It's way easier to weed out bad cops then we thought (police violence)

This study analyzed a huge amount of data on complaints filed against cops. The study wanted to test the usual police defense when asked about excessive police force, that the offending cops are “just a few bad apples”.

Surprisingly, that defense is correct. It IS just a few bad apples who rack up almost all of the complaints. Between two and ten percent of cops are bad, depending at how many complaints you draw the line. And these bad apples STAY bad, year after year. More alarmingly, they also stay in the police force, which is a very bad thing. because they influence other cops in a bad way. They also cost the police force a lot, both in money ( settlements) as well as in diminished trust by the public in the police

So it’s really quite simple. Any cop racking up more then a certain amount of independent complaints, should leave the force.

The ones that look the other way, cover for them, lie for them, the ones that allow them to exist in the first place-those are bad cops, too. An accessory to a crime is also a criminal, so what is the real number of bad cops?

Yes, but.

There are a lot of reasons why otherwise-decent cops might cover up for the bad ones. If we could get rid of the bad ones, the others wouldn’t have anything to cover up.

Also, on the idea that we have to start somewhere, why not start with the bad ones first? If you really try to root out every ounce of complicity there won’t be anything left. Is there any profession that is perfect, and that wouldn’t be better for removing actual offenders? Teachers, doctors, pastors, plumbers, you name it. They all have bad apples, and they all tend to stick together, even if sometimes reluctantly.

This seems to be an example where the cliché works: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

But you can’t root out the bad ones because of your supposedly otherwise decent ones.

A good idea, certainly, but impracticable. Police are unionized and would fight tooth and nail against any such policy.

A big flaw is that you can’t easily be sure if a complaint is justified. Some may be fabricated; others may be a misinterpretation of the incident.

A bigger flaw is that the system investigates itself.

That and the fact that they rely on prosecutors who the police have a working relationship with to prosecute police crimes.

Start making police use money from their pension funds to pay for settlements, that break the blue wall of silence. That and prosecute them for failing to report criminal acts by other cops. . When cops actually have something to lose by covering up their coworkers criminal behavior, then cops will start to shape up.

So what? If you fire them they can’t afford the union fees anymore. Problem fixed.

I don’t find it surprising that the theory of a few bad apples would be validated. Criminals hate to be arrested, and they are going to complain about it. And one of the things they complain about is excessive violence.

The notion that, once you rack up a certain number of complaints, you get fired, is fine. I would amend it to say one you rack up a certain number of validated complaints, you get fired. Body cams, where practical, would help in this, although they are not a panacea. They just reduce the number of 'he said, she said" cases. But it wouldn’t help all the time - a few years ago on the SDMB there was a thread about some teenager who was being arrested who bit the officer, whereupon he smacked her upside the head. It was caught on camera, and there were even some people who seemed to think this was egregious conduct on the officer’s part and he should be sanctioned.

People don’t submit to being cuffed every time you say “pretty please”, and no amount of training is going to cause police to stop on a dime the instant someone watching a YouTube video thinks he should put the kid gloves back on.

See the “Controversial Encounters” thread in the Pit for how cherry-picking and spin can be used to support the notion that “the police are racist/out of control/fascist”.


That isn’t how it works.


From what I can tell, the research in the article controls for things like this – even when “problem” cops were moved from patrolling bad neighborhoods (which tend to rack up more complaints) to better neighborhoods, they still had more complaints than their fellows, and more than random chance would suggest.

Yes, it’s easy to figure who the bad cops are. And it seems the bad cops are a small minority. But, thanks to unions, it’s damn hard to fire them for poor performance and probably even harder to beat them in court if you’ve been mistreated. Solution: bust up their unions.

Unions should do two things:

  1. protect the interests of police officers as a whole, and
  2. protect individual cops from being fired, even bad cops.

It seems that they should protect individual cops a little less, so the corps does better.

How does it make sense for unions to protect people who objectively do a bad job?

And are we going to let people beat up innocent people (I guess they also beat up guilty people… shouldn’t do that either) because we don’t want to ruffle any union feathers? That’s ridiculous.

Almost as ridiculous as giving kids a sub-par education because it’s inconvenient to fire bad teachers.

The problem with this solution is that it can be gamed. If I have a drug gang and an officer is arresting too many of my soldiers I just get ten people to make complaints and the cop is fired. Then I go to the next officer and tell him if he wants to keep his job to look the other way.
That is why you need a procedure to separate legitimate complaints from phony complaints. That procedure needs to be independent and not controlled by the cops. This is another reason why public employee unions should be banned and mandatory unionism should be ended.

This is the biggest flaw. My experience is that the IA is not the rat squad but rather the white wash squad.

Unions are not as strong as you think. Many times the union is successful because management or personal don’t do or know how to do their job. Then because management fails every one thinks the union is stronger that it really is.

If personal on management do their job then a union is not that strong.

My son had a case where he was going to fire an employee who was on final warning.
He called the union rep and discussed his plan on firing the employee giving all the history. He asked the union rep if there would be any problem with the firing. The unions answer was no. He called personal and told them to start the paper work. Personal did not want to let my son fire the employee. Why? Because they thought the union would object. He ripped the personal employee a new one and told him to do his job the employee was to be fired the next day and he needed his final check in the store by then. His final words to personal was I am doing my job, the union has done its job, and so far I have been doing your job. It is now time for you to do your job. The next day he gave the employee his final check and fired the guy.

#2 is almost right.
Protect individual cops, make sure that if they are being fired that the firing is justified. A bad cop as a member gives the force a bad name and the union a bad name. If the force is unionized then by law the union must defend anyone working under the contract.

Lawyers are like unions. Almost everyone hates them. Considers them unnecessary. That is until you need one.