Here’s a couple passages from a recent article in POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine on big police manhunts. It’s interesting partly because it has something to do with topics that have come up here before (note the tactics mentioned at the end). But also for other reasons. In the original article, the two sections are separated by a good 6 paragraphs; I’ve cut those out here, because it’s more interesting when you look at the statements side-by-side.
Law enforcement exists to keep society safe from criminals, which means apprehending and arresting those who would do harm.
Normal policing grinds to a near halt as all LE resources from entire regions focus on catching cop killers. This means massive searches of areas and buildings, saturation patrol, vehicle and pedestrian stops, stakeouts, checkpoints, and roadblocks.
I don’t have any complaint about these passages, at a factual level. I think it’s pretty much an accurate summary of how government police operate in that kind of situation. And, granting that it is accurate, what does that tell you about priorities in government policing? Just who and what are government police really working to protect from harm?
Is it you? Me?
Society? Or somebody, and something, else?
Sidebar. If you click through to the article, you may note that there is one weak attempt, along the way, to justifying priorities like these with reference to the safety of ordinary people, outside of the government police force:
Anyone willing to kill or shoot police won’t hesitate to kill anyone else–especially cops. But then there’s that especially there at the end of the sentence. Not a not just; not a not a besides; an especially. What work is that especially supposed to be doing here? Why isn’t the threat to
anyone else enough of a reason? The first half of the claim doesn’t make a lot of sense — cop killers typically kill cops because of the specific threat of arrest that cops pose, and that
anyone else doesn’t pose. But even if we granted it, what part of the claim is really doing the work of setting the priorities here? The alleged threat to just folks, or the threat to
especially cops? And what does that tell you about government policing?