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View Diary: Gothard cult's infiltration of law enforcement, part 2: PDI Unmasked (27 comments)

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  •  Police departments and the military are (8+ / 0-)

    fertile fields for this because of many factors. This includes the authoritarian mindset of many who join, the hierarchical structures of the organizations and the often thankless jobs they do.

    We need an effective counter to this, but it is difficult to break through the prejudices of the organizations. Any thoughts on effective countermeasures?

    "Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions." U.S.Grant

    by shigeru on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 02:57:34 PM PST

    •  To reverse the damage caused by (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, shigeru, Neon Vincent

      the "law 'n order" madness of the 80s, we have to zero in on both the needs of law enforcement personnel as fellow citizens and impose a strict and comprehensive set of principles to which they must adhere.  Manditory sentencing shifted the balance of power to DAs -- forcing many people who could win a case before a jury to plead guilty to avoid the perceived threat.  This practice must be repealed everywhere.

      Law enforcement officers must be paid more -- much more -- and then expected to adhere to strict standards.  No intelligence work.  No high-speed chases.  No home invasions.  No high-risk escapades which endanger the lives of officers and citizens alike.  Congress must repeal the transfer of weaponry from the military to police departments they passed in the early 1980s.

      Law enforcement officers also need to be retrained so their focus is public safety, not Rambo ethics.  They need to be able to work in close concert with emergency response personnel and social services agencies.  All too often, police officers's jobs are "thankless" because they are the first to arrive on the scene and have few options for what they may face.  Without being able to bring in social services, mental health services, homeless services and other appropriate professionals on a moment's notice, they are left having to decide to arrest someone and get out with their skins still attached.  

      They need to be able to conduct community policing and to take the time (and receive advanced degress and training in) to meet with community leaders and develop an understanding of the neighborhoods and the people in them.

      The drug war must become a public health problem instead of a police problem.  The sooner we get police officers out of this impossible situation, the better.

      They need to be trained that people are innocient until proven guilty and disciplined if they forget -- but they also need to avoid fishing through DNA databases, web sites archiving surveillence video and other intrusions on privacy.  Once police become the avenue to confidential information on citizens, some of them will be corrupted and then their peers have to make some hard choices.

      They need to be allowed to investigate crimes, gather evidence and pay attention to details.  They need to stop DARE programs and other spurious wastes of time and money.  They need to be rotated to duties where they get to know the leaders of communities instead of always looking at everyone from inside a police car or through video surveillence.  

      They must not be allowed to use hotel employees, cable TV installers and utility workers to spy on citizens.  They must not be allowed to pay informants in schools and engage in other Gestapo activities because it gets around, and the hatred against them builds the more they are allowed, or encouraged or ordered to do these kinds of "dark side" activities.

      Most of all, they must not be left to feel like they have to clean up all the messes without being able to complain about it and be heard and get help.  Their cynicism grows the more they are told to "just clean it up".  Whistleblowers in all government agencies, especially law enforcement, should be protected and promoted and be expected so every one thinks twice about abusing the powers society grants them.

      In exchange for this guidance and these expectations of a new level of professionialism, they need to be paid enough to put their kids through college and have a decent life.  They need to continue their education, and be paid (and allowed the study time) to excel academically.  They need to stop Rambo tactics that endanger their lives so they are safer and don't have to live in an environment of fear any more than necessary.

      If we pay them like the professionals we expect them to be and put every "standard procedure" through under the microscope to understand whether it endangers the officers and/or citizens unnecessarily and stop expecting police officers to handle any situation they may be called to engage, but allow them to call on other professionals to whom they can hand the situation with confidence it will be resolved, we will finally start to combat the cynicism and despair afflicting too many officers.  Interestingly, in the book First Blood, upon which the movie Rambo was loosely based, Rambo is killed at the end by his former commanding officer because he is too compromised, too desperate and too far outside society to be saved.  The book is a tragedy, not a puff piece like the movie became.

      We need to pay attention to our police officers and intervene before they become Ramboized.  They need to know they are valued for what they do.  They need to feel safer in their work.  They need to be able to protest when they are being handed impossible jobs and have confidence their protests will be heard and addressed.

      Without these basic considerations, any fellow citizen becomes cynical.  Police officers are no different.

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