Why should policemen have to meet a certain quota for arrests and traffic stops?
Not only is it fundamentally counterproductive for the purpose of “protect and defend,” it’s counterproductive to the balance of the community. It creates an “us versus them” kind of culture.
Quotas are about generating revenue, not keeping peace
For the sake of cash, we are producing a society of lives broken by incarceration. We’ve gone so bat shit crazy, we’re charging teenagers with felonies for pranks we used to get a slap on the wrist for.
All in the name of meeting a quota with a little “tough on crime” thrown in there for good political sake.
So we put these policemen on the front line and charge them with the responsibility to arrest a certain number of people every shift. Under that kind of pressure, some officers feel forced to profile people to “find” trouble, frequent certain vulnerable neighborhoods, or go out on a limb for “probable cause” to make those arrests.
Their jobs depend on it.
And who gets locked up? Mentally ill, people of color, intellectually challenged, the autistic, those with the illness of addiction, young male adults, and those who can least afford it. Those who are mentally ill or autistic are targeted because they act differently and often attract suspicion.
Quotas tend to make younger cops very competitive and lose sight of the fact they deal with people and their lives. For example, they might pull people over for rolling stops for the real purpose of getting a drug bust so they can feel like they’ve made a conquest.
A younger cop’s ambition in this scenario can result in a situation that escalates and gets way out of hand. We experienced this and it was the catalyst that started a downward spiral for Charles that ended in his suicide. I am not pinning blame on the police force for my son’s death but it was certainly in the mix of why he lost hope in the end.
Quotas have lead to police becoming victims
By making the police meet quotas, we have made them targets for angry citizens who see them as the enemy.
You could argue they’ve become pawns in a judicial game that has become deadly.
We’ve not stopped the hemorrhaging of this broken system because it’s part of our economy now–bail bondsmen, guards, lawyers, judges, clerks so on and so forth.
Decriminalizing small possession of drugs for those over 21 for example, would collapse a whole system that people depend on to make money. Lots of it. Counties depend on the income generated to fund whatever they fund.
In an economy so tied to job creation, threatening this tightly woven web of money-making is unacceptable to those with the power. Quotas mean more people suffer the loss of employment by having to go to jail, more families lose a loved one to suicide in jail and more young adults lose future job prospects due to a possession charge at 19.
Is this for the greater good? Is it making us safer?
People are lashing out at the low hanging fruit–that’s the guys on the front line they can see. The ones cashing in most on the system are not the first responders.
I think that is why we are hearing about more deaths for simple traffic stops. More bullets being sprayed at those sworn to maintain order.
The sheer fact that so many wives and husbands of officers are now widows and kids left are left without a parent makes me ache. All that grief. And I do believe that the broken system plays a big part in this rash of violence against the police.
We’ve also made policemen execute the “war on drugs,” a war they’ll tell you is a dismal failure.
The people who are on the front lines seeing more kids overdose and kill themselves than ever are now getting targeted in a firestorm of hate. And they aren’t the only ones showing implicit bias but are the products of a society that does.
Emptier jails and empty courtrooms might be what normal people think is for the greater good. But will those making money off the judicial system agree? From what I have seen, empty jails seem to mean we need to fill them back up. Or build more!
Are we really that much less law abiding?
We need to make the change. Eliminate quotas because it has no business in police work and breaks down the fabric of our economy by creating more families in poverty.