Thursday, November 3, 2016

How can you trust police if they have criminal records themselves?

The Obama administration is trying to pressure law enforcement agencies to hire officers with criminal records, all in the name of 'community relations'.  Judicial Watch reports:

In a push to hire minority police officers, the Obama administration is asking the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies to forgive drug use, disregard the criminal records of candidates from “underrepresented communities” and lower standards on written and physical exams. It’s part of the administration’s Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement initiative following a string of officer-involved shootings involving African Americans. Key to the mission is the racial diversification of local law enforcement agencies so that they “better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.”

To accomplish this, several barriers must be removed ... To eliminate the largest barriers agencies are adopting a “holistic view” of applicants’ skills and strengths by, among other things, ignoring their criminal record.

. . .

To further discourage law enforcement agencies from eliminating candidates with criminal pasts, the report states that “an employer’s use of criminal background information can violate either the intentional or disparate impact provisions of Title VII, depending on how that information is used.” This refers to the section of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The argument here is that a disproportionate number of minorities will be eliminated by criminal background checks. The administration concedes that legal challenges claiming that criminal background check policies have unlawful disparate impacts “have generally not been successful in court.” Credit history checks and psychological evaluations also present “discriminatory employment barriers to women and racial minority applicants,” the report states.

. . .

Besides discounting criminal records and drug use, the administration wants law enforcement agencies to lower standards on written tests because they have “been shown to have an adverse impact on racial minority candidates.”

There's more at the link.

Having worked in a support role in law enforcement for several years, I would agree that there is discrimination in hiring in a number of law enforcement agencies around the country - but it's not what the Administration seems to think.  Rather, it's mostly reverse discrimination, in that unqualified and under-performing minority candidates for promotion are very often promoted ahead of their more deserving peers, in the name of 'undoing historical discrimination' or something like that.  There have been a number of lawsuits about it (such as this one, for example).  Political correctness appears to outweigh basic fairness and equity, all too often.

There's also the issue of public trust in law enforcement agencies and officers.  I have serious misgivings about some of them, as we've seen in these pages in the past.  Nevertheless, I accept that most of the officers I encounter are likely to be honest men and women, who are trying to enforce the law and maintain public order.  However, if some of those officers are going to be given a badge despite their criminal records, how will I know which of them I can trust?  I certainly won't trust a convicted felon to be a good cop.  That's not racist - that's common sense!

This is where the Peelian Principles of policing run head-on into the dichotomy of modern society.  The seventh Principle reads as follows:

To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

How can that be possible for an officer who is also a convicted felon?  In certain inner-city neighborhoods, where the majority of residents have participated in criminal activity to at least some extent and many have been convicted for it, such an officer may, indeed, have more 'street credibility' than one without such a background.  However, the automatic expectation of his former criminal peers will be that he turn a blind eye to their ongoing crimes.  If he doesn't, he'll be regarded as a 'snitch' and dealt with accordingly, regardless of the badge he wears.  Neither he nor his 'homies' are likely to be interested in "duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence."  That's not what the hood is all about.  Furthermore, once out of the hood, anyone from that background is going to be regarded with intense suspicion by those who do try to observe and fulfil such duties.  That has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the reality of basic security considerations.  Criminals may try to change their ways, but very few of them succeed.

I don't think these proposals stem from any great interest in law enforcement as such.  I think they're motivated by political correctness, and an inherently left-wing, progressive dislike for and distrust of law enforcement agencies.  I think they'll be disastrous for law and order if they're implemented.



Y. said...


Would our gentle host comment on the rather strange turn of events. In july, someone claiming to be an FBI whistleblower posted an AMA about Clintons, at 4chan out of all places.

It seemed, at time, like some high-effort trolling, but the latest leaks and rumors don't contradict any of the facts mentioned there.

Trimegistus said...

What on Earth makes you think liberals want effective law enforcement? That interferes with the profit-making enterprises of one of their main constituencies, organized crime. Think I'm kidding? Is it just happenstance that all the most gang-ridden corrupt cities have Democrat machine government? The Democratic Party and organized crime are Siamese twins. Making law enforcement corrupt, ineffective, and politically selective is a goal here.

Inconsiderate Bastard said...

If the fed dot gov succeeds in this in about 3 years it will be reasonable to assume that a minority person in a police uniform (or plainclothes, for that matter) will be Just Another Criminal, and due all the respect we currently bestow upon criminals. It will be a great deal more common among big city agencies, but I doubt any police agency bigger than Mayberry will be immune.

The politicians running police agencies - and they are politicians not police officers - should think long and hard about the amount and intensity of corruption they are introducing into their agencies.

So should the honest, hard working cops employed in those agencies.

Duke of URL VFM#391 said...

See the Civil Guard in Michael Z Williamson's books about the Earth in his Freehold series - THIS is how such gets established...

Roger Ritter said...

Shades of "A Clockwork Orange", as Alex meets two of his former criminal compatriots:

"A job for two who are now of job age - the Police!"

After which the two criminal cops drag him off and beat him up.

Sport Pilot said...

Curious. There's always been means of obtaining waivers through Police Officers Standards and Training Commissions for law enforcement candidates with disqualifying misdemeanor conviction histories. It's also not unheard of for certain felony convictions to be waivered.
The recruit candidate has to prove their rehabilitation or redemption to the hiring agency who in turn present this to their POST board. Not everyone who applies for a waiver gets one. A waiver's very unlikely to happen with more then one conviction on record.

DaddyBear said...

I can see some use for someone with minor incidents on their record, assuming they've turned themselves around and have an established track record of lawful living.

But a record of violence or felonies should definitely be a disqualifier.

Feather Blade said...

People in a lot of places are already convinced that half of all police would have been criminals, but they were smart enough to know that they could get away with more thuggery if they had a badge.

Now they want to hire the criminals who weren't smart enough to go law enforcement in the first place?

Judy said...

Nothing new - the Old West; some days they were the law, other days they were the crooks.

Jonathan H said...

Some of the most attention getting protests recently have been about minorities being shot in cases where most media organizations forget to mention that the officer was also a minority.
Also, I've heard of many big city police departments that are majority minority already - for example, Baltimore. It makes me wonder if these 'concerns' are meant to affect rural (and usually conservative) police departments?
Or are they more pandering to a constituency and have no relation to reality?
One wonders ...

Anonymous said...

The reform I'd like to see is making sure that military service doesn't make hiring a sure thing since an all vet. force can develop a warped culture. There's been serious discussion in my community about offering some points, for example, for fluency in foreign languages or experience in social work.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the long-winded rant below :

Starry-eyed liberals often make the mistake of assuming that other people think just like the starry-eyed do. One of the starry-eyed who had a record and then become a policeman, would do just as the article suggests, and, having honestly seen the error of their ways, would use any enhanced cred to further improve things in the hood.

This belief in the milk of human kindness crashes head-first into the reality that a criminal will shoot another criminal's mother in the face, just to send a message to their rival. The starry-eyed among us simply don't believe that such evil can exist, and are sure that a job offer will pretty much solve everything.

- Charlie

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Diversity is great, to be sure
...but NOT at the expense of selling out whatever high standards might be left in this society.