Protect Police By Reforming Traffic Enforcement
Every day, around a million American police officers courageously strap on their vests, load their guns, put on their uniforms and badges, and set out to protect their fellow Americans all day long. They do this despite knowing all too well how dangerous it is to work as a police officer, especially in the current climate. Personal friends who are cops have told me how gratifying it is to know that they are helping and protecting people every day. Brave officers protect people from criminals, make sure that they're driving safely, and help citizens in so many other ways, despite rarely receiving gratitude. Despite all of the noble work they do, police seem to be facing an increasing amount of resistance and even hatred from many sides - liberals, conservatives, libertarians, minorities, daughters, motorists, children, women, and many more groups have begun to lose faith in police over the past decade. As pointed out by many city officials and police officers, the less the citizenry trusts the police, the more difficult police investigations will be, since people will be less inclined to speak and cooperate with the officer.
Unfortunately for police officers, a large number of city officials force cops to collect an ever increasing sum of money. This revenue is collected largely by administering tickets to drivers who engage in behavior that politicians abruptly decide to criminalize. In addition to ticket quotas, cops also have arrest quotas. This means that they are expected to arrest a certain number of people each month. Failing to meet this expectation has consequences. Therefore, if the citizenry does obey every law, cops are coerced into arresting people for petty crimes or escalating routine traffic stops in order to justify an arrest or ticket, depending on which one they need to fulfill their ‘activity math’. This is beyond unfair to our protectors. It's downright criminal!
In response to the increasing number of car stops that we’ve seen over the past few decades and the ridiculous acts that have been criminalized, many patriots have grown to resent local cops. People who hate or fear police are more hesitant to pull over and are generally less compliant during traffic stops. Additionally, if a person who hates police happens to be armed or a trained fighter, is the cop better off pulling him over for a tail-light issue and being killed, or letting the petty crime go and returning home to his wife and children at the end of his shift? There are many other ways that cops could be killed during traffic stops in addition to angry drivers and violent criminals. If a an armed man is evil and a traffic stop pushes him to the point of losing control and killing the cop and going on a rampage, isn't the cop who pulled him over for a bogus reason somewhat responsible? Cops could be killed by other cars running them over while they are on the side of a highway conducting a traffic stop. Cops could also be killed and could also kill many others - over five thousand already - during car chases. Police car chases are another extremely dangerous and futile practice that police are instructed to do in the event that someone does not pull over. If the whole point of a traffic stop is to protect people, many traffic stops are futile because they increase the amount of danger present in the community (what’s more dangerous, one speeder or two speeding cars aggressively trying to run each other off the road?)
I tend to consider every issue in the context of risk/reward or cost/benefit. So, let’s consider how many people are saved from death because cops are forced to pull them over for ridiculous violations like a brake light being broken or failing to wear a seat belt. I don’t think that number is very high. The safety issue was proven to be irrelevant to American legislators and law enforcement officials when they began making cops ride motorcycles while on duty (pretty much the most dangerous activity one can engage in, if you ask paramedics or trauma surgeons) over 100 years ago. Making cops use their motorcycles to pull someone over for a seat belt violation is the equivalent to politicians saying that no citizen needs a firearm while protecting themselves with firearms. If government honestly cared to increase traffic safety, they need only mandate that all school buses have seat belts and that they be used. Quite frankly, it seems to be a mockery of how similar the citizenry is to sheep.
In addition to killing many innocent police officers and motorists, traffic stops cost Americans somewhere between $3.75 and $7.5 billion annually. Imagine how much more (school/health care/food/housing) we could afford if that money were returned to us! And imagine how many brave and kind police officers could still be alive with their families today if not for being instructed to pull their neighbors over for ridiculous traffic violations! It is important to understand that the primary purpose of policing has become more about control and revenue than about crimes and safety. If you want to stop innocent children from losing their parents forever due to them being killed in the line of futile duty or as the result of avoidable traffic enforcement, please help us reform law enforcement in a manner that protects life and liberty!