Fuck Tha Police (or not).

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Thesh
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Thesh » Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:39 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Thesh wrote:Cost, for one. One large organization is cheaper to run than thousands of small organizations.

Out of curiosity, do you have a citation for that. I can't imagine that is universally true.


No, and you might be right, it might not be universally true. However, I do believe it to be true for something like the police. While additional positions will be created for the hierarchy, a lot will be made redundant and gotten rid of. The police also make a lot of purchases: firearms, uniforms, vehicles, ammunition. It's almost always cheaper to buy in larger quantities (and never more expensive).
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:47 pm UTC

I'd be really surprised if purchasing of firearms and ammunition was a police forces greatest expenditure. My guess, and I could be wrong about this, is that salaries are the most expensive expenditure.

Personally, based on nothing but conversations I've had with economics and business majors, I wager there's no hard and fast trend for size of a company and efficiency of it's management. I'm sure there are small companies that are extremely in/efficient, and I'm sure there are enormous corporations that are the same.
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Thesh » Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

Here's some anecdotal evidence:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angele ... Department

Annual budget $1.4 billion


With 10,000 officers, they spend around $140,000 per officer.

My city's budget:

http://www.simivalley.org/Modules/ShowD ... entid=4863

Our 2011-2012 budget is 28 million, and we have 121 Officers.

So we end up spending $230,000 per officer ($90,000 more per officer than the LAPD). Now, what are the salary differences? No clue. But I highly doubt it is that large.

EDIT: Also adding the NYPD for comparison:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_C ... Department

$3.9 billion budget, 36,000 officers, $108,333 per officer.
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:17 am UTC

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=72313

A potential source of information I guess. An example of where cops screwed up, and a federal agency stepped in to prosecute the cops. I'm unsure on its relevance to this topic (it won't answer how regularly the DoJ steps in...) but it may have some information thats useful.

I always hear about "investigations" into my local police force, but I never understood who takes charge of these investigations. If its local or if its handled by the Feds...

Thesh wrote:Here's some anecdotal evidence:


Just be careful with that. NYPD and LAPD may require more police officers (due to population density), and are willing to sacrifice the quality of a cop for a larger number of cops. Wages can be a big part of the picture, especially if one police department requires a college degree, while another does not.

I don't know the details, but the analysis is incomplete without knowing the minimum qualifications of these police forces.
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Thesh » Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:22 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Just be careful with that. NYPD and LAPD may require more police officers (due to population density), and are willing to sacrifice the quality of a cop for a larger number of cops. Wages can be a big part of the picture, especially if one police department requires a college degree, while another does not.

I don't know the details, but the analysis is incomplete without knowing the minimum qualifications of these police forces.


It is wages, but where a third of my city's police force is support personnel, only 25% of the LAPD's police force is support personnel. The number of support staff shouldn't for any reason grow directly proportional to the police force, but instead should grow at a slower rate. Average wages for police officers themselves are somewhere around $50,000 a year, hardly enough to make up that $90,000 gap. Also, things like health insurance costs go down (per person) for a large organization because that's just the way group insurance works (even if they are grouped in with the city, it's not that many people).
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Arrian » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:24 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:It is wages, but where a third of my city's police force is support personnel, only 25% of the LAPD's police force is support personnel. The number of support staff shouldn't for any reason grow directly proportional to the police force, but instead should grow at a slower rate. Average wages for police officers themselves are somewhere around $50,000 a year, hardly enough to make up that $90,000 gap. Also, things like health insurance costs go down (per person) for a large organization because that's just the way group insurance works (even if they are grouped in with the city, it's not that many people).


Assuming the NYPD's average employee makes the national average for police officers (not sergeants or lieutenants or secretaries), spending $108,000 is amazingly low. Wages are only wages, once you add in medical, pension, and taxes you're looking at an additional 50-100% of the cost of wages that employers have to pay per worker. So if the average police officer costs NY $75,000, that leaves the department only $33,000 per employee for everything else like cars, gas, buildings, electricity, training, etc. (In fact, it's seems so low that I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the fixed assets like buildings are covered by the city's budget, not the police's.)

Are you sure that "The number of support staff shouldn't for any reason grow directly proportional to the police force"? Wouldn't that imply that firms would naturally trend towards monopoly and we'd only have two or three companies in the whole economy (or world?) Then again, there aren't just economies of scale, there are also diseconomies of scale causing organizations to become less efficient as they grow larger. Beyond the minimum efficient scale, you cannot assume that efficiency will increase with size, that depends entirely on the nature of the production function. In other words, yeah Maybury would do better by firing Andy Griffith and joining the other towns in the county and have the sheriff provide police services, but that says absolutely nothing about the NYPD's level of efficiency, or even Dayton, OH's.

Furthermore, efficiencies in private firms are driven by competitive pressures: When Delta and Northwestern merged, they did so because, for example, they were both sending a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta that was 50% full every day. By merging, they could get rid of an entire airplane and flight crew while serving the same number of customers. I'm not seeing the same incentives in the public sector, though. If Baltimore and DC were to combine their police forces and gained enough efficiency to lay off 1,000 support staff, do you think that would be politically tenable? I think police forces tend to behave more like public schools than private, for profit industries; optimizing on something other than production efficiency.

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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:54 pm UTC

A centralized Bureaucracy can deal with the diseconomies of scale by simply splitting itself up. Ex: ATF vs FBI both cover law enforcement. But I guess its more efficient to create two different agencies that focus on (slightly) different tasks. Decentralized Bureaucracies (ie: 50-different State-wide agencies all accomplishing the same goal) cannot deal with the economies of scale by combining.

Inefficiencies in bureaucracies are supposed to be driven by tax increases. IE: If the agencies require more money, politicians tell them to "shove it" because no sane politician wants to be the guy who proposes tax increases. But the past few decades ignored this by just building up the public debt to $15 trillion. Well, I guess we're forced to be sane again as a country... but its gonna hurt.


Thesh wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
Just be careful with that. NYPD and LAPD may require more police officers (due to population density), and are willing to sacrifice the quality of a cop for a larger number of cops. Wages can be a big part of the picture, especially if one police department requires a college degree, while another does not.

I don't know the details, but the analysis is incomplete without knowing the minimum qualifications of these police forces.


It is wages, but where a third of my city's police force is support personnel, only 25% of the LAPD's police force is support personnel. The number of support staff shouldn't for any reason grow directly proportional to the police force, but instead should grow at a slower rate. Average wages for police officers themselves are somewhere around $50,000 a year, hardly enough to make up that $90,000 gap. Also, things like health insurance costs go down (per person) for a large organization because that's just the way group insurance works (even if they are grouped in with the city, it's not that many people).


This seems to support my argument.

With such a difference in police force makeup (33% support staff vs 25% support staff), I don't think you can make an apples-to-apples comparison between your county and NYPD. This doesn't go into any other kinds of issues, like how many specialists. How many SWAT teams? (I'd hope that the number of SWAT squads required for a city didn't grow linearly...)

Ultimately, while I agree with your point, I disagree with your evidence. At least, in its current form. More information would be required to make a fair comparison IMO.
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby stevey_frac » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:41 am UTC

Getting back to the topic.

I think we need to start convincing better people to be cops somehow. Too many cops are assholes. I'm not entirely sure how we do that. Perhaps others will have thoughts there.

The other thing we need to do is universally increase transparency. Release video from cruisers into the public domain after a year, if it isn't relevant to a case. Create an anonymous system where the public can report aggressive and/or bad behaviour to a civilian oversight board. We need to start managing the cops as an organization that works for us, against criminals, instead of the current brigade of government hired thugs.

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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Lucrece » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:32 am UTC

The change needs to be a cultural one. The nature of the status of the position needs to change in people's eyes so that different people start gravitating toward it.

Also, education and pay. $50,000/year and nice benefits is still marginal for the requirements of the job. Why bother taking a life-risking position involving lots on unpleasantness, social pressure, when you could take teaching and receive a similar salary or better and far better schedules not subject to emergency calls?

Many other countries elevate police-work beyond the blue collar image. I could go to several countries in Europe where policemen would require far stricter educational standards and on top of that physical requirements. In the meantime, I can't count for you how many ridiculously overweight, out of shape cops I've run into Miami, FL. They lower the standards and the people you meet are the ones who went on the "Hmmm, I don't really like school, so I'm just cutting my studies short and joining the police academy."

It's a problem because I can see where unnecessary studies might just be a bad arbitrary barrier to entry, but as a trade-off you're attracting people with the wrong mindset.

In one of the prayer groups my mother would attend, an ex-cop would talk about how he had anger management problems and would be told by his superior to get counseling. And yet he got to stay in the force despite obvious issues. How can you have someone with anger problems handling someone else's fate?
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby flippant » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:50 am UTC

None of you seem to know any police officers personally.
About every third or fourth post on this thread someone comes close to the issue with excessive police violence but instead of tackling all those who come close I will quote this one and deal with the issue.
stevey_frac wrote:Getting back to the topic.

I think we need to start convincing better people to be cops somehow. Too many cops are assholes. I'm not entirely sure how we do that. Perhaps others will have thoughts there.


Here's how to do that, triple the salary of every police officer and double the size of the support staff to include a large section of mandatory counselor for the PTSD that every officer suffers from.

Our quality of law enforcement is budget driven on the local and national level and the quality of officers is dependent on the specific jobs they are detailed to do. On the local level, a police officer deals daily with drug dealers, drunken assholes, scofflaws (speeders/petty thieves), child molesters, drug addicts, the mentally disturbed(from crazed & confused to violent psychopaths), the indigent, the domestic violence asshole (also drunken much of the time), angry neighbors, car accidents, fires, and all that can be in the first half of a working shift. The very first thing they have to think about in all these situations is safety. For themselves and for the people they are interacting with. This forces them to aggressively take control of any situation they are called on to deal with because it's very easy to say in hindsight that an officer shouldn't have acted this way or that because who they were dealing with was harmless but when an officer shows up to a scene he/she know nothing but expects the worst because that's their job, to show up to the worst places/situations and deal with it. Certain behaviors send warning signs to officers that they are dealing with dangerous individuals and officers have to deal with them in similar manner whether the persons intent is to cause them harm or not. Do you think cops wear helmets, kevlar, and carry guns, batons and pepper spray because they're fun? No, they carry them because unexpectedly on occasion they need them to protect themselves and others.

You don't want to be hassled by a cop? here's what you do: speak slowly and calmly when the officer asks you questions, keep your hands out of your pockets in plane sight, move slowly, follow the officers instructions, be patient and wait your turn to air your grievance of the moment. if you fail to do one of these things you send danger signals to the officer and they will escalate their aggressiveness until that are satisfied that they are safe. Most people don't have to deal with those who might randomly pull out a knife, gun, screwdriver, needle and stick/shoot them. Police do.

Having people who do not understand this criticize them after the fact because of a video that points only in one direction does them a disservice since they are dealing with a 3D environment that also takes in what people may be doing behind them, traffic, and other "out of camera" factors. People who stand still and talk calmly and do what an officer asks of them almost never get into physical altercations with police. The police don't randomly beat innocent cooperative bystanders. But you say, here's my anecdotal evidence (place link here) about how abusive police are. Take the amount of work all the police officers are doing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including all holidays etc and you will find this unnecessary violence by certain individual police officers falls to much much less than 1% of officer activity.
The other thing we need to do is universally increase transparency. Release video from cruisers into the public domain after a year, if it isn't relevant to a case. Create an anonymous system where the public can report aggressive and/or bad behaviour to a civilian oversight board. We need to start managing the cops as an organization that works for us, against criminals, instead of the current brigade of government hired thugs.
Are there some police that abuse their power, sure, there are "criminal" individuals involved in every human endeavor, and the police have methods and procedures in place to police the police. Sometimes random bystander video is part of the evidence, but mostly by the time court comes about, law enforcement experts eliminate behavior that most think is "thuggish" as an officer just doing their job.


My sister was a police officer, she quit the job after less than a year. She is a nice person and joined the force to help people. She got tired of trying to help people who hated her on sight for no other reason than she was there and she was wearing a badge. Those who can't deal with 99 percent of the people they're dealing with all day long hating them sometimes move on to less intensive positions in the police department, but if you want to move up the ranks to the investigative branches etc, the police departments require you to spend usually a minimum of two years dealing with the front line issues that the uniformed ranks deal with and for good reason, because in emergency situations even the 'suits' have to help the uniforms out and they need to know how to deal with the "general public".


So now you take one of these urban combat veterans who have honed their instincts and reflexes to deal with their daily environment of robbers, crazed drug addicts and wife beaters and you ask them to police a public protest march of some sort. Their job is now to try to make sure that the protest doesn't get "out of hand" and burn down the city, but at the same time they are supposed to ignore people who are shouting and rude and being aggressive when every fiber of their training says these people are a cause of danger to themselves and their fellow officers. They are expected to let the general public verbally abuse them and call them names like "pig" and ignore shouting and stick waving etc when under normal circumstances they would tell the person to shut up, stop shouting and put the weapon down. This is obviously a recipe for disaster and it's amazing that more acts of police "thuggery" aren't prevalent in "protest" situations.

Does the police force attract assholes who like to boss people around? Sure it does, that's the goddamn job. Boss assholes around and occasionally arrest them and give help and succor the victims of those same assholes.

Oh, and one other thing, when you're not dealing with the dregs and rejects of the general public, you're doing nothing, completely bored out of your skull almost wishing that something would happen to relieve the boredom.

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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Enokh » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:50 pm UTC

The one thing that's always blown my mind (or at least confused me a bit) is that I run in to so many people who insist that every cop that's pulled them over is a giant asshole. Whereas my experience is just the opposite: I've never had a cop act like a dick to me, and by the time they're handing me a ticket we're being rather friendly towards one another. That's not to say that I don't think that there's dickish, or even downright shitty, cops, I just can't wrap my head around the percentages that people apparently believe. In addition, the few times I've been in the car when one of my cop-hating friends gets pulled over, they're ALWAYS hyper-defensive and pretty much itching to start a fight.

Which I guess is another thing: how in the HELL do people get upset for getting caught doing something illegal?

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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:51 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:Which I guess is another thing: how in the HELL do people get upset for getting caught doing something illegal?


With a lot of people, they aren't so much pissed that they're caught, they are pissed that what they are doing is illegal.
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Enokh » Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:00 pm UTC

I suppose that I should have been a little more specific. Mostly it's those who willingly and knowingly break the law (being angry at the law does not equal being angry at the police officer), or the ones who go "I've had an out of date inspection sticker for MONTHS, and NOW they decide to give me a ticket, this is BS" type situations. They're rare (in my experience), but it's still flabbergasting. Hell, all of my tickets have been over expired inspection stickers, or me forgetting about renewing my tags.

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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby xkcdReader5 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:10 am UTC

Hello All,
Believe it or not, I'm a cop (and avid xkcd reader). I'm not going to go into the specifics of my personal experiences (our Internal Affairs unit can't ever seem to catch any of the real crooks on our job but goes after "unauthorized press releases" like no other). With that, here's my 2 cents:

1. Unfortunately the public has NO idea how hard the job of being a police officer is (it least in a major city). We need to have better education of the public. The regular dangers that we face definitely change the way we view (and deal with) people and since the dangers are not going away, a more understanding by the citizenry would go a LONG way. Re-read flippants comments above, they are spot on.

2. Technology will definitely assist in policing but there are numerous obstacles. In one case, lets look at audio recordings. If every police office had an audio recording of their whole tour it would be a net positive for both the police and citizens. I believe it would increase our conviction rate and help exonerate police officers in the vast majority of complaints of abuse (exessive force etc) and in the cases where it substantiates it - Good for that as well, there are some bad apples there too. Some problems with 'simple' audio recording include :
- money (or lack therof),
- legal ramifications (everything would have to be saved and routinely pulled as its all considered pertinent to cases (this is called Rosario material in NY, other states have other names).
- logistics (see above)
- the unions are extremely against it (for a variety of reasons - some valid)
On the technology note, please keep in mind that many police departments are behind the times tech wise - to be clear what I mean by this is
1. Typewriters are an integral part of the deparments day to day operations still in some places.
2. The backbone of the 911 system is running on a mainframe that was built in the 60's - literally.


I'll share some more, when I have the time. Sorry for the incoherence.

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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Zcorp » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:00 am UTC

Enokh wrote:I suppose that I should have been a little more specific. Mostly it's those who willingly and knowingly break the law (being angry at the law does not equal being angry at the police officer), or the ones who go "I've had an out of date inspection sticker for MONTHS, and NOW they decide to give me a ticket, this is BS" type situations. They're rare (in my experience), but it's still flabbergasting. Hell, all of my tickets have been over expired inspection stickers, or me forgetting about renewing my tags.


Being 'angry' at the law often does equate to being angry at the person enforcing it. Especially when it comes to laws that are directly opposed to the purpose of peace and safety officers. It is quite hard to respect an individual who up holds laws, or enforces them in ways, that are destructive to individuals and society.

Reader5, what position do you hold within the police force?

While officers and systems being old is a reality the non-adaptive nature of these agencies and many U.S. government agencies is still a very valid criticism.

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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:04 pm UTC

I guess I should note that most of my anecdotal experience with Cops personally is them pulling me over and saying that my rear break lights are broken. So I personally haven't had any trouble with Police, and none of my friends have either.

But with the amount of news on Police these days, you'd think that there is a problem. Perhaps its a Public Relations problem?
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Adam Preston » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:27 am UTC

I believe that the police are not valued as much as they should, in riots for example police aren't allowed to attack rioters, because of " Human Rights" where are the police's human rights? I believe the police should be able to defend themselves without question and get the job done. The Police aren't the people with a problem, the people who say "fuck da police" are the ones with a problem as they probablly have illegal actions to do with drugs, or acts of criminality which then I would glady aid the police in raiding their house and arresting them. So please, don't undervalue the police, because if we were all apes only the largest of males would live as they would kill smaller ones. Therefore you most probablly would be dead without help.
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Re: Fuck Tha Police (or not).

Postby Qaanol » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:34 am UTC

Adam Preston wrote:I believe that the police are not valued as much as they should, in riots for example police aren't allowed to attack rioters, because of " Human Rights" where are the police's human rights? I believe the police should be able to defend themselves without question and get the job done. The Police aren't the people with a problem, the people who say "fuck da police" are the ones with a problem as they probablly have illegal actions to do with drugs, or acts of criminality which then I would glady aid the police in raiding their house and arresting them. So please, don't undervalue the police, because if we were all apes only the largest of males would live as they would kill smaller ones. Therefore you most probablly would be dead without help.

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