Over at huffingtonpost.com, Tim Mullen has a radical idea on how to prevent dubious officer-involved shootings and civil rights abuses: confine cops to their station until they’re needed. You know; like firemen. No really. “If they were, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and Sandra Bland would be alive today. All three encountered police doing what would be considered outlandish for any other institution charged with public safety: roaming the streets, looking for trouble” . . .
No one had called 911 asking for protection from Scott, Gray or Bland. No judges had issued warrants for their arrests. All three were, at least at the time of their arrests, just walking or driving down the street, minding their own business. They were detained in what are generally considered “routine” but are in reality wholly unnecessary encounters with police . . .
I’m going to suggest a solution that will sound radical, even in a country that styles itself “the land of free.” Let’s get cops off the streets, unless responding to a 911 call or serving a warrant issued by a judge. Everyone would be freer and safer, including the police officers themselves.
But what of the crime deterrent effect of cops cruising up and down our country roads and city streets in their computer-enabled arsenals on wheels, ready to
ticket citizens for broken taillights intercept bad guys? According to some, keeping the cops at the cop shop doesn’t negatively impact public safety. callthecops.net (from January 2015):
Police departments across the country are pulling patrol officers off the road. Police will still be on duty but will only respond to 911 calls. No pro-active policing will take place.
Police chiefs say that anti police feelings from the public are pushing this move to re-active only policing. Chiefs also cite the famous Kansas City Patrol experiment [of 1972/1973] as justification for this move.
The Kansas City experiment showed that police on patrol does nothing to lower or prevent crimes. In the experiment parts of Kansas City had few patrol cars on the street and other parts had extra patrol cars. During the experiment crime rates did not change . . .
Old news that’s news to me. Anyway, HuffPo’s Mullen is on board, with a pitch for . . . wait for it . . . gun rights.
Here’s the catch: you can’t have a free society where this “protection” occurs in advance. The federal and every state constitution assumes the government can’t and shouldn’t do anything to prevent a crime. The Fourth and Fifth amendments were written to keep the government from even trying. They assume the government is powerless until a crime has already occurred, the Fourth in particular providing further restraint on how the government investigates after the fact.
Defending oneself while a crime is occurring is left to the citizen. It’s not a responsibility of the police. Even the Supreme Court agrees. Protecting oneself is what the Second Amendment is all about.
How about them apples? A Huffington Post writer calling for citizens to protect themselves and send the State back to the bullpen. The Age of Miracles and all that. So … what about it? Is Mullen right when he states “We don’t need police officers out patrolling the streets”?