Law enforcement is a touchy subject. Cops are at once lauded as heroic, self-sacrificing and brave while being accused of bullying and behaving in a secretive, protect-your-own, unaccountable manner. Absolutely everything said about cops is true, of some cops. Many are courageous, while some are without doubt attracted to police work because it gives them a legal way to violently exert authority.
I want to explore the systems of constraints and incentives, carrots and sticks, cops in America work under and how they affect outcomes. Crime is on the decline nationally, and at a low point in history. Something is definitely working in American law enforcement. But incarceration rates are extraordinarily high for a developed nation, and low-income and minority populations are disproportionately arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death for the exact same crimes.
Other problems currently plague American law enforcement, such as police brutality, the militarization of routine police work and the increasing use of deadly force in arrest attempts.
I’m interested in exploring how we can ensure our safety from the threat of agression by others, while maintaining individual liberty and ensuring we are not aggressed upon by police.
I’m thinking about exploring this topic further in a series of posts. Maybe it could lead up to a long essay or book. And I’d love to get reactions from readers. What are you interested in when it comes to law enforcement? What scares you about the current state and future of law enforcement? What do you think needs to change?