Monday, February 8, 2021

A question for the cops

My token, Progressive friend raised a question that has me puzzled.

My friend is fully invested in the BLM narrative. After several rounds of not-so-pretty dialog he coughed up a short list of changes that had the potential to reduce the number of incidents of police brutality.

Slight detour: Any large group of people will collect a few members of every pathology. If you have enough librarians or CPAs or well-diggers, a few of them will be psychopaths.

Some professions are more attractive to psycho/sociopaths because they offer more power with fewer (perceived) restraints.

I personally knew a kid who wanted to be a cop because he was bullied and he wanted pay-back.

So please accept the hypothesis that there are a few bad-apples sprinkled through police forces across the world. If I am talking out my azz, then educate me.

End of detour:

One of the changes he suggested was to eliminate single-person patrols. His thinking was that a a partner might give somebody pause before administering a gratuitous hickory shampoo.

What do my readers who are cops think?

I am of two minds.

It seems like the junior partner will have limited ability to influence the senior partner. The combination of a "normal" junior with a bad-apple senior partner is more likely to result in two, compromised cops than the senior moderating his behavior.

The other thought is that non-lethal methods work better with two people. One to stay on the TASER (for instance) and the other to cuff or call for help. Two cops and a TASER can maintain control and the situation is less likely to escalate to a lethal-force-needed situation.

One reason my Proggy friend likes "partners" is that cop unions would probably swoon at the possibility of increasing dues-paying members as two-cops-patrolling would drive up manpower needs. Getting unions on-board makes changes more likely.


  1. Not LEO, but how about this. Do what the LEO says, don't argue with them and let the court and cooler heads decide.

  2. work in law enforcement when someone start to act out with a bad mouth you for doing your job .one would to try to control there reaction , that when they being to think they can treat the LOE like a bag of shit and it on from that point. it would just be a lot better to respect each other,

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  4. 1. Ask your friend for the examples of police brutality he is referencing, and then ask his indulgence as you explore their basis - together.
    2. Ask your friend how he reconciles the 'Defund the Po-Po" movement that is endorsed by BLM, and how this might affect police squad car double-teaming viability. Ask him to take you all the way through his logic so that you can fully understand his cognitive dissonance.
    3. In my town, the highway cops are often double-teamed. These stops generally result in more probable cause searches, just a visual survey based on my experience, I can't back this up with statistics (Also, I'm not a LEO), and it might just be that they are investing in good training. The city beat cops may, or may not be double teamed, but usually aren’t – also just my observations. However, I think double-teaming the squad cars is not a bad idea, if merited by risk analysis. It's a good way to have 2 body-cams recording everything (and usually a third in the vehicle). Evidence quality is that much better for the courts, whatever the charges might be, even if against the cops.

  5. Who would pay for all those 'extra' bodies? Especially when they are calling for defunding the police. And concur with Aggie.

  6. Curious, Joe, is your token friend referring to a smallish to medium sized community, and the city police? Or a city over 100.000 with a much larger force?

    The cost could be lowered by reducing the number of vehicles on the road at any time. Two officers that drove their own would buddy up. Would friend accept longer response times?

    This would be unlikely to work for the county sheriffs. Too much territory, too few men.

    Your friend has a difficult funding issue to explain. I suspect his plan would include other people's money.


    1. Darned perceptive question. My friend grew up in the 1950s in a medium sized city in New England.

      His military career was spent counting toilet seats and screwdrivers in Hoboken, NJ. and he makes frequent reference to how much more dangerous it is to be in the military than to be a cop on a big city street.

  7. Something that might help educate your friend on police matters is to have him do some ride-alongs. Sheriff patrol, Lansing city, State police, township police, etc. There is no perfect.
    I remember one time my ex-wife and I got home late one night and discovered that a drunk had driven head-on into a tree. Wasn't injured and was sleeping on front seat. Two State Cops arrived and were escorting him to the back seat of their car when the drunk went nuts and the cops really had their hands full trying to wrestle him into cuffs. They didn't "beat" him. Afterwards, my horrified, lefty, social working wife said "did you see what those cops did to that poor man?" Standing next to each other, we both watched two completely different movies. Good luck with your friend.

    1. My friend is a lost cause. He is good for blogging material and the two-cop patrols is worth throwing on the table.

      Money is always an issue.

  8. This trickled in via email. Billybob worked for a police force in a metro area between one-and-five million people.

    Billybob wrote:
    I worked patrol 12 years. I didn't start till I was 35. I had to put myself through the Sheriff's academy at my own expense because of my age, race and lack of college.
    During my 15 years I never had a use of force complaint, but used force several times.
    Tasers came out while I was working and I used mine several times.
    I also used my side handle baton several times.
    Looking back after hundreds of felony arrests, and over 300 court appearances.
    This is my honest opinion.
    Give me 10 bullets.
    After working the same beat for 9 years I can tell you by shooting dead 4 main gang members I could erraticate most of the violent crime in my beat.
    By shooting 2 liberal POS judges I could clean the entire sector containing 4 beats roughly 70,000 people. These judges went out of their way and put thousands of people at risk by rereleasing felons on a regular basis.
    Then shoot the 2 individuals who use correction officers and police officers union dues to buy politicians to keep the prison system a revolving door system.
    That would forever change the city and increase property values overall.
    And I would still have 2 bullets left.

  9. I think Billy Bob's onto something.

  10. Thing is, Less-than-Lethal method don't work, right around 30% of the time.

    Anything from thick clothing to messed up nerves to drugs to just plain genetics makes some people just extremely resistant to less-than-lethal.

    Pepper Spray? Please. I've seen people who have been over-saturated that just power through even bear-spray levels of that stuff.

    Tasers? Famous case in Gainesville, FL, where a university student with extremely messed up nerves went whacko and all less-than-lethal methods failed, bigly. Taser, bean bag, pepper spray, baton (both hand-held and fired from shotgun) didn't stop the guy. But a 5.56 did.

    Seriously. LtL works on normies, most of the time, at a rate far lesser than shooting them.

    1. I agree. I heard of a fat kid with a sweaty tee-shirt leaning against an electric fence. The owner assumed it was not on and it knocked him on his ass.

      Two points are under consideration.

      One: Is a two-man patrol more likely to first try non-lethal methods because, in the event the non-lethal method is not effective and things go sideways, the second man can escalate appropriately and pull the partner's bacon out of the fire?

      The second question in the post is "How can an institution countermeasure the possibility of (one bad apple) + (one less senior partner) = (two bad apples)?

  11. Since the advent of the internet and cameras literally EVERYWHERE the incidents demonstrating LEO overstepping the bounds of legitimate force are simply too numerous to catalog. Virtually every day a new one makes the rounds. And the vast majority of these videos depicting LEO over reacting, losing their tempers, abusing their authority and violating rights show MORE THAN ONE OFFICER ON SCENE. It's quite obvious that the problem is NOT lack of officers....the problem is one of ATTITUDE. From day one of the academy till the day they retire officers are hounded with the phrase "Go home at the end of your shift NO MATTER WHAT you have to do". They are granted the INSANE protection of "qualified immunity" where no matter how egregious their violations of law and rights are THEY are not held accountable...even if their victims prevail legally it's the TAXPAYERS who suffer for the officers poor judgement and lack of self control. LEO are inculcated with the ideology of it's US VS THEM....they look at themselves as being totally seperate from society and usually above society. The problems and reasons behind why officers are constantly abusing their authority, our rights and ignoring the law are numerous. The solutions are therefore complex. But the NUMBER ONE solution is the END of the insanity of "qualified immunity". Make LEO legally and financially responsible for the choices they willingly make. Hold their associates legally and financially responsible for NOT reining in the bad apples when they observe them acting. And most importantly the IDEOLOGY taught to LEO simply MUST CHANGE. But since none of that is ever going to happen the whole subject is moot.

    1. The cameras are everywhere. And there are numerous examples of citizens provoking a confrontation and a precisely edited version goes viral where the cop(s) appear to over-react.

      The Qualified Immunity and the difficulty in firing a Union Employee come into play.

      When I was employeed in the private sector, we had to attend a seminar explaining qualified immunity. The corporate lawyer's take on it is that the corporation was defending its policies and procedures. You are incidental.

      If you choose to operate outside the corporation's documented policies and procedures, the corporation has no obligation to defend you. Like I said, the corporation defends its P&P which in a way IS the corporation. The corporation defends you to defend itself. But...if you go off the reservation you are on your own.


    2. "Go home at the end of your shift NO MATTER WHAT you have to do". You seem to take issue with this concept, and incidentally I've never seen the 'no matter what' qualifier added before, ever. What would your philosophy be, if you were a cop? Spell it out for us please. Not defending rogue cops here, at all.

  12. The city near me recently got rid of 2 person patrols - it was too hard to get and keep enough oficers, let alone the cost.
    I agree with the others - the biggest way to reduce problems is to change how police approach the issue and to make sure they are responsible for their actions.
    Every other occupation making life or death decisions, even under stress, is responsible for their decisions - doctors, EMTs, firemen, even military personnel. Why not cops?
    As we have seen, body cameras and documentation are not effective - and all too often, they "break" routinely; officers often have more motivation to not be watched than those setting up the system (who, after all, are trying to get those same officers to buy it).

    Interesting side note: The group of LE with the lowest number of complaints, and the least involvement in shootings, despite being alone in remote areas, are game wardens - probably because they are used to dealing with armed people and being polite and careful in the situations they are in due to no backup... this is reminiscent of the old stories about the RCMP in Canada.

  13. Note that almost every complaint about a questionable shooting or use of force is in big cities and their suburbs, VERY rarely are these in rural areas. Since rural areas have about half the people in the country, it can't be just a per capita issue...

  14. I have people in my family that I love but are Liberals. After decades of trying to reason with them I have reached a firm conclusion, Don't waste your time. You can't fix stupid.

  15. Several years ago I had the pleasure of a great conversation with a gentleman at a large wedding reception. He was a retired LEO, thirty years as an Iowa state trooper. In short, he was appalled by the attitude of young cops today, and felt that it starts with what they are being taught from the beginning at the police academies. Basically, they are being taught that we the public are the Enemy. Along other things, according to him, teaching the Escalation of Force doctrine without also spending a LOT of time on the whole idea of DE-ESCALATING conflicts is a recipe for police violence.

    Another huge part of the problem as he saw it was the courts and the laws themselves. Nowadays, the DUI laws are insanely strict and draconian. Depending on someone's body weight and several other factors, even ONE DRINK or a trace amount of THC might be enough to be labeled as DUI. And even a first offense will usually result in one's vehicle being towed to an impound lot, at least one night in jail, a suspended drivers license, and thousands upon thousands of dollars in fines and attorney fees. And usually the cops have no leeway whatsoever for leniency - their hands are tied by the draconian laws and by the policies of the police department they work for.

    My retired Iowa LEO acquaintance said that back in his day the individual officer had a lot of discretion that he could exercise depending on the circumstances. Frequently if the driver was not visibly impaired and was respectful, they would just give him a ride home and tell him to retrieve his car in the morning. Sometimes, if the driver was a disrespectful jerk, they would throw his keys out into the cornfield, and then take him home and tell him to find his keys and retrieve his car in the morning. But actually arresting someone for DUI and ruining their life as a result was a last resort, and was generally reserved for the worst cases and/or for repeat offenders. His opinion was that creating criminals through DUI arrests is now a huge cash cow for cities and counties, so there is a perverse incentive there.

  16. Hi,
    I'm a daily reader from across the Atlantic. I'm a former cop, though not in America. I have experience as a regular patrolman and as a detective, in two very different parts of the world. I have been a big city cop and a small town cop. Here's my take:

    A two cop patrol is absolutely the way to go.
    -Two cops in a patrol means you'll need fewer cars. Policemobiles wear down fast.
    -Two-cop-patrols doesn't mean that you will need to hire more cops, necessarily. You can, if you want, but hiring more policemen does not create more criminals. (Unless you have stupid laws and draconian incentives to enforce them, of course. I'm talking about real crime here, not excuses to write fines.)
    - Two cops can take on 5 or 6 'roid-raging biker zombies. A single cop will have trouble handling just one.
    -Two cops working together see and hear A LOT more than just a single cop. One guy interacts with the bad guys, the other keeps overwatch. Or one guy drives, the other guy handles the radio and watches the things that the driver cannot.
    -Two cops working in unison will not need backup from other units as often, therefore other police business will not be interrupted by calls for backup quite as often.
    -The bad guys will not the tempted to flee or fight as often, if there's more than one policeman present. This means fewer fights, fewer injuries, and fewer situations that require brute force, with all that entails of bad PR and legal trouble.
    -Two cops give better testimony than one cop. This works both ways! I have seen cops testifying against other cops, for the benefit of the accused.
    -Two cops in a car means getting to know your colleagues a lot better. It builds unit cohesion. Unit cohesion and unit morale is important.

    Two cops working in unison becomes much more than the sum of the individual cops in the patrol.
    Now, I've also driven alone in a patrol car. It can be done, and it is being done, everyday, wherever there's police. But having a Two Cop Patrol as your standard operating procedure is absolutely a good idea.

    As to the bad cop and how/ if he will be positively influenced by a god cop in his car? I don't think he will. Get rid of him.

    1. Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. I enjoy the perspectives from outside the US.

      I agree that the second cop is great for mental health.


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