Wednesday, September 25, 2013

To Protect and Serve... Or Not

Police officers are not perfect:

CMPD charges officer with voluntary manslaughter

I do not like disparaging police.  I have friends and neighbors who are police officers.  They are all good folks.  I want to use this story to make a couple of points.  The first is about a false perception that a lot of folks seem to have.  A lot of cops are not trained properly.  They are as varied as you or I.  When the gun control crowd says that "civilians" (a misnomer, as cops are civilians as well) should not have access to certain firearms or "high cap mags" (another misnomer) they often point to the fact that the police should only have these because they are "trained".  There are average joe's that probably shoot more in one year than some police officers will in their entire career!  As Uncle Si would say, "That's a fact, Jack!"

The other point I would like to make is that this was a rare case of police officers being held liable for what they did.  All over the country, police get away with some pretty egregious violations.  The NYPD is the poster child for this.  Here are two examples that spring to my mind:

NYPD: 9 shooting bystander victims hit by police gunfire

Times Square shooting: NYPD officers shoot two innocent bystanders near Times Square

No accountability.  What. So. Ever.  If you or I, in the course of defending ourselves, were to miss our target and hit someone else, then we would be charged with crimes.  Not so with these two cases.  There are several just like it every year.  We need to start holding our officers to higher standards.  Don't take the shot if you can't make it.  If nothing else, then up the training for our officers.  Hitting bystanders is unacceptable.  Period.

Without looking it up, what is your best guess for the amount of training your police force gets on average?  What ideas do you have to address the lack of training?  What should happen to law enforcement officers who hit bystanders?  Serious answers please.  I do not want this to become a bash fest.

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