is a gun. I like having the extra ammo, and keep a "Long Gun" in my trunk as well. But I was happy years ago with my 357 as well.



Semper



posted on Sep, 17 2006 @ 07:57 PM
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Thanks for your law enforcement perspective. However, I feel that given the high rate of recidivism that rounding up all those who have outstanding warrants would be a good start toward cleaning up rampant crime problems such as the one we have here in ABQ.

I doubt that the police force, as it is currently organized, could handle the task, but given the number of outstanding warrants* in our county, it would seem that placing a priority on this issue would be a good start.

We had a Bernalillo deputy sheriff who was murdered by an individual who had an outstanding murder warrant. Just a few days before the deputy was murdered, the killer visited his parole officer, who had no idea that the individual was wanted on a murder charge.

One deputy's life could have been saved if the priorities had been different. Creating a special task force to address this problem would probably make some people nervous, but it would clean up the streets considerably.

*

In addition, with more than 60,000 active warrants in Bernalillo County, sending officers to arrest every wanted person would take too much manpower, he added.

krqe.com...



[edit on 2006/9/17 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Sep, 17 2006 @ 08:02 PM
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I doubt that the police force, as it is currently organized could handle the task, but given the number of outstanding warrants in our county, it would seem that placing a priority on this issue would be a good start.


Around 1997 or so, most Police Organizations of any size, 2 or 3 hundred actual officers, committed a substantial portion of Officers and the budget by creating "Warrant Squads."

Now almost every Police Department, Sheriff's Office and State organization has them.

There are simply too many out there. That is a fact, not an opinion.

As long as the courts and the judges keep releasing criminals on BS bonds, there is no possible way we, as an organization, will ever be able to even make an impact, much less solve the problem.

There are not enough of us out there....

Semper



posted on Sep, 17 2006 @ 08:08 PM
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Originally posted by semperfortis
There are not enough of us out there....


Then we need more.



posted on Sep, 17 2006 @ 08:11 PM
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Can I forward that to my superiors???

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I have been asking for an increase in my budget for 3 years to no avail.

I can't even hire on HS money, because there is no way of knowing when that will end.

Semper



posted on Sep, 17 2006 @ 08:37 PM
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A few comments from a former law-enforcement perspective.

1.) When councilman are looking for a place to cut the budet, the Police Department is a great place to start, because there is no immediate response to the budget cut, it takes a while. And most of the people who vote aren't in the sections of town that tend to get affected. And for those of you reading this suddenly screaming "I vote!" well, why aren't you writing your city council instead of writing here (and my apologies to those of you who do)?

2.) The nitwit on the outskirts of town who files a complaint about "what took you so long" to respond to his call is probably the same man who filed the complaint about the cruiser driving over the speed limit last week.

3.) Police as a profession have one of the highest rate of lawsuits of any profession (right up there with doctors!). So add that to the average officers daily worries. Because most of the time, when a citizen complaint comes up, the assumption on the part of our superiors is that we screwed up. Because it's better public relations.

4.) The one time when a girl comes back a few weeks later, and tells you that your kindness helped her get through the aftermath of her rape, makes all the other crap meaningless. THAT is what Police do, and in the end, it's why you keep putting on the uniform. Hoping to help that next person...





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