Quit complaining: Law enforcement works perfectly

There has been plenty of discussion recently in the Mountain Xpress about the Asheville Police Department's recent changes, allegations of corruption and mismanagement. The truth is that local police forces recruit and maintain exactly whom the system will tolerate. By system, I mean the two-class system that runs the Western world.

Sit through a couple of hours in any general sessions criminal court, and watch the poorly educated and poorly funded get litigiously ground up — fodder for the system. On the rare occasion that a police officer is confronted as a witness, any boilerplate testimony given by a cop will generally suffice to get a conviction. This leads most defendants (out of fear and ignorance) to opt for plea bargains behind the scenes. They don't waste the court’s time, and the state/county/city gets its pound of flesh.

The whole law-enforcement machine keeps running, oiled with our money. And why would the system want public defenders to actually fight for their trashy clients? That dynamic would eventually teach and require cops to handle themselves in the street and in the courtroom to the letter of the law and the expectations of society — that kind of cop is going to require (and deserve) a five- or six-figure salary. Where are we going to get that money?

Quite obviously, the system doesn't want to attract, hire or retain personnel [who are] honest, hardworking and educated enough to stand up to the scrutiny of high-priced defense lawyers. This way the well heeled can play as they wish and generally escape conviction while the common folk have to follow the rules or actually pay the piper. You can check the requirements and compensation for local law-enforcement officers.

So quit complaining and don't expect too much out of law enforcement. The patrol cars and equipment are more expensive than the folks operating them. We get exactly what we pay for.

— Norman Plombe
Asheville

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11 thoughts on “Quit complaining: Law enforcement works perfectly

  1. Cosmic Ballroom

    Put and end to the society damaging War on Drugs and at least half of those poorly educated and poorly funded defendants wouldn’t be in the court system to begin with.

    Drug offenses are manufactured crimes providing the bread and butter of the courts. Get rid of those and a lot of LE corruption will disappear.

  2. Michael Parker

    I don’t know who you are, Mr. Plombe, but I admire your nerve. I also want to admire the police. They are often on dangerous front lines and have to put up with a tremendous amount of bullshit.

    So, we have good cops with common sense, bad cops, cops who see their duties as a game, others who are commanded to carry out trivial pursuits.

    We also have a tremendous number of citizens who, even the poor ones, in many of their days and situations could easily decide to not break the law.

    Your point about who is awarded greater credibility on the witness stand underscores how essential it is for cops to have full-time respect for honesty. Accuracy, absolute accuracy, and the will to not exaggerate in the least while testifying is a matter of honor and should not require higher salaries.

  3. normanplombe

    You’re really naiive about ‘honor.’ I’ve spent a lot of time in and around police officers. On more than one occasion I’ve heard them refer to it as “test-a-lie.” In my personal experience inside the courtroom, that phrase has rung true, no pun intended.

    And I’m really incredulous about “admiring” anyone who does a job for monetary compensation and benefits. If one considers the academic and experiential credentials of the average law enforcement officer, his or her options are pretty limited. Is that who we want (as a society) embodying our laws?

    Every cop should have a law degree and start at 50k a year. I’d feel better paying them high salaries than many other government employees.

  4. normanplombe

    Cosmic Ballroom: I couldn’t agree more. For one thing, legalizing drugs would IMMEDIATELY remove funding for the butchers along the Juarez boarderlands. It would also bring home the point that we’re all allowed to do what we want to our own bodies! Is there anyone in this country who avoids drugs because of a law? I think not.

  5. jo

    I think personally that if you present yourself well in court and dress well you have as good of a chance as the next guy. Being in a city, many people do uphold their presence or appearance enough for people to believe they are not going to commit crimes in the first place. A combatative attitude is usually enough to imply guilt

  6. Cosmic Ballroom

    “I think personally that if you present yourself well in court and dress well you have as good of a chance as the next guy.”

    Pipe dream.

    It’s all about money, power, influence. Which Attorney golfs with which judge and who donates to what re-election campaign or sits on what political support group. Find out who is who in the local court system, pay their fee and you’ll stand a much better chance of winning than the poor sots who think it’s all about “fairness”.

  7. normanplombe

    again, Cosmic Ballroom, you nailed it. I tried to get a dismissal of a nonsense speeding ticket in Haywood….summons had wrong courthouse and wrong home address for me. These are NOT trivial details–I’d have failed to appear if I had followed the summons….then the cops would have kicked in the wrong door to collect me on a bench warrent….. In the absence of the officer (they need not be bothered to show up at the prelim hearing) this f’d up originating document was the only evidence against me….I was in a suit, and polite and (hopefully) well-spoken…sure, they would have scheduled a trial…’cause I want to blow another day out of work… so I pled to an equipment violation (no points, no moving violation)…still feel like I wimped out of a fight.

  8. Smokey

    My most recent ticket was in Virginia. I saw a trooper pull off behind me. I wasn’t too concerned as I was only going a couple miles above the speed limit. I slowed the 2 mph as he followed me for about 2 miles before turning on his lights. When he approached the car he pointed to the speed limit sign in the distance, where it was 10mph slower. He wrote me a ticket for the speed limit I would have been in in another 200 hundred yards. Guess how I feel? When I contacted a lawyer he named the trooper and the location. I used to work in the public safety sector. I have seen LEO’s lie in court more times than I can count. It is very sad but it is far less distressing than the five corrupt Justices on the Supreme Court. The system is broken.

  9. bill smith

    The police are always right and good and questioning them means the terrorists win.

  10. normanplombe

    Virginia–I’m pretty sure you get a citation for simply entering the ‘commonwealth’ don’t you? friggin’ gestapo up there. And if they hit the lights, don’t humiliate yourself begging…you’re gettin’ the ticket.

  11. normanplombe

    …and the concept that simply moving a vehicle from point A to B in too short is a crime…a crime we have ALL been guilty of….ridiculous.

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