Imagine coming home from a hard day’s work, only to find that your front door has been kicked in and your home ransacked.
You dial 9-1-1. There is a recording at the other end of the line:
“…If you are reporting a crime in progress, press 1. All other callers press 2.”
You press 2.
“If you would like to speak with a dispatcher, a fee of $2.99 per minute will be generated on your telephone service account and will appear on your next statement as “police services.” If you accept these charges, please press 1, or you can visit our website at: www.yourlocapolicedepartment.com and file a report online.”
You decide to press 2 and wait for a dispatcher.
Five minutes later, a dispatcher comes on the line and you discuss the details of your burglary. You ask for an officer to be dispatched to the scene. The dispatcher advises you that a cursory inspection—to determine if there is any forensic evidence—will run you $29.99. However, the dispatcher says that the department is running a special through the end of this week. For just $99.99, you can get a preliminary crime scene investigation, as well as two witness statements from neighbors, and the processing of up to two latent prints.
Having done an inventory of your loss, and determining that a couple of your guns and a few of your valuable family heirlooms have been pilfered, you decide to go with the full package.
Two hours later, a patrol car pulls into your driveway. Aside from the light bar, it’s hard to tell the car apart from one plucked off a NASCAR track. The vehicle is plastered with various advertisements: Army National Guard, Quaker Oats, Coca Cola and Prozac are among the many sponsors hawking their wares.
Before the officer even steps into your house, he asks, “How do you wish to pay for this?”
You present him with a VISA card. He then asks you for your driver’s license as a form of ID, then asks you to step inside the passenger’s side of his patrol car so he can process the transaction. He swipes both cards through a terminal.
On a screen, you see the $99.99 fee for the preliminary crime scene investigation followed by two more charges: one for $60.00 and another for $45 dollars.
The police officer says, “Looks like you’ve got a couple unpaid parking tickets. You’ll have to take care of that now before we go any further.”
You give him a reluctant nod and tell him, “O.K., might as well…I guess.”
The officer then asks, “Would you like to donate to the “Widows of Fallen Officer’s Fund?”
You want to say “no” but he’s giving you a hard stare.
“Yeah…yeah, why don’t you put down $5.00.”
He’s still staring at you…
“Yeah, go ahead and make it $10.00…and while you’re at it…put down 15%…make it 20% for yourself.”
Does this sound like something from a Philip K. Dick novel? Or does this sound like a reasonable prediction of how police services will be transacted in the not-so-distant future?
If you live in West Covina, California, the likelihood of all these things coming to fruition is likely to become a reality if Police Commander Paul La Commare has his way.
Recently, La Commare penned an article entitled “Generating Revenue Streams” for “Police Chiefs Magazine” encouraging other departments to adopt his dystoptian policies of austerity on the already strapped American people.
La Commare cites from the California Department of Finance’s Economic Indicators, January–February 2008 report that states:
“the current economic slowdown afflicting California and the nation is the result of a one-two punch. The first blow fell in 2005 and 2006 when real estate markets peaked and began a gradual slowdown. Late in 2006, it appeared that despite some losses, home sales and prices had stabilized. The second blow, though, fell in 2007 when the subprime lending meltdown and rising foreclosures led to the implosion of real estate mortgage markets. Residential real estate markets were jolted by rising inventories as too many homes were on the market and the number of qualified buyers, particularly those looking to move up, dwindled. Ominously, as 2007 progressed, the likelihood steadily increased that rather than just suffering through severe corrections in real estate and home construction markets, the economy might run into a full-fledged economic slowdown.”
In his article, La Commare expresses concern over the current economic downturn and predicts that most American cities will soon be forced to provide only the most basic services. He states:
Five years ago, the current state of the economy facing cities and counties was not even a concern. Now, however, many law enforcement agencies are facing the reality of severe budget cuts, reduced workforce, and the elimination or reduction of many law enforcement programs. Today, police chiefs are being asked to look for ways of economizing, increasing efficiency, eliminating redundancies, and finding revenue sources.
Some of the ideas that La Commare suggests police departments across the nation adopt are:
- city tow companies,
- fine increases by 50 percent,
- pay-per-call policing,
- vacation house check fees,
- public hours at police firing range for a fee,
- police department-run online traffic school for minor traffic infractions,
- department-based security service including home checks and monitoring of security cameras by police department,
- a designated business to clean biological crime scenes,
- state and court fees for all convicted felons returning to the community,
- allowing agency name to be used for advertisement and branding,
- triple driving-under-the-influence fines by the court,
- resident fee similar to a utility tax,
- tax or fee on all alcohol sold in the city,
- tax or fee on all ammunition sold in, the city,
- public safety fees on all new development in the city,
- 9-1-1 fee per use,
- police department website with business advertisement for support,
- selling ride-a-longs to the public, and
- police department–run firearm safety classes.
If Commander La Commare wishes to polarize police from the communities they serve, then these are great ideas. But for a responsible city government looking for ways to trim their budgets, there are far more reasonable solutions.
One idea would be to arm its citizenry. Last April, a judge in Ashtabula County, Ohio advised residents to arm themselves after the number of deputies had been cut in half due to a budget crisis. He also urged neighbors to organize anti-crime block-watch groups.
“They have to be law-abiding, and if they are not familiar with firearms they need to take a safety course so they are not a threat to their family and friends and themselves,” said Judge Alfred Mackey.
When asked—by WKYC-TV in Cleveland—how people should respond to the budget cuts and limited patrols, he said, “Arm themselves. Be very careful and just be vigilant because we’re going to have to look after each other.”
This isn’t a new idea. In fact, one town in Georgia took this suggestion one step further when it required its residents to own a firearm. In 1982, the Kennesaw City Council unanimously passed a law requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition. As a result, their crime rate dropped 89%.
Another reasonable solution is to develop or expand a police volunteer program. In the old west, this was known as a posse. Today it is known as a “Police Reserve” program. There is never any shortage of people who would volunteer their time for the opportunity to strap on a gun and badge. Many community colleges provide training and most applicants are required to purchase their own gun and uniform.
The third solution is a bit trickier. It requires municipal governments to take on the powerful police unions that are crippling some American cities. In Oakland, California, the website for the police department boasts that it pays their officers some of the highest salaries in California. The average salary and benefits package for a police officer in Oakland is $188,000.00 per year. This is absurd, especially when you consider that the average salary for a primary care physician—who on average spends 7 years in medical school— is $154,631.00 per year.
Recently, the Oakland police department released a list of 44 crimes they will no longer respond to. Looking through the list, you will notice that revenue-generating crimes will still be enforced. Drug busts often lead to asset forfeitures and traffic tickets and DUI’s generate millions in revenues from fines and court costs.
Whatever the future has in store for the law enforcement community, you can be sure that your welfare is the last thing on their list of priorities. I guess we can all say goodbye to Sheriff Andy Taylor’s Mayberry and hello to the Robo-Cop world of Detroit.
Buy a gun—you’re gonna need it!
Source: Revolt of the Plebs