No, most cops are not “honorable, valuable public servants”

Police-BrutalityDaniel Payne writes in The Federalist that We Need Police Reform.  He is absolutely correct but he makes the typical and reflexive assumption that the majority of cops are just doing their jobs and are not part of the problem.


The job of a police officer is to uphold the laws and arrest those who break those laws. Yet every day, tens of thousands of these supposedly honest policemen carefully ignore the lawbreaking of their fellow cops. These “honorable, valuable public servants who do genuine good in their communities” are nothing of a sort. They are criminals too, because they support and defend the obvious criminals in their midst.

From fixing parking tickets to ignoring speeding and drunk driving to turning a blind eye to abuse of citizens, it is the “honest” cops who are the problem. No organization can reject all bad applicants, and government is probably much worse than the private sector. So a certain number of criminal cops is inevitable. But when the culture within the police community supports those bad cops, reform is vital. And that means a total overhaul of how we hire, train, manage and discipline the police, starting with the willing dupes who allow the criminal-cops to operate with impunity.

13 comments to “No, most cops are not “honorable, valuable public servants””
  1. We’re still working out the kinks on posting. I *think* CBD wanted me to post this now. Apologies if I got it wrong!

  2. “But when the culture within the police community supports those bad cops, reform is vital. And that means a total overhaul of how we hire, train, manage and discipline the police, starting with the willing dupes who allow the criminal-cops to operate with impunity.”

    Agreed. The problem is the disincentives for good people to join the force (see Darren Wilson, Marylin Mosby, Bill DeBlasio) as well as the so-called “blue wall of silence” that even to this day permeates police forces. It’s also human nature, sadly, that some people when given a badge let it go to their heads, and I don’t think any amount of training can root that out.

  3. At some point we seem to have elevated “cops” to the status of heroes, and accordingly decided that they needed to be able to protect themselves at all costs.

    Here’s the thing: policing is a dangerous job, so is being a lineman, coal miner, etc.

    And while there are risk mitigations that can and should take place, we’ve reached a point though far beyond “reasonable.”
    Until recently every action taken by a cop was de facto “acceptable” because “safety.”
    I think this has mixed with a general abdication of personal responsibility for one’s own protection to government and it’s been a dangerous mix.

    There’s a middle ground we need to try and find again. My problem with Balko and co. is that I don’t think they actually have any plan for dealing with high crime areas other than “talk some more with people.”

  4. If risk mitigation were the only issue it would be a manageable problem. But the lawlessness of the typical cop is offensive in a supposedly free society.

  5. “There’s a middle ground we need to try and find again.”


    I freely confess that as a non-Libertarian and as an oldish person (52), I tend to side with the police. I am uncomfortable with the eagerness I’ve been seeing to always assume the worst about LEO. Frankly, a lot of it seems to come from ppl who have had run-ins with the police owing to their – or their friends and family members’ – decisions to break the law. (Drug laws certainly being one of the most prevalent causes, it appears.)

    LEOs are not perfect and they should be held to high standards. But the solution it seems to me is to work within your local communities to ensure that accountability is demanded of them. Instead, I see a drift towards nationalizing police and that make me quite nervous.

  6. I have no rose colored glasses about the police.
    I grew up in a lilly white town. That didn’t mean the police didn’t harass people. Harassing teenagers was, in fact, their past time.
    I do not pretend it was as bad as what minority groups see. But it raises an issue I’ve been mulling over in my head: what if racism is an amplifier not a cause.
    By that I mean, what if racism (intentional, institutional or perceived) extenuates problems already in the system.

    This is my concern with the “black lives matter” movement. To the extent they have policy goals they seem to be things put in place to attempt to fix things relating to race. I’d rather fix the underlying problems.
    As an example, Ferguson may pull over less black drivers as a result of the DOJ report, but they won’t pull over and arbitrarily ticket less drivers. Heck they may not even pull over less black drivers, they may just pull over more white drivers to make up for it. Or consider the failure that is East St. Louis. Their new police chief is openly saying he intends to step up revenue collection “through DUI ticketing.”

  7. It’s always seemed to me that the “blue wall” was terrible policy. There should be no greater enemy of bad cops than a good cop because bad cops make the good cop’s jobs so much harder and more dangerous.

  8. Yep. The BLM has nothing to do with public safety or police reform and everything to do with drumming up racial unrest.

  9. Greetings! I look forward to your future postings.

    I am a conservative and told my liberal friend 4 or so years ago that when the cops have lost me they have truly screwed up. And they have lost me.
    Much of the problem is, as TSRBLKE says, the “whatever it takes to get me home” mentality. You just can’t avoid a quick to shoot,beat,taze mindset when there is so much emphasis on the occasional traffic-stop ambush.
    The rest of the problem is the us/them crap which I see as amplified by the military language,uniforms and equipment.
    Until something is done about the disdain cops generally hold for the average Joe, I will view them with a jaundiced eye.

  10. Pingback: Cut. Jib. Newsletter. | Miami-Dade Cops, And Their Union, Out Of Control? Say It Ain’t So!

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