Oct 15, 2014

Broken Window Theory, How About Implementing Broken Mirror Theory?

Imagine if for every infraction of the law police committed they were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law

The "Broken Window Theory" is that small crimes being let to continue in a community without a response from law enforcement will eventual create moral hazard and an escalation to more significant crimes. So hundreds of thousands of law abiding citizens are routinely harassed (overwhelmingly represented by young men and boys of color) for the sake that they don't progress into a life of crime or their criminal activity ends with marijuana possession; it is counterproductive to destroy the potential future of huge swaths of the young men and boys of color for the sake of those that may only have the the only victim-less crime of smoking pot. If it was the best strategy for the community to cracked down hard on the slightest little crime, then wouldn't it beneficial to so for every police department? Shouldn't we expect that police never speed without getting a speeding ticket (their squad cars could equipped with GPS devices)? Every incident of improper arrest, search, or other on the job action could be a strike on their record, three strikes and they off the force without their pension. If we can only assume that citizens should always be within the law, shouldn't those that are entrusted to enforce the law also follow the law and the committed to remain within stated department policy? Shouldn't even the smallest infractions of policy be rooted out from every police department, shouldn't there zero tolerance for every police officer to remain true to purpose of the Broken Window Theory be held to the same standard?

It is expected throughout American society, that cops because their jobs are given a certain amount of leeway (more likely that they simply take it and rationalize it afterwards), but if the police are free to cut corners of the law for the sake of pragmatism or laziness then they abdicate any benefit of the doubt when their integrity is called into question. Police brutality as an issue has always been with us, but only has been brought to the light in recent years due plethora of cameras both surveillance and individuals' mobile devices has captured a larger portion of everyday life. For people of color police brutality and the assumption of guilt has been part of daily life. To have police operate under the presumption that the communities of color if they were leading lives wholly within the law, should have nothing to hide when they interact with law enforcement is logical farce and couched in systemic bigotry. No American citizen has any obligation to persuade the government, its agent, or any law enforcement officer that they are innocent of committing a crime, the onus is entirely on the government every step of the way to enter the lives or even cause the smallest disruption of life.

If police officers and police departments want to intrude on anyone's person or personal possessions, without the presumption of innocence either work to repeal the Fourth amendment or seek out a new live of work. Even if the fourth amendment was repealed (as unlikely as that is) the benefit of the doubt for the public employees doing the right thing on a day-to-day basis would need to be won back. Law enforcement officers who would want to maintain getting paid would have to above reproach, and be held to the highest possible standard; absolutely zero tolerance for breaking even most minor infraction and traffic violation on or off duty. If the hegemony would become transformed from the assumption that cops the country over are lax when they fudge the law to the belief out of consistent observed reality that they pay parking tickets, speeding tickets, and are assumed that if there is an accusation against them that there fellow officers will ferret out the truth and never reflexively defended regardless of the situation of their "boy in blue."

Some will read this as being far too critical of the local policeman, but that innate sympathy is misplaced, because currently in most American police forces there is no threshold where 'bad apples' are undeserving of rounding up the wagons to protect one of their own. Independent of the facts of individual situations, the 'bad apples' of law enforcement agencies are very rarely called to be held responsible for their questionable actions therefore either every cop has nothing but good intentions in their day-to-day policing or those that do have good intentions (and I'm referring to the vast majority of police) are throwing away their integrity for the sake of the bullies with badges. If even the supposed good cops can't proceed with their job while remaining well within the rules, then there is no hope for the citizens they attempting to police.

One police officer is one too many that needs to be educated about the law they are supposed to be enforcing. This cop is schooled about his legal obligation to have a marked car unless operating undercover, which he admitted he was not.

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