the thin blue line's broken windows

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Slate's Rob Gunther wants cops to apply broken-windows policing to their own behavior. A good place to start would be the cards distributed by New York City's police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association:

Each year, cops get a stack of these "get out of jail free" cards to give out to family and friends. If you get pulled over for speeding and flash one of these cards, the cop who flagged you down will likely let you go with a warning instead of a ticket.

The Post story quoted an unnamed "NYPD cop who retired on disability" who was extremely perturbed by the fact that PBA President Patrick Lynch had cut back the outlay from 30 to 20 cards each for current police officers and from 20 to 10 for retirees. "They are treating active members like shit, and retired members even worse than shit," this anonymous officer said.

While police officers can't believe that they're getting treated so shabbily, the bigger scandal is that they get any special treatment at all. Maybe it's naŃ—ve to believe in justice wearing a blindfold, but the boldness of institutionalizing a leniency policy via an official card makes a mockery of the notion that police try to operate on a level playing field.

Gunther continues, "it's time to start holding police accountable for minor offenses. Think of it as turning "broken windows" policing around on the police:"

If the police are determined to continue advocating for a hard-line approach, perhaps it would be worthwhile to see how these ideas played out if used on police officers themselves. That would mean no more PBA cards, for starters. If it's OK for one person to get away with a speeding ticket just because she happens to know a police officer, we've already decided that a just society is more a suggestion than a rule. [...]

While it's probably unrealistic to expect favoritism among officers to go away completely, getting rid of those PBA cards would be an extremely heartening move--a step toward realizing our ideals of blind justice and a level playing field.


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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 1, 2018 2:05 PM.

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