Police and Complacency

Standards for law enforcement in America promote violence

Police and Complacency

Spencer Norman, Staff Writer

Since our adolescence, we’ve been taught the police are here to protect us from the things we fear — but what we should fear is the police themselves.

Police aren’t held accountable for their violence toward their families and those in poverty. There needs to be greater scrutiny toward law enforcement from both the public and their fellow officers.

Police develop a superiority complex, coinciding with the justified feeling of being “above the law,” which has been proven to be true. As reported in Police Integrity Lost: A Study of Law Enforcement Officers Arrested composed under the U.S. Department of Justice, an average of officers arrested for offenses ranging from murder to drunken driving, only 54 percent were fired and 37.5 percent arrested for domestic violence lost their jobs.

Considering these are allegations, an even smaller percentage of officers guilty of domestic assault receive harsher punishments, such as conviction or termination, for their crimes.

A considerable number of officers are permitted to resign, rather than be fired, which allows for them to retain law enforcement certification. When an officer resigns, they merely have to leave the precinct they were formerly employed within, retaining the ability to join a law enforcement agency of another precinct.

According to Police Integrity Lost: A Study of Law Enforcement Officers Arrested, only “two-thirds of the [police officer] arrest cases originated from an arrest made by an agency other than the employing agency.”

There is an obvious complacency with the actions of police officers within law enforcement, by both fellow officers and by the lack of regulation within government-funded law enforcement, as two-thirds well exceeds more than a margin of error in the supervision of police officers.

A lack of legal repercussions and regulation of their actions makes police officers feel they are free to abuse their own families, whether it be verbally or physically.

It’s been found that at least 40 percent of police officers’ families experience domestic violence, according to On the Front Lines: Police Stress and Family Well-Being by Johnson, L.B.

The reality is there’s an even greater number of cases that remain unreported out of fear of the potential further abuse from the police officer.

Police violence isn’t limited to home, as police are fearless to discharge their weapon before considering a pacifistic approach. On Dec. 5, 2019 in Coral Gables, Florida, a shootout occurred between two jewelry store robbers and 21 law enforcement officers, 19 of whom opened fire. The robbers hijacked a UPS delivery truck, taking the driver hostage.

Fatalities from the event totaled in the two suspects, the UPS driver and a bystander. Video footage of the incident shows police officers using civilians’ cars as protection from the robbers, with little regard for the civilians put in the line of fire. As said by a press statement made by UPS, the shootout was a “senseless act of violence.”

While some may be able to call the shooting an involuntary involvement of civilians, there are definite examples of police intentionally isolating civilians.

Police can be found targeting those in poverty, especially the homeless. Two officers of the Mobile, Alabama, police force were photographed holding a “homeless quilt,” constructed out of cardboard signs collected from panhandlers. Their actions, at the very least, mock those less fortunate, potentially harming the panhandlers as police actively attempt to prevent achievement of survival from charity. Police universally aim to damage the lives of anybody unprotected by the law.

The people we pay to protect us from violence are the ones most commonly inflicting it upon others. They work out of self-interest, disregarding the poor or their own family.

As philosopher Noam Chomsky said, “Unless the powerful are capable of learning to respect the dignity of their victims, impassable barriers will remain, and the world will be doomed to violence, cruelty and bitter suffering.”