Do We Even Need a Police Force?
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 by Frank Shortt
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Sometimes the greatest deterrent against burglars and thieves is fear of the Unknown. If a thief thinks the house he has chosen to rob has a huge pit bull, he might think twice about robbing that house. That house would not need a police officer.

Anyone can go on the internet and buy a recording of a barking dog for a few dollars. It can be hooked up to go off if someone approaches a house with the contraption. Who needs a cop in that case?

Another deterrent to crime is to have everyone armed and ready for any emergency! If we all were armed, we would not need police protection. Problem is, not everyone is trained to use a weapon, whether it is a gun or sword. Police officers are usually trained for any kind of dangerous activity. What if no police were available?

Recent laws have been passed by our government, both federal and local, which limits what a policeman can do in a predicament. I have talked to officers of the law and some have expressed the fact that their hands are tied when it comes to apprehending those who choose to break the laws of the land. When a person, who would like to defund police budgets, has an incident where their life is threatened, who are they going to blame when something drastic happens? We all react differently to situations. The same holds true of Police officers.

One of my good friends in San Jose, who worked for me as a custodian when he attended SJSU as a law enforcement student, became a patrol officer and ended up working close to the neighborhood where he grew up. He told me that every time he left for his shift he would pray and ask God to make it so that he never had to draw his weapon during his time on the beat. He was able to retire without having an incident where his weapon had to come into play. It was for several reasons why he did not want to use his weapons; the main one being that he feared he might have to shoot or hurt someone he knew. He was what was known as a “good cop”! This would be a good argument for someone who has the mindset that we do not need a police force!

When Theodore Roosevelt was president he had the Great White Fleet going around from port to port as a deterrent to aggression from other countries. It seemed to work during his presidency as there were no wars during that time. The UK, for many years would not allow their local police force to carry arms. I notice that now that is not the case. They found out that too many beat officers were coming back to the station all beat up or carried to the morgue in a body bag. Where is the answer? Government leaders are criticized if they have an aggressive police force, then when the police do not arrive at a crime scene at the time that the person who called thought they should be there, they are criticized for that! The poor patrolmen are caught in the middle!

Recent protests, because of the killing of George Floyd, were justified by the laws of the land. Was the looting and burning justified? Was the hurling of Molotov Cocktails at Government property justified? When a person joined such activity, did they not know what they were letting themselves in for? I have a heart for the Floyd family. But looting and burning businesses will not bring George back to life. If peaceful protests, confronting the right people, will change people’s attitudes for more nonviolent change, then I am all for it. On the other hand, if a person goes to a protest with burning and looting on their mind, what then? Who can prevent them from doing what is already in their hearts to do?

The other alternative to a lawful police force is vigilantism! In the early days of San Francisco the lawless element got so out of hand that the only way to control them was by citizens forming committees to protect themselves! The problem that arises with that situation is that there is no trial by jury, no long jail terms, and then mob rule runs the other way! Sentences are carried out immediately! Vigilante law only requires only one person but will often involve a group of people. This individual, or group, claims to enforce the law, but lacks legal authority to do so. When two opposing groups of vigilantes try to enforce their own laws, war is declared! If we could get the criminal element of society to agree to stop aggression, there would be no need for a lawful police force or a vigilante group! That is probably a ‘pipe dream’ on my part, but I have been accused of being an idealist!

So America, what will you choose? Would you like to try and protect yourself from criminals, or would you rather have a well-trained police force to protect you and your loved ones? Just because one rogue cop acts up does not mean that all cops are rogues!

Conclusion: As long as there are those who wish to make their living by robbing and looting others, we do need a police force! Thank God for the ‘good ones’!