Ferguson, Austerity, and the Decline of Police Work in the US


If true, why has no one yet written a $5000 Vulnerable User ticket yet?
An underpaid cop is also a more easily corruptible cop. It is a fast track to third world status if your enforcement agencies are not highly compensated (to at least upper middle class) by the local bureaucracy. This focus of relatively unimportant traffic infractions is a sort of mini-corruption, considering the more important cases that are unattended.
That's the problem front to back - infrastructure too. People want to live in a fully developed, first world nation but they are too cheap to pay for it. So we're going to nickle and dime ourselves into a corrupt banana-republic.

Right wing types love that apocryphal quote, usually attributed to Toqueville, about democracy and people voting themselves money. Its a knife that cuts both ways.
Why do African Americans have a cultural propensity to jay walk and at slow speeds? Driving in the CD or down the RV is like playing frogger.
Police and prisons cost too much. We need fewer of both.
homicide clearance rate, as detectives call it, dropped from 91 percent in 1963

HAHAHAHA HA Heh... you know how they "cleared" homicides in 1963?

"Hey, this negro right here looks pretty guilty to me, haul him in."

Law & Order SndFx: Donk Donk Donk.

That's how they "investigated."

The reason there are fewer speedy closures is because they actually have pressure to find the motherfucker who did it, rather than whoever the fuck happens to be there when they knocked.

Great post, Charles.
And to add to @6...police are actually pretty bad at solving crime. Mostly it's pressure tactics to rattle people into (false?) confessions...all the better if you add a BS layer of charges to incentivize a plea. CSI stuff is pure fantasy.

What concerns me is that for years we've set up law enforcement to be a parasite on the public, feeding off of it, rather than serving and protecting. The longstanding trend in the War on Drugs and asset forfeiture is a huge piece of this.
Good Afternoon Charles,
You have a point. I do believe some police departments seek revenue in this way and others. Prostitution stings for catching johns in hotels comes to minds. Talk about a set up. I've also read at one time State Troopers had a quota to meet issuing speeding tickets on highways.

So yes, very cynical. But, I can agree to most of what you said.
@3 - Define "People" please. Who, exactly, is too cheap to pay for a fully-developed, first world nation?


So wait, cops have pensions? You mean, they are a socialist organization?! Whoa.

Well, that's alright if "fiscal austerity" makes the police "farm" the lower classes for income, it helps keep the lower classes in line and reasserts the natural order: the Rich are the brahmins and above the law; the cops and the military either beat the lower classes into submission, or send them to the killing fields; the middle-classes struggle to stay out of poverty, and toe the line all by themselves so they need minimal supervision, only the encouragement of crushing debt; and the lower classes, who know the game is rigged, can do nothing about it because they keep getting run roughshod through the legal system.

Don't knock what works.
"Mostly it's pressure tactics to rattle people into (false?) confessions"

Yes, our jails are filled with innocent people.
@6 An what evidence do you have to back up your assertions! Have something like prison population statistics to...to back...to back that...

And yet the violent crime rate has gone down significantly (murder rate is about half its peak in the mid 1970s).

What's astounding is that Comrade Mudede (and other profiteers of The Grievance Industry) can get so worked up over an incident like Ferguson (where discovery is still in process), and yet ignore manifest injustices:

Where young black men are being slaughtered weekly, in numbers:

Or when racial violence shreds any sense of community:

And yet there is silence – SILENCE – in the face of anything that might cause the Left to examine the belief system and policies that are undermining the safety of young black people in young black America, and opportunity elsewhere.
@4 It's psychological, it's a matter of personal power and control. When people have been pushed down all their lives and are faced with no opportunities and a lack of control in their life they seek control where they can.

By slow-walking, they control YOU for that brief encounter. You're delayed, possibly enraged, at their control. For that brief moment they are in control and it is a satisfying feeling. It's trivial, but it's real.
You don't even have to pay cops. You can pay a company in Arizona to install cameras and issue a $200 ticket for school speed zones or $120 tickets for red light violations, deputize non-cops to work as parking enforcement officers, and even deputize servers to take low-level crime reports that are filed with a nice, bold section of text saying "we will probably not investigate these reports".

The answer to almost anything is "follow the money"...nothing about this article I disagree with.

It did make me think...I've seen zero foot patrols on Capitol Hill in the last year. I saw five officers on foot two Fridays back at Alki during the day. FIVE. Zero needed....

But that's not exactly true. I see PARKING ENFORCEMENT on Capitol Hill almost every day. Revenue yes, crime prevention no. One pays, one costs. One's easy, one's hard. It's far easier to have someone file an online police report that they can ignore than to go out and be visible and deter crime. Crime only really affects the citizens...so who cares?
It makes me think that 'for profit' and 'public service' are incompatible, contradictory, oxymoronic, etc.

I wonder about those public service institutions that self-describe as 'self-sustaining services'--they do so proudly. As if paying one's way justifies one's existence.

I think what self-sustaining often means is 'beholden to benefactors'. Or, in the case of police forces, 'beholden to exploitation' . . . neither of which say public service to me.
Cops don't even have to pretend to do their jobs anymore. See this woman in NYC who was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver, but the cops haven't even contacted the guy who did it, a month later, because they "haven't had time" -- even though witnesses not only gave them the plate number, but found the dented car two blocks away, with a missing mirror matching the one found at the scene, AND HAVE VIDEO OF THE WHOLE FUCKING THING. Haven't had time. Too busy eating doughnuts and choking the life out of random black men, I suppose.

Face it.

It's still 1964 in America if you're not White.
@19 You don't have to go as far as New York.

Seattle PD still hasn't "found" the guy who did a hit and run on me, although my insurance company tracked him down and I ended up with a settlement.
@14, your tired old Goldwater-era bullshit about "blacks don't want to talk about black on black crime" is ignorant garbage.

What Does a Cop See? A Cheesy Instagram Filter.
I love it when liberals are unnerved by revenue streams into the government.
Good piece, Charles. Well done.

If I'm gonna call you on ridiculous bullshit like racist grocery bags, I have to give you the props when you get it right.

A commentary (from the Atlantic!) covering an editorial? That's all you have?

I have video of 100 black kids roaming a mall knocking out shoppers. The fact that it won't be on national TV tonight is evidence that day-in-and-out, black-on-black crime doesn't get the coverage that incidences of white on black crime occurs.

Black people are the victims. White liberals have enslaved them to a narrative that is convenient to the prevailing narrative of injustice by whites. Yes, there are racist white cops. Let's spend all of our time looking for them while we step over bodies from gangs.
@4 needs to go ask this question to all the white people crossing the King George Boulevard in Surrey, BC, without using crosswalks, that I almost ran into this just past weekend. Never a person of color, and Surrey has more than a few of them - ALWAYS a white person.
Given the huge amount of data available on every citizen, cameras everywhere, cell phone records and perfection of DNA evidence, I would expect a much lower percentage of cold cases now verses say 40 or 50 years ago.
What's a greater danger to black males when they leave their homes everyday: police or other black males?

"What's a greater danger to black males when they leave their homes everyday: police or other black males? "

Let's ask them.
Required viewing or Knarf:

"Let's ask them."

No, let's look at statistics. You know, "science".
@32 I am a really big fan of your assholian tone. It's great!

Of course, what makes this especially classic is the fact that anyone who knows anything about this shit has been engaged in the national conversation about the fact that we do not even have good data on the number of people killed by police officers in the US annually.

It's not like the lesser dangers are inconsiderable, but that is some next level danger that is simply not tracked there.

Anyway, bravo on your epic level of unrepentant fuckstickery.
@24 Taxes and penalty fines are entirely different forms of revenue in effectiveness, fairness and reliability. Fines disproportionally punish the working class.

If right-wing deadbeat dumbshits like you would actually pay your taxes municipalities wouldn't need to rely on fines.
@31: "oreilly" in URL
into the trash it goes
@24 An infraction based revenue source sets you up for a very corruptible system based on perverse incentives. It makes the police do things that are not necessarily (often?) in the public's interest. Revenue for law enforcement and any justice related matters needs to come from a fuzzy anonymous general fund.
@36, It's worth a click for a peek into the conservative psyche:

[Black politicians believe t]hat African- Americans in this country still live in a racist, evil place. So go out and punish your enemies at the polls... But by all relevant indicators, the lives of most black Americans haven't improved much since the inauguration of Barack Obama back in 2009. Black unemployment, it's about double that of whites... But rather than change policy and to turn things around for everyone and actually improve people's lives, the Democrats go back to the politics of division. So if you don't go to the polls to vote Democrat in November, your son could very well be the next Michael Brown or the next Trayvon Martin.

tldr: Shit still sucks for black people and those cynical Democrats are trying to get them to vote rather than sitting out the election, which is presumably the better choice for them somehow (details TBD somewhere else, just not here). I guess if you believe racism isn't real, this makes sense, maybe? She doesn't offer a viable alternative for black voters so it's hard to understand how she thinks they could do better for themselves -- she acknowledges black people are getting a bum deal, but hey what good has ever come from voting? They even have a black president and nothing has changed!

It sounds like she's trying to demoralize black voters, only black voters don’t give a shit what Laura Ingraham thinks, so what we're left with is a bunch of red meat for her audience, who apparently believe that black people are too fucking stupid to know what's for their own good. REQUIRED VIEWING.