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by Peter Moskos

June 22, 2009

P.G. County Sheriff Clears Itself In Calvo Raid

Imagine that.

The Agitator pretty much sums it up.

And here's the story in the Washington Post.

The best line is: "In the sense that we kept these drugs from reaching our streets, this operation was a success." But, uh, you already had the drugs, remember? Then instead of taking them off the streets you gave them to the Calvos.

They really have no shame.


dave h. said...

This is what the drug war has done to policing. Yuck!

Of course, American policing has always had it's share of problems (there has not been a "golden age", in my opinion), but drug war tactics, and the drug war mentality, have severely degraded the profession*.

In a post drug war America, I would probably be able to refer to policing as a profession without that asterisk I just added. More officers are seeking college education and there are great possibilities. But, the growth will always be stunted by prohibition policing. Until we do away with the drug war, and national security fear-mongering, I'm afraid that law enforcement will be a place where creativity goes to die.

Marc S. said...

Big surprise, the police cleared themselves of wrongdoing. I wish I could grade my exams too.

I don't think the push towards police seeking college education or college educated people seeking police work is substantial. The current state of the economy may have some grads looking at the government sector (the only growing sector, unfortunately), but, as Peter has pointed out in the past, the structure of police departments isn't really conducive to getting educated, liberal thinkers.

Most police departments don't require anything more than an associates degree, and most allow you to defer the credit hours for things like prior employment as corrections or probation/parole officers (people who don't know how to deal with people who aren't criminals). Furthermore, there are credit deferments and preference points for military service. I consider it a major problem that someone whose background is bullying kids in the sandbox is valued as highly or more highly than someone with an education...and people wonder why incidents like the Calvo raid happen.

Very few departments require a bachelors degree and frankly, with this idea of "universal higher education" standardizing mediocrity, I'd be surprised if most of the people I graduated with can stop drooling on the paper long enough to write a cogent sentence.

Ending the drug war would be a great step, but agencies have to change archaic policies, raise standards and promote a different kind of policing to attract the more progressive, proactive types to the department.

PCM said...

Well said.

One thing that would definitely help is to pay police more. Combine that with smarter hiring practices.

Marc S. said...

certainly in some cases, increased pay is necessary to be competitive. In other places not so much. I know, for instance, State Troopers out here in PA start at $53K and have mountains of paid vacation, sick days, holidays and room for advancement. You can't make out like that anywhere in the private sector with an associates degree and it's very difficult to do with a bachelors (especially a liberal arts degree) from any state school.

If they did away with the paramilitary bullshit it might even seem like an attractive option to recent grads who weren't initially considering a career in law enforcement.