Study: The 'War On Cops' Is Pure Bullshit

from the it-keeps-the-money-rolling-in-though dept

The "War on Cops" is a belief system that's currently being preached to the converted. Evidence abounds that it's safer to be a cop now than it's ever been, and yet, officers still claim they're being targeted and use these unfounded fears to obtain military equipment and qualified immunity rulings.

We've covered how safe police work is here before. But the narrative coming from the law enforcement community refuses to change, despite evidence to the contrary. Research is piling up, exposing law enforcement agencies' claims of cops being targeted by a vengeful populace as a self-serving lie. At best, these claims are merely wrong. But given the easy access to law enforcement officer death data, a refusal to see the stats for what they are is incredibly disingenuous at best.

Adding yet more documentation to the pile is a study released by researchers from three American universities. The study [PDF] shows policing just keeps getting safer.

The number of line-of-duty deaths has declined dramatically over the last five decades. Policing is a much safer profession now than it was 50 years ago. Despite a 75% drop in deaths, however, there has been remarkable stability in geographic-, temporal-, and incident-level characteristics. Also, several notable changes over time reflect favorably on improved safety in policing, such as declines in deaths resulting from aircraft crashes and accidental gunfire. Other trends are troubling, though, such as the stability in deaths during auto pursuits and a two-fold increase in deaths from vehicular assaults. Currently, the “war on cops” thesis is not supported by any evidence, and we apply the 50-year lens in this study to provide important context for understanding recent trends in officer deaths.

The number of deaths continues to drop despite a few high-profile incidents in which cops were targeted and killed. What's interesting is officers' lack of concern for their own safety, as is evidenced by the numbers of deaths related to vehicle pursuits.

Interestingly, deaths occurring during automobile pursuits remained stable over time (5% to 6%) despite policy changes adopted by departments to restrict and control pursuits (Alpert, 1997).

In addition, significant shifts in cause of death occurred among nonfelonious cases. The most common cause was automobile/motorcycle accidents, and the proportion increased significantly over time from 37.9% in 1970–1979 to 52.0% in 2000–2016.

There's nothing "interesting" about this. Departments have regularly enacted policies meant to curb the use of high-speed pursuits to capture criminal suspects. Just as regularly, officers have ignored these policies. There is also an observed tendency for officers to drive aggressively when responding to calls, increasing the chance of accidents, injuries, and death.

Aggressive action by officers -- not just in terms of driving, but also in terms of interactions with the public -- appears to be greeted in kind.

Researchers have also documented an association between aggressive patrol style and greater rates of assault (Kaminski et al., 2003; Morrison & Meyer, 1974; Regens et al., 1974; but see Wilson & Zhao, 2008). Fridell et al. (2009: 550) concluded that “agencies that have a culture of aggressiveness will likely ‘produce,’ not just more force against subjects, but also violence against police.”

Escalation remains a problem. De-escalation could save lives, as could simply treating the suspects like human beings, rather than punching bags or bullet receptacles. Aggressive tactics are making cops less safe in an era of unprecedented officer safety.

Another unsurprising finding is that the so-called "Ferguson effect" is pure bullshit.

A handful of scholars has sought to test elements of a “Ferguson Effect” directly, particularly as it relates to crime rates and depolicing. In regard to allegations of a “war on cops,” Maguire and colleagues (2017) found no evidence that the events in Ferguson (and after) led to an increase in felonious killings of police officers. By focusing on a time period spanning January 2010 through March 2016 and by using an intervention of August 2014, they found that anti-police rhetoric was not associated with a rise in the number of police officers murdered across multiple interrupted time-series estimation techniques. The analyses and their findings were robust, indicating no evidence of either an abrupt or gradual increase in felonious homicides post–Ferguson.

How can law enforcement officials who still push this rhetoric explain their refusal to accept the facts? It's not as though researchers are juking a proprietary data set to come to these conclusions. The data set used in this case comes directly from law enforcement reporting, collected by a pro-law enforcement entity: the Officer Down Memorial Page, run by a nonprofit that says it's "dedicated to honoring America's fallen law enforcement heroes."

If anyone's still pushing a "War on Cops" narrative in the face of these facts, they've got something to sell. The public isn't buying it, but that hardly matters when there's a captive audience just dying to hear how unappreciated they are even as they march fearlessly into the face of certain death mild antagonism.

Filed Under: evidence, police, research, war on cops


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 9:10am

    War

    So the data suggests that the group targeting the police is... Reckless cops driving like idiots.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2019 @ 12:31pm

      Re: War

      I mean, that's true for military members as well:

      "Seventy-two percent of the overall casualties ― 11,341 deaths ― occurred under circumstances unrelated to America’s ongoing wars, the report found. Ninety-three percent of all these casualties occurred in the U.S., although incidents happened in over 70 nations around the world. Accidents, self-inflicted wounds or illness made up the bulk of casualties."

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Apr 2019 @ 1:55pm

        Multiply that number by 2.5+

        We hire three times as many personnel from private military contractors as we we have deployed, and of those, about 50% of our contracts are for combat duty in hot zones.

        While PMC units are about three times as expensive as national services, the advantages outweigh the costs, specifically, PMCs can engage in actions illegal for soldiers of the state (and still give officers of the US plausible deniability) and casualties within PMCs don't count as US soldiers lost to war, and are not reported as such.

        If this sounds outrageously and absurdly unethical, that's because it totally is. But the US has been hiring companies like Academi (aka Xe Services, aka Blackwater) at least since Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

        If ever the US needs to occupy US soil with a military presence, it's probably going to be by PMC units who will have less of an issue gunning down their fellow statesfolk.

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  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 10:48am

    Statistics...

    "across multiple interrupted time-series estimation techniques"

    When you see something like the above, you should know it's time to put on your hip waders and pick up a shovel.

    It doesn't matter what is being "measured", or if you agree or disagree with the conclusion.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2019 @ 7:01am

      Re: Statistics...

      "...you should know it's time to put on your hip waders and pick up a shovel."

      What I generally "know" is that someone with an IQ greater than 115 spent time studying advanced statistical methods and then applied that training to a useful endeavor. I know that the arguments will be more cleverly formulated, tested, analyzed, and summarized than most of the silly, light-weight "demonstrations" I usually encounter.

      You've obviously never studied statistics beyond the freshman level. Remarking forcefully on topics about which you are particularly ignorant is not a good look. You may not understand time series models, but there are lots of grown-ups who do.

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      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Apr 2019 @ 7:55am

        Re: Re: Statistics...

        I know that when I see "proof" of anything that says things like "across multiple interrupted time-series estimation techniques" instead of "using standard accepted methods", there's a reason those accepted standard methods weren't used.

        And that reason is pretty much always that they didn't give the desired result.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2019 @ 10:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Statistics...

          ....but interrupted time-series are a standard accepted method...

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2019 @ 7:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Statistics...

          "I know that when I see 'proof' of anything that says things like 'across multiple interrupted time-series estimation techniques' instead of 'using standard accepted methods,' there's a reason those accepted standard methods weren't used."

          So much bullshit to unpack...

          1) you obviously "know" very little - at least as relates to statistics;

          2) time series analysis IS an entirely standard, accepted method;

          3) nobody ever claims that ANY statistical result PROVES anything.

          The proper interpretation of your remarks is: Since I'm ignorant, I can rely on everyone to be as ignorant as I am and post bullshit that everyone else will believe.

          Quit bein' stupid in public.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2019 @ 12:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Statistics...

            Bamboo is too much of a cop holster to believe his little piggies are capable of ANY wrongdoing.

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Zof (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 10:58am

    There were 129 deaths in 2017 and 144 in 2018. So they are freaking out because it climbed year over year. But if you are highly unethical, you can just go back 5 or ten years and pretend they have no right to be concerned.

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    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      Didn't you say you were leaving?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Zof (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re:

        So, couldn't actually refute me then huh lol. I'm sorry I was right.

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        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I didn't bother to read what you had. So I am right, you said you were leaving?

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          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            icon
            Zof (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'm just trying figuring out how to block you since I have value and you have none, so don't matter.

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            • identicon
              Baron von Robber, 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ah so I take it you did say you would leave and you're not honoring your words.

              I can't take anything you come out if you dishonor yourself so.

              When you leave, I'll start taking you seriously.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      There were 129 deaths in 2017 and 144 in 2018. So they are freaking out because it climbed year over year. But if you are highly unethical, you can just go back 5 or ten years and pretend they have no right to be concerned.

      Looking at the graph on page 24 of the study, there's an overall downward trend in the number of officer deaths since 1970. It also shows cases of year-over-year increases in that overall downward trend, of which the 2017-2018 increase may just be another instance.

      Giving a 50 year trend more weight than a 1 year trend isn't unethical. It doesn't mean they have no right to be concerned, it just means that the rhetoric isn't consistent with the data.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:25pm

      Re:

      But if you are highly unethical, you can just go back 5 or ten years and pretend they have no right to be concerned.

      People who suck at math as badly as you have no value.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      One data point is a trend?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:07am

    Not comparable

    Policing is a much safer profession now than it was 50 years ago.

    50 years ago you could not possibly have sued a fast food joint for handing you seething hot coffee in a paper cup either. Or cigarettes over the counter.

    Expectations about a world safe from harm have changed significantly since then.

    Police officers expect the same kind of safety as everybody else does by now. At the same time, everybody and their lobby wants to have guns spread round the country like candy, magically only instantiating in the hand of the good guys™.

    Police officers die. Fewer than once ago, but once ago a dangerous job was expected to take a body toll, whether in a sawmill or on patrol.

    Short of any other explanation, somebody must be out to get them. So there must be a war going on against them since one cannot single out a single cause.

    I've heard of someone taking a liking to Iceland after having seen a sign there: "Warning: dangerous cliff" a few yards before, well, a dangerous cliff. A drop of thousands of feet. No fence, no chain. Just a dangerous cliff.

    That's just not compatible to how U.S. Americans view life. You can't just tack a "Warning: dangerous job" sign to the career of a law enforcement officer.

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    • identicon
      TDR, 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:34am

      Re: Not comparable

      I guess you didn't bother to look at the data cited in the article, which clearly contradicts the claims of a fictitious war that does not exist. You also seem to unaware of the fact that police officer is not even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs. It comes in at about #14. The #1 most dangerous job with the most fatalities per year? Garbage collector. Research has already shown this.

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      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:59am

        Re: Re: Not comparable

        Pshaw. All you need to do is look at the raw data, which is pretty blunt - 10% rise in cop deaths between 2017 and 2018.

        Alternatively, you could look at the raw numbers "across multiple interrupted time-series estimation techniques" and come up with a different answer.

        Of course, if you select the "correct" intervals to lose when you "interrupt", you can also use this method to prove that slavery never existed in the US or that Tasmania has the most honest government on the planet.

        Just out of curiosity (I'm not going to search it), do you happen to know the raw numbers of on the job deaths of garbage collectors in '17 and '18?

        "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - Sam Clemens

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 12:27pm

        Re: Re: Not comparable

        Honestly? I’m starting to see the limits of these studies when garbage collection beat out aircraft carrier deck worker.

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        • icon
          Bamboo Harvester (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not comparable

          That's my point. Not that there's a war on cops or not, nor how dangerous being a garbage collector is.

          Not just blatant manipulation of the data, but bragging about how their manipulation isn't, it's a special "technique".

          You can prove anything if you're permitted to massage the data statistically.

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 2:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not comparable

          I suspect aircraft carrier deck workers receive more safety training than garbage collectors.

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          • icon
            Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Apr 2019 @ 8:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not comparable

            I suspect there are far more garbage collectors than there are carrier deck workers. Or cops. Possibly combined.

            If there were the same number of cops as garbage collectors, what would the "chances" of dying on the job be?

            If you ask a mathematician what 2+2 equals, they'll ask "for what value of "2"? If you ask the same of a statistician, the answer will be "what would you like it to be?".

            Of course there's valid use for statistical analysis. But applying "across multiple interrupted time-series estimation techniques" should be pegging the BSometer all the way into the red.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2019 @ 7:49am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not comparable

              "I suspect there are far more garbage collectors than there are carrier deck workers. Or cops. Possibly combined."

              This is why some people normalize the data.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2019 @ 12:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not comparable

              “BSometer all the way into the red.“

              Every time there’s an article on cops. Mine is... about anything you say. You’re such a blatant badge bunny it’s kinda sad bro.

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            • icon
              blademan9999 (profile), 29 Apr 2019 @ 3:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not comparable

              These things are done on a per capita basis normally. So no, you're wrong.

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      • identicon
        David, 27 Apr 2019 @ 1:10am

        Re: Re: Not comparable

        I guess you didn't bother to look at the data cited in the article, which clearly contradicts the claims of a fictitious war that does not exist.

        I am constantly surprised at the complete inability of Americans to recognize ironic passages (of the advocatus moronici kind) from context unless marked in flashing red and accompanied by "ha ha, joke joke" which is sort of an insult to the readers' intelligence. I mean, it's not just you: the "Insightful" marker clearly shows that a sufficient number of other readers consider your struggle against not even a strawman valiant enough to commend you for it.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 27 Apr 2019 @ 2:32am

          'How am I supposed to parody THAT?!'

          To be fair with the utter lunacy that seems rampant these days, including people saying absolutely batshit things with a straight face it has been getting harder and harder to tell a poe from a genuine nut, which can make writing as a poe for the humor a risky gambit at times.

          'Will people understand that I'm being sarcastic without the sarc mark at the end, or is this just a titch too close to something that you might actually hear from some individual that people will think it's the real thing?'

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          • identicon
            David, 27 Apr 2019 @ 2:39pm

            Re: 'How am I supposed to parody THAT?!'

            Man, looking at the by now impressive number of "insightful" postings refuting the single out-of-line sentence where I channel an imaginary "war on cops" proclaimer, I'd sure wish that there was a reward for spawning the most "insightful" comments.

            Though I'd probably still lose against some actual full-time trolls in the contest.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:17pm

      That police officers die, whatever the cause of death, is not absolute proof of a so-called “war on police”. Neither is the fact that officers can die (and have died) by the hands of suspects both armed and unarmed. No one who asserts that this “war” exists can offer anything beyond either statistics presented to look their worst and anecdotal stories that cannot be taken as a universal truth.

      If a “war on police” were a thing, the police would be losing. Even with all their pseudo-military training and equipment, they are still a small force compared to the potential force of an entire population…or a smaller yet heavily-armed (and murderous) segment of it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:19pm

      Re: Not comparable

      Short of any other explanation, somebody must be out to get them. So there must be a war going on against them since one cannot single out a single cause.

      A lack of singular cause would explain exactly why someone isn't out to get them. Events can actually be (wait for it...) random!

      You can't just tack a "Warning: dangerous job" sign to the career of a law enforcement officer.

      Damn right. Most cops caught doing things outside the law will actually argue in court that they are exactly that stupid and didn't know what they were doing was a crime, despite "law enforcement" being in their job descriptions. This site has plenty of examples. So yeah, I wouldn't trust a cop to know his ass from a hole in the ground, much less that being a cop could actually be dangerous.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:19pm

      Re: Not comparable

      The world is much more dangerous because of the militarized mindset of law enforcement.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:37pm

        Re: Re: Not comparable

        "The world is much more dangerous because of the militarized mindset of law enforcement."

        I was thinking along these same lines. I wonder what it is they are planning that has them so concerned about their safety. It must be something they know the public is not going to like. So they are gearing up for the fight they may not want to engage in.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2019 @ 5:30am

      Re: Not comparable

      "Police officers expect the same kind of safety as everybody else does by now."

      But they still want their hazard pay and disability benefits.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Apr 2019 @ 5:23am

      Re: Not comparable

      "Short of any other explanation, somebody must be out to get them. So there must be a war going on against them since one cannot single out a single cause."

      Because being entrusted with the violence monopoly and tasked to hold the core role of dealing with Bad Guys(TM) doesn't serve as sufficient reason as to why policing is dangerous.

      The main reason the "War on cops" has become a headline is due to the minority of police officers who are stereotypical bigots, racists, corrupt, or outright villains. Ferguson? "Can't be helped, there's a War on Cops". Rodney King? "War on Cops".

      The "War on Cops" has become that catch phrase bad cops keep invoking to make it look like a known bigot with a badge really had no choice other than to shoot that black man six times in the back or run that latino off the road at 90 mph.

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      • identicon
        Annonymouse, 30 Apr 2019 @ 8:08am

        Re: Re: Not comparable

        Sadly these same cops would soil themselves if it was even suggested they would be posted to some where other than the states.

        An east African country where there is a war and cops are a primary target.

        Mexico where cops are either part of the cartels or dead or both.

        Europe where most cops keep the peace and live among those they serve without military toys.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:07pm

    I reject your reality and substitute my own

    The most common cause was automobile/motorcycle accidents, and the proportion increased significantly over time from 37.9% in 1970–1979 to 52.0% in 2000–2016.

    When half of the fatalities on the job are effectively self-inflicted, and in spite of rules meant to prevent the behavior that leads to those deaths, I'd say it's pretty clear that the biggest 'threat' police face are from themselves.

    Fridell et al. (2009: 550) concluded that “agencies that have a culture of aggressiveness will likely ‘produce,’ not just more force against subjects, but also violence against police.”

    Go figure, act like an aggressive thug, get the same treatment in return, almost as though people have a tendency to treat others as they are being treated.

    How can law enforcement officials who still push this rhetoric explain their refusal to accept the facts?

    Because paltry 'facts' don't matter when you just know that the narrative you're spinning/being told is otherwise. When you've got higher ups in law enforcement and even politics clamoring about how the police are just such helpless victims suffering unfair criticism, then it's not too surprising that the rank and file will start buying that crap as well, and if someone tries to argue otherwise then clearly they've got to have it out for the cops and anything they say can be dismissed.

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    • identicon
      TFG, 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:59pm

      Re: I reject your reality and substitute my own

      There's this idea floating around that if you repeat something enough it can become true.

      If that turns out to be true, then if the cops talk about there being a war on them enough, it might turn out to be true.

      If the war on cops (implied as the whole of the civilian populace against law enforcement) becomes true, I have a feeling the cops will be drowned in numbers.

      Cops should probably stop pounding this rhetoric, so that they don't inadvertently start a war and find out what it's like to lose.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 2:16pm

        'Enforcing compliance via fear/force' only works for so long

        If that turns out to be true, then if the cops talk about there being a war on them enough, it might turn out to be true.

        In a way that could very well end up being the case.

        As noted in the second quote of my comment when cops act aggressive towards the public the public is more likely to return the favor, so if cops continue to treat the public and the law as the enemy, and idiot judges and politicians back them up to the point where the general public perception shifts such that people don't believe that the system will protect them from the police then they're more likely to take matters into their own hands for pure self-preservation, and 'the public making clear they don't want police in their neighborhoods' could very well end up the better possibility facing the police at that point.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 4:11pm

    Many police have been replaced by cowards with gun

    If they claim that the unarmed person running away from them made them fear for their lives, why would you believe anything else that comes out of their mouth?

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    • identicon
      David, 27 Apr 2019 @ 11:56pm

      Re: Many police have been replaced by cowards with gun

      Uh, what replacement? This is a matter of training the right mind set. Quoting from old news of the New York Times:

      Mr. Meadlo testified yester day that he and Lieutenant Calley killed as many as 140 South Vietnamese, mostly women and children, during an American attack on the hamlet March 16, 1968.

      “Were you afraid the babies might attack you?” the Army prosecutor, Capt. Aubrey M. Daniel 3d, asked today.

      “Yes,” Mr. Meadlo replied. “Any baby might have been loaded with grenades that the mother could have throwed.”

      “Were they making any move to attack?”

      “Not at that time, no.”

      But, the witness said, one never knew when some mother or child might “give one little pull on a string or a chain and blow us up.”

      He said he had shot “a few” babies during a mass execution of 30 to 40 men, women and children inside the hamlet and later “a few” more babies dur ing the shooting of 75 to 100 unarmed and unresisting civilians at a ditch outside.

      “What were the mothers doing?” the prosecutor asked.

      “They were just squatting there,” Mr. Meadlo said.

      “What were the babies doing?”

      “They were in their mothers’ arms.”

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2019 @ 7:58am

        Re: Re: Many police have been replaced by cowards with gun

        "Many police have been replaced by cowards with gun"

        "Uh, what replacement?"

        Are we talking about the Volunteer Deputy that shot and killed a suspect? Yeah, big war on cops goin on huh.
        https://www.cnn.com/2015/04/13/us/tulsa-shooting-robert-bates-volunteer-deputy/index.html

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 28 Apr 2019 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re: Many police have been replaced by cowards with gun

        I don't think I want to be able to understand the mindset required to justify gunning down helpless women and babies, simply because they might present a threat at some point. Cowardly scum like that deserve to be locked up for life(and hopefully were), both for their crimes and to protect the public from a monster than can justify atrocities like that to themselves, and therefore could all too easily do the same again in the future.

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        • identicon
          Annonymouse, 30 Apr 2019 @ 8:15am

          Re: Re: Re: Many police have been replaced by cowards with gun

          Except more times than not they are lauded as heroes or the whole thing laughed off with zero accountability.

          Reference bombing or shooting up allies well behind lines of conflict.

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  • identicon
    Rekrul, 26 Apr 2019 @ 5:47pm

    I may have to print this out to give to my friend who whole-hearted believes that there's a full-blown war on cops and that the streets are currently so dangerous for the police that just routine patrolling is a life and death situation.

    It probably won't change his mind though. He believes that it's perfectly OK for a cop to shoot someone who makes them nervous (you know, because of the war on cops) because a cop not wanting to take any chances is completely reasonable, but he also disapproves of the cop who wouldn't enter the school while a shooter was killing kids inside.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 5:58pm

      "Believing it's OK for a cop to shoot someone..."

      I really hope this person is not in law enforcement. If he is, it's an indictment of our training standards.

      At this point law enforcement seems like a separate class of citizen above the law, allowed to murder and rob with impunity. Currently it is unethical to be employed in the department of justice just as it is unethical to participate in a system of internment or concentration camps.

      If you're a good cop, quit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 29 Apr 2019 @ 12:42pm

        Re: "Believing it's OK for a cop to shoot someone..."

        I really hope this person is not in law enforcement.

        No.

        At this point law enforcement seems like a separate class of citizen above the law, allowed to murder and rob with impunity.

        No, you have it all wrong! As my friend will tell you, those acts are only committed by the 0.0000000000000000001% of cops who are bad apples, and those guys get weeded out double-quick.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 6:03pm

      Re:

      I may have to print this out to give to my friend who whole-hearted believes that there's a full-blown war on cops and that the streets are currently so dangerous for the police that just routine patrolling is a life and death situation.

      Based upon the second half of your comment I'd say he'd actually be right, regular patrolling would be a 'life and death situation', namely for anyone who didn't have a badge that might be murdered any time a cop got the slightest bit nervous and 'feared for their lives'.

      Not sure how much it would change if they're really that far gone, but might be worth pointing out that the mindset they're apparently proposing, where cops should be encouraged to draw and fire any time they feel 'nervous' is actually making the police less safe, widening the divide between them and the public and making people less likely to trust them and more likely to do something stupid/desperate because police are more likely to injury if not kill anyone who looks at them funny.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 29 Apr 2019 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Not sure how much it would change if they're really that far gone, but might be worth pointing out that the mindset they're apparently proposing, where cops should be encouraged to draw and fire any time they feel 'nervous' is actually making the police less safe, widening the divide between them and the public and making people less likely to trust them and more likely to do something stupid/desperate because police are more likely to injury if not kill anyone who looks at them funny.

        He'll just dismiss the idea that being nicer helps make the police safer as an unworkable pipe dream, because that will make them hesitate when they pull over a speeder and the driver jumps outs and starts spraying the police car with a hail of bullets from his full-auto AK-47. You know, like happens about 90% of the time during traffic stops...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Apr 2019 @ 2:14pm

          This is when I note the early days of the Pinkertons and FBIs

          G-men historically would dress in a snappy square suit and knock on doors to serve warrants, carrying nothing but their service sidearm in a shoulder holster, and were notorious for not getting shot at. If a particular suspect was dangerous, backup would be standing by, typically in hiding, ready to engage in no less than a military-grade assault.

          The circumstances were evident. Shoot the nice G-man and nothing short of the Bolivian army would come after you and perforate you, your car and anyone near you to warrant a closed-casket. Kill the messenger and you were a dead man walking.

          This changed (and with some justification) with the rise of organized crime. In the 80s and the height of the popularity of Colombian cocaine. Drug lords were brutal to those that betrayed them, even under duress. People feared the cartels more than they feared the FBI, and this fueled the DEA and the war-on-drugs and the notion that you have to raid a house and shoot the dog just to serve a warrant.

          The thing is, since RICO, the pendulum has swung back again. If we were going to go kinder, gentler, the police can actually do doorknocking again, since everyone knows shooting a cop -- even a uniformed beat cop -- will end your life. Cop-killers don't last.

          Only, now that the police like to gun down unarmed innocents in the back, they're inviting a mafia to come in and provide protection or revenge for those people who are wronged. Once a viable organization comes in and shows they can exact cruel vengeance and get away with it, the people are ready to show them comfort.

          Law Enforcement works best as a monopoly, but right now they're begging for competition.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 11:04pm

    Self-inflicted injury and putting themselves at risk

    One of the things I actually talked to Tim about at the start of the week is potentially another factor in increased deaths.

    50 years ago, the cop car was a sedan, it may have had some red lights on it - lets take the cop cars in the original 'gone in 60 seconds' as a good representation and look at the cars. Specifically look at the lights. they were a few bulbs, slowly blinking on and off, not the brightest, and not irregular.

    Look at a modern car, they've gone completely all over day-glow, and that works great for daytime. BUT at nigth, they've turned into rolling (or stationary) areas of invisibility. And not by not being seen, but because they've every single light going, and that blinds and dazzles motorists, destroys their ability to see anything, creating an area where an officer could be standing, and a drive can't tell.

    Brilliantly bright lights area great for daylight, because they need to be bright to stand out. Strobes are also FAR safer in the day, because the [semi-]random strobes attract attention from the peripheral vision in the wider bright daylight.

    At night though, the light itself is the attractor, with colour discernible at a great distance. Years ago (10+), when my wife worked evenings ata job a ways away, I'd sometimes chat to her on the phone as she drove home (speakerphone, safety first) and I'd have this crap LED flashlight (one of the early ones, not an eye-searer. you could use it to light your way when walking, not much more) and the road outside was straight for over a mile. she could see that light at over a mile, as I could see her headlights.
    So you don't need ultra-bright lights, and you don't need them to strobe suddenly. it dazzles users, and can blind them. instead steady flashers (sometimes known as 'wig-wags' in some places) give the motion to alert, but don't 'sear the eyeball', and are a predictable motion that the eye/brain can adapt to.

    So, it could well be the case that at night, 'less is more' when it comes to emergency lighting and safety, and that in lighting themselves up as much as possible to make themselves 'safe' and 'visible', they've gone too far, and increased their risk.

    I aim to at least do some preliminary tests soon, if I can find some helpful members of the law enforcement community.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Apr 2019 @ 6:20am

      Re: Self-inflicted injury and putting themselves at risk

      IIRC, about 35 years ago, CT was one of the first to go over to the searingly bright strobes, and there was a lot of public outcry over them blinding drivers.

      BTW, a cigarette is visible five miles away at night on a ship.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Apr 2019 @ 11:44am

        Strobe police lights

        Contemporary emergency lighting arrays have both strobes and rotating beacons. The officer is supposed to use only what is necessary (e.g. just the beacons by night) the way they're supposed to temper their siren use by night in municipal areas.

        They often don't, and cruisers racing down a boulevard after midnight with full strobes and sirens is common nightly occurrence in San Francisco.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          K`Tetch (profile), 27 Apr 2019 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Strobe police lights

          I do recall getting pulled over once by a deputy out on the I20 corridor (actually right over I20). I have severe astigmatism, and other eye issues which means I suffer more from high level photosensitivity than most (basically, bright light affects me more, because of my glasses).
          The problem was that due to living off a dirt road and it being winter the roads got muddy, and mud and dust had somewhat obscured my license plate. He pulled us over because he couldn't read it or see the tag sticker.
          To be safe, we pulled over into a field entrance, with a heavily barred gate in front, and more than enough room for the two cars. He's not on the road, our car is pinned between his and a heavy obstruction, safe as can be. Except he's got everything cranked WAY up. IT was actually causing me nausea and head and eye pain, and I asked if he could reduce the front strobes, maybe use 'night mode' since it was... night (about 8pm). His response was that he had to have them light that, for 'officer safety'. His "safety" involved blinding me, and causing me to almost vomit, with no other benefit.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2019 @ 8:23am

            Re: Re: Strobe police lights

            It sounds like this should be on some sort of automatic photocontrol, so that the cop can simply hit the "light bar" button and have it Do the Right Thing, day or night?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Annonymouse, 30 Apr 2019 @ 9:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Strobe police lights

              Those two.
              You would think they would go together.
              But sadly they don't.

              Cop does the right thing.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2019 @ 7:28am

    Confusion of Prepositions

    Qualified immunity, unions, militarization, brotherhood-code-of-silence - all of these conspire to relegate non-LEO citizens to a second-class state. That's a "War by" not "on" cops.

    Cop kills you - not a problem...you kill a cop - be convicted of murder. Court rulings that cops owe citizens nothing, but if a citizen refuses to render aid to a cop, jail time.

    I no longer talk to cops, regardless of warrant, probable cause, or capacity to articulate a reasonable suspicion. I don't invite their attention by seeing-and-saying. I no longer advise local or other "cops" of anything. Cops are on my avoid-like-plague list.

    To the best of my recollection, my state of mind thirty years ago would have been stretched to admit the possibility that I might perceive a need to shoot a cop. The increasing abuses of power, the growing cadre of militarized murderers and general destroyers-and-thieves-of-private-property tolerated, supported, and shielded by their unions and supposedly innocent, "good-apple" brethren - these motivate revisions of my old views.

    Jefferson might have promoted a "War on Cops" in response to the current conditions; even if he didn't personally advocate or prosecute the action, he almost certainly would have understood and approved armed revolt against the overtly criminal thuggery institutionalized by our governments at any level.

    When it comes to a "War on Cops," we ain't got-a, but may need-a.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2019 @ 10:28am

    Blame it on TV cop shows milking the Wars on Drugs and Terrorism

    Rant Warning!!!!

    The phony War on Cops is 100% Hollywood. The legalization of Citizen slaying through the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism, has given Hollywood the perfect plot for its fantasy machine, which allows their Good Guy Cops to kill all sorts of citizens with impunity. The vengeful Drug dealers and terrorists are so Hollywood evil that citizen viewers love to see them killed in the most violent fashion possible, by their favorite fantasy cop heroes.

    TV Cop shows and movies that depict this Fake War as an ongoing and real trend, are the true source of this new Urban Myth. In fact, it is likely that every single TV Cop show has at least one episode of Citizen Revenge against the cop who arrested, testified against, or in any way aided the prosecution of the vengeful criminal. Some shows literally milk this myth continuously.

    It is no surprise that Cops have adopted this myth as a way to get their hands on War Toys and increase their own protection.

    In reality, the only Cop War that can be substantiated by facts, is the ever escalating War on Citizens by Police.

    It is not the public that is arming itself to the teeth with surplus military gear.

    The very real war against citizens is caused by the legally sanctioned Wars on Drugs and Terrorism - both of which target citizens as the primary adversary.

    While the TV and movie industries depict their Cop Heroes wielding war toys against the Drug Cartels and Terrorist Cells and Nations, the reality is far less romantic, since the only people Cops actually assault are Drug Users and Sellers and all of the angry anti-US-government speakers/writers - known now as the radical-izers of children.

    Once the Police got the go ahead to target citizens for Drug Use or Terrorist Speech, the trend towards all out war on the public was set in stone.

    Until these legalized Wars against Citizens are ended, citizens will remain the target of Cop Soldiers and the number of citizen killings will rise while the number of Cops killed in Action will decline as the cops get better and better war toys to play with. Using the Police to wage war on Citizens is pretty much standard operational procedure for any successful fascist take-over by a nation's billionaires.

    Social engineering by Hollywood and TV has given the Fascists the perfect tool to create public rationale for waging this very real war on Citizens. And the now legalized Wars on Citizens via drugs and terrorism, is the perfect tool to increase public acceptance of the billionaire fascist overseers' tactics and allows them to eliminate public interference with their destructive agenda, legally. After all, who does not want the bad guys stopped. Hollywood has simply painted a bulls-eye on civilians and a White hat on the Fascists and their Police Army.

    Fascism is often called a Police State for a very good reason.

    Coffee is brewing.
    Its time to inhale.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Apr 2019 @ 11:34am

      Hollywood

      Curiously, the notoriously corrupt GPD in Gotham exhibits more honorable, public-conscious behavior than any of the precincts that make the news IRL.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Apr 2019 @ 5:47am

        Re: Hollywood

        "Curiously, the notoriously corrupt GPD in Gotham exhibits more honorable, public-conscious behavior than any of the precincts that make the news IRL."

        Yes, but that's because Batman operates in a world where the cinematic narrative demands most police officers are good and the odd corrupt cop can be identified by highly visible moustache-twirling sociopathic behavior no one else clues in to for some odd reason.

        In the real world cops who are on the take, bigoted, or otherwise looking for an excuse to abuse the power of their badge, might be around 1 in 10 in some really bad precincts and that is disastrous as one bad cop with police power can ruin the good deeds of a hundred other police officers just doing their job.

        But the real problem is this - that no matter how badly that cop acts his fellow colleagues will have his back. To the point where if a bad cop murders someone in front of his colleagues they will back him up no matter what. Because squealing to internal affairs will be considered worse by far than any mere murder.

        There is no "War on cops". Yet. The US police is busy developing and nurturing one though.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          selfdo59 (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 10:24am

          Re: Batman and the Gotham PD

          Most of the Gotham PD are Chief Gordon's "mooks", and simply guys doing their job. As for "bad" cops, yes, a few rogues are often showcased, but the writers haven't made it all "black-and-white", pun intended. Look no further than the character of Detective Harvey Bullock, whom is dedicated to his profession and hard-working...but also prone to "bending the rules" and unleashing gratuitous violence on perps or whomever he disapproves of...including the Bat!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2019 @ 1:01pm

    Its been a politicized ploy to turn our once great country into a police state. Kinder Gentler nation just meant put as many people with scary tempers behind bars as they can. Don't let a man speak his mind or do what a man has to do. Arrest them and punish them before they even commit a crime for fear they will. That nonsense is in fact in force being doled out through computer analytics. Higher and longer sentences ensures the paipd privatized jailers have no worries of going belly up. The UN gets its small arms ban agenda moving forward nicely. Its the takeover of the free world starting with America.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mayson Lancaster (profile), 27 Apr 2019 @ 11:19pm

    I wonder what the statistics on cop suicide and alcoholism would show over the same period?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2019 @ 4:47am

    BS

    Safer? Criminals have guns, the police arrest criminals. That alone makes it dangerous enough. The police are also not just looking out for themselves, they are also looking out for the public in these situations. Become a cop and see how fast your tune changes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TonyLurker, 29 Apr 2019 @ 6:32am

      Re: BS

      Looking out for the public? That's a good one. These cowards shoot: puppies, people facing the other direction, people following their confusing contradictory "orders", etc.. They are utterly unrepentant when they raid the wrong house and often go to great lengths to trash a residence they are raiding. They engage in armed raids based on fraudulent or incompetently unverified "evidence (usually the claims of a CI). They deliberately mistreat those in their custody. They don't care about the people they hurt through their negligence and they don't care about the constitutional rights of those they claim to be protecting. So, I'm having a hard time believing they give a damn about the public.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TonyLurker, 29 Apr 2019 @ 6:34am

      Re: BS

      Oh, and I forgot to mention that they almost always defend their fellow officers when they are caught acting like thugs, being incompetent, or acting corruptly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 16 May 2019 @ 11:07am

      Criminals with guns

      While I'd believe that if most of the cop deaths came from eating a bullet while engaging gang-ops and organized crime, that simply isn't the case.

      And if the 1000-per-year officer-involved killings were actual gangsters with guns, then maybe I'd buy into it. But that's not what's happening either.

      Oh, and if the precincts were reporting to the FBI and the FBI posting at the BJS all the officer-involved shootings, rather than non-profits and news agencies having to research the coroner reports to build the databases, then I'd think maybe the precincts don't really have anything to hide. But despite a congressional mandate for all these shootings to be reported through the BJS, they haven't been doing so since the mid 20th century.

      No, rather criminals with guns weren't a problem even in the wild west, let alone today. It's only a problem when dealing with mobs and gangs, which accounts for only a small percentage of officer deaths or officer-involved killings. It also only accounts for a tiny number of our 50,000+ per year SWAT raids.

      So, no. I call bullshit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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