Our Broken Police Forces

Over at Huffington Post, Radley Balko covers a disturbing story:

Jose Guerena, a 26-year-old Marine and Iraq war veteran, was killed May 5 when a SWAT team broke into his home a little after 9:30 a.m. According to Guerena’s wife, Vanessa (who was home at he time, along with their 4-year-old son), Guerena thought the police were home invaders. He ushered his family into a closet, then grabbed a rifle. When the police battered down the door, they saw Guerena and his rifle, and opened fire. The SWAT team released 70 rounds. Guerena didn’t fire a shot; the safety of his rifle was still on.

Last week, Arizona attorney Chris Scileppi filed notice of a $20 million lawsuit against Pima County, Ariz., on behalf of Guerena’s family. The lawsuit provides a good opportunity to look back at what has happened since since the morning of May 5…

Do read the whole thing – because it does bring to my mind, at least, a question about the utility of “special forces” units in our local police forces.  Indeed, it brings up along with it a question about what the police are for, and how civilian control is to be effected.

This story is extra meaningful to me because we here in Las Vegas also had a case of police officers wantonly gunning down a military veteran of excellent character…and then we watched as the police slandered the dead man, and then used a rigged investigation system to ensure that no officer was called to account for his errors.  If even our military veterans aren’t safe from out of control police actions, whom among us is?  When will the heavy club of law enforcement fall upon us?  Whom among us has the resources to fend it off?

Keep in mind that I am pro-police.  As I stated in my linked article, the police do a job I am not good enough to do.  Those people who are dedicated police officers are better men and women than I could ever hope to be.  But a baleful spirit of careerism, bureaucratic infighting and union corruption has taken over all too many of our local police forces.  The good cops are powerless against these forces…the bad cops get to rule the roost because they have gained control of the levers of power.  And, so, when a SWAT team goes on a stupid raid which results in an innocent death, no one is called to account.  Time and time again we have all seen this.

To me, the reason we have things like SWAT but don’t have a cop on the beat is because of the bad influences which have taken over the police.  Rather than have armored, heavily armed combat forces which can come crashing through my door at 2 am, I’d rather have a patrolman walking my neighborhood at night.  The patrolman will ensure that no one is breaking in to my home, that the teenagers are off the streets at a reasonable hour and that there is thus no need for anyone out there to think that my door should be battered down.  Corrupt and bureaucratic police forces like flashy things like SWAT teams; they make it seem like the cops are doing something good, when all they are donig is wasting time and resources which should be spent on crime prevention.  Police forces made up of people dedicated to law enforcement and keeping the peace have cops on the beat, who know their neighborhoods…who is supposed to be there and when.  It isn’t as sexy as SWAT, but it gets the job done.

My view is that what is most needed is a re-assertion of civil control over the police as this will ensure that the police get back to business.  That is, get back to seeing their primary task as peace keeping…preventing crime, rather than investigating crimes after they have happened.  Making certain the crack house never gets started, rather than raiding a house with machine guns at the ready, even if they’ve got the wrong house.  To that end, in my linked article I suggested the Civil Review Board – a means whereby average citizens can submit complaints about the police without the police being able to stop  or control an investigation.  That, in and of itself, would go a long way towards fixing the police…the next step would be to find political leaders who would be willing to take on the police unions (who really drive the corruption) and force the law enforcement agencies to do what the people need, not what corrupt unions bosses want.

Among the many callings a person can have, being a police officer is one of the most honorable.  Done properly, it is the height of service – the definite willingness to show the greatest love of all: that of being ready to lay down one’s life for another.  The police should never lack for support – monetary and moral.  They do one of the dirtiest jobs in the world and all of us should be wary of second-guessing a police officer in the performance of his duty.  But the police must be what we need them to be – guardians of the peace in our communities, not armed forces using razzle-dazzle, super-cop nonsense to cover up incompetence.

15 thoughts on “Our Broken Police Forces

  1. js August 19, 2011 / 1:43 pm

    without a reverence for humility…nobody should be a cop…

    the problem today is that most of those who join the police force have no humility or respect for citizens rights…they become powerbrokers with a gun…i have been a victim of police out of control…and its true…they hang tight…close ranks…and protect each other…to the point that they fail to live the spirit of what they represent…and instead of serving and protecting…they exploit and abuse…

    • Mark Edward Noonan August 19, 2011 / 2:38 pm


      Another issue not discussed right here is the way the police are going after people who videotape the police in the performance of their duties. The leadership of the police forces know they are doing it wrong, and they just don’t want us to find out…simply because that means dues-paying cops might get fired, thus less money for unions bosses and less money for the bought politicians.

      • Green Mountain Boy August 19, 2011 / 2:49 pm

        In illinois it is illeagal to videotape the police in action. Violates some wiretapping law.

  2. bardolf August 19, 2011 / 2:09 pm

    Several problems that could be dealt with by sane politicians.

    1. Decriminalize marijuana and most of the others drugs which keep the cartels in power. There is no reason a person can drink/smoke themselves into an early grave and not smoke marijuana.

    2. Enforce the borders or don’t enforce the borders. Make a choice but don’t do a half-ass solution like now.

    3. Back off with the big brother SWAT, BATF, DHS … stuff. When most big cities made high speed chases illegal things got better. The reason Mark doesn’t have a policeman walking his neighborhood is because a hyperactive SWAT team makes for cooler local TV coverage PERIOD.

    • neocon1 August 19, 2011 / 4:47 pm

      one legally armed vet was gunned down in a las vegas walmart parking lot because some one saw his ccw in the store.
      When stopped he reached for his wallet and the cops opened fire killing him.
      Of course they not charged as he was “acting suspicious”

      there are two U tubes of the same cop rampaging and threatening to shoot and kill people because one had A CCW, and he found one in the back seat of a car.
      The turd was totally psycho, a good union thug, dont worry when they unleash them on the Christians and TEA parties they respond with any and all force.
      Muslims & innercity mobs??
      Not so muck as we witnessed in wisconsin.

      • neocon1 August 19, 2011 / 4:51 pm

        watch this

      • neocon1 August 19, 2011 / 5:01 pm


      • neocon1 August 19, 2011 / 5:06 pm
      • neocon1 August 19, 2011 / 5:08 pm
  3. Green Mountain Boy August 19, 2011 / 5:15 pm

    This is depressing. I am sure these things happened in the past but now that everyone is virtually a walking tv station we are hearing and seeing more of it.

    • bardolf August 19, 2011 / 5:53 pm


      Well the idea that every little town in the country needs a SWAT team is a recent development for sure. I blame it on the lame TV show of the same name from the 70’s and news local coverage deciding that they needed more local shock stories.

      • Green Mountain Boy August 19, 2011 / 5:55 pm

        I am talking about police misconduct in general. This swat bull needs to go.
        That I agree with.

      • Mark Edward Noonan August 19, 2011 / 10:46 pm

        Agree with both of you – the State police should have SWAT and HRT departments…and they should also get out of the business of being a revenue stream via highway patrol ticket issuing. Some of the bigger cities might need a SWAT team (though even there I’m doubtful) – but the basic run of police work should not be SWAT or drug interdiction or playing Sherlock Holmes…it should be walking the beat and keeping the peace. That is what we built police forces for…but that didn’t justify big enough budgets…

      • neocon1 August 20, 2011 / 8:46 am

        I agree with all three of you, men in black hoods dressed like ninjas armed to the teeth ripping doors off with armored personnel carriers is insane.
        We all know how well this worked in Waco when armed men oppose these Klowns and not some 60 yo guy asleep in his bed.

      • neocon1 August 20, 2011 / 9:57 am

        Family members said police have not released the 911 tapes or surveillance video from the incident.

        “The easiest way to get to the truth, in our opinion, is simply to look at the Costco surveillance videos, which they have not released, which (Las Vegas police) says there was a glitch and they may not have a video,

        a “glitch” imagine that!!

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