Trouble in Law Enforcement

by Jack

The following news article prompted me to ask you a few questions about how you see the cops these days.

AMSTERDAM, Ohio – In the days after they ousted their police chief, the leaders of this town realized that the real mess he’d made wasn’t the jumble of trash and misplaced evidence that cluttered his office. It was what was buried underneath.

There they found forms featuring the mayor’s apparently forged signature that Chief David Cimperman used to add more than 30 officers to the town’s police roster – one for every 16 residents. Many never did any paid police work for the town, logging hours instead for a private security business that state investigators say Cimperman  ran on the side. He tried to outfit them with high-end radios. The riot gear and other surplus military equipment he bought with taxpayer money are missing.

What they didn’t find was evidence that the police force, built out of fear of being without help in an emergency, did much actual police work. . . .”

If we can believe the article, then this guy is bad news for the profession.  He has a history and how he rose to the rank of Chief is really strange.  You must wonder how a cop who gets fired, not once, but twice, gets rehired and even promoted to Chief?

It’s a known fact in law enforcement circles that sometimes a bad officer changes departments just quick enough to stay ahead of being terminated.  How can this happen, you may wonder?  When the bad cop feels the heat and decides to bug out, his old agency is often so glad to get rid of him they’re not inclined to say anything that would hold him back.  I know, I know…that’s bad, but it happens more than we like to think.

Compounding this is, each city and county in every state operate a little differently and they have their own command structure.  So, there’s not a lot cross talk and sharing going on like there might be say within a single federal agency.  This can also account for some misconduct slipping thru the cracks with a lateral transfer.

Little departments of course also have small budgets and their background check is not going to compare with LAPD.  Hiring an officer who meets all the education and training requirements and has decent experience is generally a lucky find for the dept. and that speeds the background process along too.

Did you know that it costs about $150k per year for a department to train a new officer?  An experienced officer, even with sketchy history, is still a tempting new hire because of what it costs a department in both time and money.    All this adds up to some bad cops staying employed a bit longer than they should.

There’s no way to track police misconduct at the moment, but the number of scandals involving police seem to be growing.   I wonder, is this a reality or just a perception created by our news media and the internet?  Either way, scandals have taken a toll on law enforcement’s reputation.  Some might say, it’s rattled the nation’s confidence in the thin blue line.  This trust issue is a given among minorities and the consequences of this perception can be deadly as the group Black Lives Matter reminds us (be they right or wrong).

There’s no easy fix when it comes to professional standards or regaining community trust.

If we take away the ability for states and local dept.s to run their agencies the way they want, in favor of national hiring and training standards, have we really done a good thing?  I once thought so, but I’m not so sure anymore.  This could bring us closer a national police force.  One might argue that this cure may be worse than the disease!

My question to you now is:  Would you like to see a national standard for officers like the U.K. has?  Should we have a national data base where an officers service record is kept, like we do for military personnel?  All comments and suggestions are welcome.

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7 Responses to Trouble in Law Enforcement

  1. Pie Guevara says:

    Re Question: No. The US is the United States not the United Kingdom. See 9th and 10th.

    • Cherokee Jack says:

      Jack: I hate to keep sounding like a pessimist, but why do we need a police force?
      There’s no such thing as a misdemeanor any more, and most felons only spend the night in jail. The death row boys will soon be working for the state, unless Gavin sobers up.
      Cops are being required to follow Queensbury rules while the bad guys will continue to make their own rules.
      The only real criminals left are us, and we’ll have card carrying party members to round us up for the re-education camps.

      • Post Scripts says:

        Jack I fear it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Our brilliant voters have elected the perfect governor to make it worse too. If CA continues on its current trajectory I think we should be in financial meltdown within 10 years…just another failed socialist state.

      • Chris says:

        Yes, that’s the problem. Too few people in prison.

        Seriously?

        • Cherokee Jack says:

          “Yes, that’s the problem. Too few people in prison.
          Seriously?”

          I hope you don’t teach logic classes. I was being more specific than just “people.” All criminals are people, but not all people are criminals.

          Crime and punishment, professor. In civilized societies they go together. In New California, not so much.

          • Chris says:

            My comment did not imply that all people are criminals, and I’ll respectfully ask that you keep my occupation out of these discussions.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Oregon has gone to a state law enforcement system to handle most of their law enforcement duties. They claim this improves command and control as well as giving them more leverage for bulk purchases. So, it’s not out of the realm of a possibility that CA may head this direction eventually as our police costs mount..

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