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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Police Protection For All

For John, BLUFThere is a danger that excess bureaucratization of policing results in less police protection for certain communities.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The San Diego Union Tribune, by Professor Gail Heriot, 19 December 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

Adding extra layers of bureaucracy to a government agency rarely improves its performance.  Yet that was the approach most often taken by the Obama administration in dealing with local police.  When police departments were accused — fairly or unfairly — of misconduct, the Department of Justice quickly geared up to intervene and assert control.  An accusation that was racial in nature — even if it involved only one police officer and even if it could be disproven — was especially likely to trigger a federal response.

DOJ investigations would ordinarily result in a lawsuit.  But the court would never be called upon to decide definitively whether misconduct had in fact occurred.  Instead, DOJ would attempt to foist a “consent decree” on the police department.  The court would be called upon simply to rubber-stamp it.  Once approved, an agreement would be difficult to rescind or modify.

Here is the Bottom Line:
But spare a thought for the problem that has dogged African-American and low-income communities for more than a century:  Because these communities have higher than average crime rates and hence higher victimization rates, they stand to suffer the most when police departments are hamstrung by over-bureaucratization and discouraged from taking initiative.  To protect those communities, the federalization of law enforcement through extensive and expensive consent decrees should be a last resort, not a first resort.
People do well, prosper, when corruption, violence, and theft and other criminality is minimized.  We want all communities in this nation to prosper. That means we need to provide good police protection to all.  Police abuse must be rooted out.  However, that is done by leadership and training, not by multiple levels of approvals in a large bureaucracy.  A large bureaucracy gets in the way of good policing.  Layers of approval works against good policing.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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