What exactly is the purpose of the police?

No, because an anecdotal report of two cops getting fired for dereliction of duty doesn’t make me wonder what is the purpose of the police.


Smedley said:

No, because an anecdotal report of two cops getting fired for dereliction of duty doesn’t make me wonder what is the purpose of the police.

so, what is the purpose of the police?

(note that I don't mean this question as a way of implying there is no purpose, which is a possible interpretation)


This is as good a quick-hit description as any: 

“Police typically are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/police

I don’t get how you could have lived (your age) years in society and not have figured this out by now?


Smedley said:

This is as good a quick-hit description as any: 

“Police typically are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/police

I don’t get how you could have lived (your age) years in society and not have figured this out by now?

'cause Drummerboy lives in this alternative reality where the police were created for the sole purpose of enslaving and repressing black people.


tjohn said:

Smedley said:

This is as good a quick-hit description as any: 

“Police typically are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/police

I don’t get how you could have lived (your age) years in society and not have figured this out by now?

'cause Drummerboy lives in this alternative reality where the police were created for the sole purpose of enslaving and repressing black people.

you should read up on the history of the police in America. nothing "alternative" about that reality.


drummerboy said:

tjohn said:

Smedley said:

This is as good a quick-hit description as any: 

“Police typically are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/police

I don’t get how you could have lived (your age) years in society and not have figured this out by now?

'cause Drummerboy lives in this alternative reality where the police were created for the sole purpose of enslaving and repressing black people.

you should read up on the history of the police in America. nothing "alternative" about that reality.

I realize that the police were used to enforce slavery and then segregation/apartheid.

However, absent slavery, we would still have a police force.

Therefore, we need to fix what we have.


I still think Mayor Richard Daley stumbled into the somewhat truth.

"The Police are not there to create disorder. They are there to preserve disorder".


Every society has some sort of mechanism to enforce the rules.  


tjohn said:

Every society has some sort of mechanism to enforce the rules.  

exactly…at some point us humans realized that the Ten Commandments were not a deterrent….


Jaytee said:

exactly…at some point us humans realized that the Ten Commandments were not a deterrent….

At some point humans decided that punishment by God was not enough of a deterrent.


STANV said:

At some point humans decided that punishment by God was not enough of a deterrent.

I suspect that societal enforcement mechanisms predate any specific religion.


tjohn said:

Every society has some sort of mechanism to enforce the rules.  

Isn't the subtext of the police reform debate an argument about what the rules are? At one leading edge, the "abolish the police" argument is that the rules are the supremacy of propertied white males, and the problem with the police is precisely that they exist to enforce the rules. At the other leading edge, the "thin blue line" argument is Col. Jessup frothing at the mouth about how we need him on that wall.

Nearly everyone is somewhere between these of course. I think "abolish the police" is a poor slogan that is taken literally by so few people we can nearly dismiss it out of hand, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the radicalism of the argument -- whose interests are the police serving? The claim is that they're to serve public safety, but, well, you've all read enough of my posts to know I think the "public" is too narrowly defined these days. And if you start asking what it would take to truly ensure public safety, with the public much more broadly defined, then if you don't get quite to "abolish the police" you do get to a desire to radically narrow the situations where we send armed agents of the state, and demand much greater accountability to those we authorize to use deadly force.

I think we definitely need police -- Jan. 6 is one example where we could have used more of them (and the fact that a large group of angry white people telegraphing their violent intentions didn't result in a larger police presence is yet another illustration of the problem, no?). But in general, we need fewer of them, and more alternative ways to respond to the need for public safety that don't default to the threat of lethal force.


considering how few crimes are ever solved, I'd suggest that most people, most of the time, follow the rules out of personal ethics, and not fear of law enforcement.


PVW said:

tjohn said:

Every society has some sort of mechanism to enforce the rules.  

 I think "abolish the police" is a poor slogan that is taken literally by so few people we can nearly dismiss it out of hand, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the radicalism of the argument -- whose interests are the police serving? 

The slogan is worse - it is damaging to the cause - than poor in a country where a disturbing % of the citizens believe Biden stole the election.

I don't know what the right number of armed police officers might be.  On the other hand, if we want to have a discussion about the need to spend more on personnel who can be first responders to quite a range of issues ranging from non-violent mental health problems to homelessness, then we can start a worthwhile discussion.

What I don't believe is that there is a free lunch in the sense that just reallocating money can solve the problems.  More money is needed.


tjohn said:

What I don't believe is that there is a free lunch in the sense that just reallocating money can solve the problems.  More money is needed.

Here's a rough back-of-the-envelope approach to thinking about how much money -- what do wealthy private individuals spend on safety -- both directly in hiring their own, and indirectly in living in gated enclaves with security forces?

If we think of physical security as a resource, and see the current situation as, in a way, a resource allocation problem -- the wealthy with their private security forces, the merely rich with the police guarding their interests, the poor experiencing the police as just one more violent force that brings chaos and not order -- then we might start to get the outline of how much, exactly, would need to shift for a more even distribution of "public safety."


PVW said:

tjohn said:

What I don't believe is that there is a free lunch in the sense that just reallocating money can solve the problems.  More money is needed.

Here's a rough back-of-the-envelope approach to thinking about how much money -- what do wealthy private individuals spend on safety -- both directly in hiring their own, and indirectly in living in gated enclaves with security forces?

If we think of physical security as a resource, and see the current situation as, in a way, a resource allocation problem -- the wealthy with their private security forces, the merely rich with the police guarding their interests, the poor experiencing the police as just one more violent force that brings chaos and not order -- then we might start to get the outline of how much, exactly, would need to shift for a more even distribution of "public safety."

That will fall short of the costs of:

1.  Under resourcing schools

2.  Homelessness

3.  Hunger

4.  Mental illness


I went to the funeral of a humble man yesterday, who among other interests in a very long life, had founded an aged care nursing home around 35-40 years ago. He’s personally provided each resident a brand new mattress (anonymously - not even the staff know this) as they start their tenancy. He doesn’t want anyone to have a mattress on which some has died or suffered. 
There are hundreds more than Ten Commandments. (603 in fact) It might help some ‘city fathers’ to read and practice a few of more of them instead of just buying more weaponry. 

tjohn said:

That will fall short of the costs of:

1.  Under resourcing schools

2.  Homelessness

3.  Hunger

4.  Mental illness


Does anyone know more about the 3 armed robberies which took place in Maplewood Saturday?


ridski said:

mtierney said:

Does anyone know more about the 3 armed robberies which took place in Maplewood Saturday?

https://villagegreennj.com/breaking-news/maplewood-police-investigating-3-armed-robberies-of-lone-women-saturday-morning

I guess they weren't prevented.


If only Biden's approval ratings were higher, we wouldn't have to blame Obama.


nohero said:

I guess they weren't prevented.

from the article, I'd say we don't need more police officers as much as we need fewer people to leave their cars unattended with the keys in it.


Following the Saturday morning Maplewood incidents,  there were other robberies at gun point of women along Springfield Avenue in Irvington.


mtierney said:

Following the Saturday morning Maplewood incidents,  there were other robberies at gun point of women along Springfield Avenue in Irvington.

Well, it sounds like you know as much as anyone else.


ridski said:

Well, it sounds like you know as much as anyone else.

A news service online had the Irvington story. 


mtierney said:

ridski said:

Well, it sounds like you know as much as anyone else.

A news service online had the Irvington story. 

To be fair to me, you only asked about Maplewood, and to be fair to you, an online news service is where you get information about crimes and victims, not a political thread about police on MOL, so seeing as you obviously don’t give a **** about the victims of these crimes,  what political point were you attempting to make by asking for “information” here?


ridski said:

To be fair to me, you only asked about Maplewood, and to be fair to you, an online news service is where you get information about crimes and victims, not a political thread about police on MOL, so seeing as you obviously don’t give a **** about the victims of these crimes,  what political point were you attempting to make by asking for “information” here?

Always want to be fair, Ridski, to you and others. Crime in the eyes of many only happens in other neighborhoods, not theirs. Talk here has tended  toward  denial of the rise in random crime; the absurdity of defunding the police.  At the same time, the failure of prosecutors to keep repeat offenders off the street, along with redefining of what constitutes a crime, have put revolving doors on the justice system. 

And, to correct your zinger at me, personally, I do, indeed, care about the victims of crime. Whether the attacks on elderly Asians, or the baby with a bullet in her brain, or the subway rider pushed in front of train, this is no way to live and cannot be excusable nor acceptable in America.

I think I have “made my point”. So, your response is to keep local crime quiet? Of course, and  blame the police when it does. Got it.


@mtierney,  Nobody in MapSO is trying to keep the recent muggings quiet.  Nobody is in denial about crime.



If conservatives truly cared about gun violence, they'd support dramatically reducing the amount of guns circulating. It would actually be helpful to have some voices that are more sympathetic to the second amendment helping come up with ways to massively shrink the domestic arsenal while respecting that amendment.

Instead, they've taken an absolutist position on guns. However much mt and her fellow travelers care about gun crime, they care less about it than they do about making sure white conservatives have an absolute and unquestioned right to deadly weapons. It's similar, really, to mt's position on vaccines -- sure, she's personally in favor of getting a vaccine, but would rather see hundreds of thousands die than than support measures that dramatically increase mask usage and vaccination.

Pro-life right up until it slightly inconveniences them.


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