So many controversial police incidents, where police are accused of being prejudiced or racist -- and here I'm thinking of the grandfather "kidnapping" his black granddaughter in the previous post, or police shooting the guy in Walmart, or the black guy in Minneapolis being hassled while waiting for his daughter, or just "swatting" in general. These incidents often happen because citizens are stupid or racist or prejudiced. And then the call police. And then the police officers get put in this horrible situation where they have to investigate the sometimes irrational suspicions of an idiot citizen. Usually it's not a matter of life or death. But there are lot of calls for youths selling drugs when they're just loitering. There are a lot of calls for an armed person, when the person is not armed.
I don't know how to avoid these problems, but they are related to the whole problem of the 911 system and reactive policing in general. Police can and do make mistakes, but based on police officer training and experience, police are much better judges of crime and danger than the average schmuck with a cell phone. And yet the information from the average schmuck with a cell phone -- then filtered through an underpaid 911 operator and then passed on to an under-appreciated police dispatcher -- is how most police-public interactions start. For the average citizen, it's too easy, too anonymous, and too without consequence to dial 911. One would think there has to be a better way. Any ideas?