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Some steps to reduce police corruption





ocalhoun
I've come up with a few steps to reduce instances of police corruption and abuse (based in the US)... let me know what you think.

1: A new federal court branch will be created. It will ONLY deal with cases in which there is an accusation of corruption or abuse by law enforcement, or in cases where a law enforcement officer (or judge, or other justice department official) is the defendant.
ALL such cases will be forwarded directly to this federal court system, bypassing all local courts.
It will also operate a tip line, and investigate and prosecute its own cases based on tips received. This separate branch will be kept as separate and independent as possible. -- for example, it will be discouraged from hiring anyone previously employed by other branches of the justice system... it will have its own independent funding and budget.
(This will hopefully create a place where such cases can be tried fairly, without the heavy bias in favor of law enforcement personnel.)

2: If a police officer (or other justice system official) is found guilty of an on-duty crime, any coworkers who tried to cover it up rather than report it will be tried as accomplices.
--Conversely, a reward will be offered for whistle-blowers.
(Obviously, to eliminate one of the main problems: good cops who (out of a sense of loyalty perhaps) cover for the abuses of bad cops.)

3: All police officers (nation wide) must be recorded at all times while on duty. At least audio, but preferably video as well. (Many police stations do this already.) Any arrest made or evidence gathered while not recorded is void and cannot be used in court, and if an official is accused of wrongdoing while on duty, but the time period in question is not recorded, it will be assumed the accusation is true. -- So the local police departments can't 'accidentally' lose incriminating footage.
(Which will help prevent many abuses by making it very difficult to get away with.)

4: All money collected from traffic fines (and other fines) (and any money from confiscated goods) will NOT go to the police department, but will instead be put into the state's education budget.
(Removing a potential conflict of interest.)
(Of course, states will change budgets around until the education and justice departments still get the same amount of money they used to... but it should prevent police departments from trying to issue tickets for the sake of increasing funding.)


So, what do you think? Good ideas?
#1 and #3 would require a little funding, but not excessively much compared to the benefit they give.
All of them are likely to meet resistance from the justice department, but I think public opinion in favor of them would be able to override that.
deanhills
Great suggestion.

First question I can think about, following movies I've seen of this - one that comes to mind particularly is the classic, "Internal Affairs" with Richard Gere and Andy Garcia.

What if the police who are investigating the police are also corrupt? Or have conflict issues?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:

What if the police who are investigating the police are also corrupt? Or have conflict issues?

That's exactly what suggestion #1 is intended to help avoid.
deanhills
I did note that, however, you'd need to have police investigating police in the end, as much as you need a thief to catch a thief, and a hacker to hack a system - legally. If the officers investigating the complaint are too far removed from the police, they may not have enough insight to solve the investigation. Also, they are not immune from bribery and corruption themselves.
Afaceinthematrix
1) This sounds way too expensive. Do you really trust the government to set up anything without excessive bureaucracy and waste? This would cost a fortune. Furthermore, these people wouldn't be above bribes - just like everyone else in our government. Lobbyist would pay off police officers and the people catching the bribed police officers so that they could continue to do whatever illegal business practice they desire - such as polluting a river.

2) This also sounds expensive. You have to pay police officers extra for catching a criminal? It's their job to catch crooks! How about you fire them immediately if you found out that they knew and didn't turn that person in? You shouldn't get paid extra to do your job.

3) This wouldn't be too bad although it would be expensive. Traffic stops are already recorded in many areas.

4) Police departments need to get funding somehow and many studies have shown that the problem with our education is NOT funding. Throwing more money at education sounds nice but isn't the solution for the schools and would definitely screw the police departments. Furthermore, why do you care about police departments issuing tickets just to increase funding? They're only giving tickets to people that are breaking the law anyways. If you're going 75 MPH in an area with a speed limit of 55 MPH then you're being a danger to the public, risking everyone's lives, and you deserve to get a ticket (and have your license taken away for going 20 MPH over). I don't care if the police officer is giving you a ticket with public safety in mind or with revenue in mind - the end result is the same. Traffic laws are there for a reason; they're to protect everyone else from you. If you don't follow them then you deserve that ticket and I fail to see why the intention of the police has anything to do with the end result. If you don't want a ticket then don't break the traffic laws. I've never gotten a ticket. Do you want to know why? If the light is red then I stop. If the speed limit is 65 MPH then I keep my speedometer right at 65 MPH. If I'm in a school zone then I drive 25 MPH. Easy.


-------------------

Finally, this is all a big waste of money because, despite what you want to believe, police corruption is NOT a huge issue in the U.S. Sure, it exists. But we aren't in Mexico, Fella. Police corruption certainly doesn't exist on a level high enough to merit this. This might be nice in Mexico; however, it will never happen because the people who would implement this are also corrupt - which brings me back to my rebuttal in point number one. This is unrealistic. Furthermore, we do have ways to deal with corrupt police officers and often times (although not always (but NOTHING will be perfect)) it works.
handfleisch
Interesting thing to pipe-dream about.

I think more countries should have Truth and Reconciliation Committees like they had in South Africa after Apartheid. The deal is, if you testify to the committee and tell all the truth, confess the whole story, then you are immune from prosecution. But if you get caught intentionally hiding something to protect yourself, you can be prosecuted. So it is a way for the truth to come out and for a nation to renew. It's a way to clear the air and stop cover-ups. The USA could have used this after the Bush torture scandal, after the contested election of 2000. It could be used in police corruption cases, too.
JoryRFerrell
deanhills wrote:
Great suggestion.

First question I can think about, following movies I've seen of this - one that comes to mind particularly is the classic, "Internal Affairs" with Richard Gere and Andy Garcia.

What if the police who are investigating the police are also corrupt? Or have conflict issues?

Exactly. So this idea is in fact not something that would be effective. Simpy using the existing judicial system as is, and simply putting more resources into Internal Affairs, would be more cost effective if anything. Creating even more government when our government is already huge and lacking over sight would just be one more excuse for sucking money out of taxpayers. It's just not something that would be effective. We need to work on making our current system leaner and more efficient. The simpler it is, the easier it is to catch people doing something wrong, because there are less loopholes to hide inside of. That is what we need. Simplification to the best degree we can achieve.
deanhills
JoryRFerrell wrote:
We need to work on making our current system leaner and more efficient. The simpler it is, the easier it is to catch people doing something wrong, because there are less loopholes to hide inside of. That is what we need. Simplification to the best degree we can achieve.
Great suggestion. I just have the feeling though that the only way that a leaner system can logically be achieved is to dismantle the whole current political system first. Particularly since most of the self interest is intrenched and protected by a legal system that has gone hay wire with legislation that runs in thousands of pages with all kinds of riders piggy backing on different legislation. And that of course will only happen after lots of civil unrest. Which is a pattern that has been in the history of the United States for all of the important changes that have been achieved.
JoryRFerrell
deanhills wrote:
JoryRFerrell wrote:
We need to work on making our current system leaner and more efficient. The simpler it is, the easier it is to catch people doing something wrong, because there are less loopholes to hide inside of. That is what we need. Simplification to the best degree we can achieve.
Great suggestion. I just have the feeling though that the only way that a leaner system can logically be achieved is to dismantle the whole current political system first. Particularly since most of the self interest is intrenched and protected by a legal system that has gone hay wire with legislation that runs in thousands of pages with all kinds of riders piggy backing on different legislation. And that of course will only happen after lots of civil unrest. Which is a pattern that has been in the history of the United States for all of the important changes that have been achieved.


Well maybe serious civil unrest is indeed needed. But to be clear, I am not an advocate for all out civil war or something. I'd like to see civil rights protests similar to the African-American rights movement.
That level of protest is necessary in my opinion. Our country is murdering innocent people, and politicians are having a field day with our tax money, while using part of it to purposefully misinform the public on just how they are getting on about it. Rolling Eyes

So...I'm not some hippie extremist. I'm just a person saying if you want trust, you gotta earn it, and the government doesn't have my trust in general.
deanhills
JoryRFerrell wrote:
But to be clear, I am not an advocate for all out civil war or something.
I did not think you were.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
I'd like to see civil rights protests similar to the African-American rights movement.
That level of protest is necessary in my opinion. Our country is murdering innocent people, and politicians are having a field day with our tax money, while using part of it to purposefully misinform the public on just how they are getting on about it. Rolling Eyes
So why isn't that happening then? Closest I've seen to date has been the Tea Party, that started really good, and then got gate crashed by right wingers who then hijacked it for their own. I'm surprised however that there hasn't been other protest movements.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
So...I'm not some hippie extremist. I'm just a person saying if you want trust, you gotta earn it, and the government doesn't have my trust in general.
Didn't think you were, did think you were trolling for a good response though when I saw your first posts, however liked it as thought it could lead to interesting discussions.
JoryRFerrell
deanhills wrote:
JoryRFerrell wrote:
But to be clear, I am not an advocate for all out civil war or something.
I did not think you were.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
I'd like to see civil rights protests similar to the African-American rights movement.
That level of protest is necessary in my opinion. Our country is murdering innocent people, and politicians are having a field day with our tax money, while using part of it to purposefully misinform the public on just how they are getting on about it. Rolling Eyes
So why isn't that happening then? Closest I've seen to date has been the Tea Party, that started really good, and then got gate crashed by right wingers who then hijacked it for their own. I'm surprised however that there hasn't been other protest movements.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
So...I'm not some hippie extremist. I'm just a person saying if you want trust, you gotta earn it, and the government doesn't have my trust in general.
Didn't think you were, did think you were trolling for a good response though when I saw your first posts, however liked it as thought it could lead to interesting discussions.


I wasn't trying to imply that YOU thought I was a hippie and such. I was writing more to everyone reading the post while at the same time addressing your points. I just want to clarify to people that I
do in fact think about how stuff that comes outta my mouth sometimes seems potentially crazy.
deanhills
JoryRFerrell wrote:
I was writing more to everyone reading the post while at the same time addressing your points. I just want to clarify to people that I
do in fact think about how stuff that comes outta my mouth sometimes seems potentially crazy.
I understood that too. I thought your posts were of a very high standard and was addressed to every one.
Dennise
Sounds like one of those ethics committees i.e an organization to "watch the watchers". The suggestion (even with good intention and reasoning) is telling of what we have become. What's next .... watchers to watch the watchers that are supposed to the do the watching in the first place?

A better idea - but much more difficult to accomplish - is to recognize and accept there are tough problems at the grass roots i.e. morals and ethics at home and do something about it in the first place. If morals/ethics are not taught at home where it should happen, then perhaps mandatory courses in every school would be a start.
zaxacongrejo
Good training
Good payments
Security insurances
If they are well paid and respected and feel they are part of something they will be much harder to corrupt, but there always exceptions, some just join already with other plans that happened at FBI so, the only way to reduce is to give more them the others In other words be a step behind
ocalhoun
zaxacongrejo wrote:

If they are well paid and respected and feel they are part of something they will be much harder to corrupt,

The corruption here it isn't about taking bribes... not mostly.

It's about abusing positions of power by people who believe themselves (rightfully so, too often) above the law.


Take a recent case in my hometown:
A convenience store clerk calls the cops to report a robbery.

The cops (7 of them) arrive to find a black man at the counter. They start asking him questions, and he doesn't respond well, so they assume he's the suspect. In the process of arresting him, they beat him... to death. (In front of the other customers at the store, the clerk, and the CCTV cameras.)

That man was developmentally disabled, and had nothing at all to do with the robbery. Witnesses report that his last words were, "I just wanted a snickers."

After a couple years of court proceedings and inquiries, one (and only one) of the 7 cops was convicted and sentenced... to four years in jail. The other 6 are still on the police force today, serving 'honorably'.


Frankly, having heard other such stories, I was astonished they even had that tiny sliver of justice. Usually the offending officers in cases like that get off completely free, and no court will believe a word against them. Perhaps it was the CCTV tape that made the difference here.

I don't care if every other country in the world has a worse police corruption problem than the US -- things here are still intolerably bad if something like this can happen.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
I don't care if every other country in the world has a worse police corruption problem than the US -- things here are still intolerably bad if something like this can happen.
Agreed. Particularly in a country with so many laws, one would need months and months to study through them all. And the billions of dollars that went into creating those laws.
zaxacongrejo
too much violence at the USA you guys are bombed 24H/24H with violence i know this case and others similar and i have to say i agree with you but i also know that cops at the USA usually aprox from people already in red line because they are often received with shoots so anything above the normal will trigger a reaction
tholip
I have also seen Internal Affairs, I can also recommend The departed which deals with the same topic. To that question, I see more a moral issue than anything else. You can put how many police controling the police that you want if everyone is corrupt then it's no use. There are (that's true) less chances to have many corrupt policemen but the fact is that the answer is moral and education. When someone is grown to be righteous then you can offer him the money you want he won't take it.
deanhills
tholip wrote:
There are (that's true) less chances to have many corrupt policemen but the fact is that the answer is moral and education. When someone is grown to be righteous then you can offer him the money you want he won't take it.
Totally agreed with you tholip. Take for example that awful happening in New Delhi when a young couple was hijacked in a bus and gruesomely attacked and then thrown naked into a busy street. No one helped the couple. None of the cars or rickshaws stopped to assist, nor any one of the crowds. Not even to offer them covering of some kind. Once the police arrived on the scene, the police did not quite know what to do with the couple. Took 24 minutes for the seriously injured rape victim to get to a hospital finally. If society is unable to help one another, how can one expect the police to improve their performance in New Delhi? The problem is much more deep seated and I agree, the answer is definitely moral and education.
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