Fiction L
A Fake Internet Presence,
since 1994

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Civilian Cops?

Something I hadn't heard before came out on the Politech mailing list... a response to a rather bizarre case where some cops killed this families dog. One Harvey Silverglate recommended a concept of civilian police... that some decent percentage of police ranks should be filled with people of limited tenure... people who would only be cops for a term like 5 years. This would keep a certain amount of "civilian" mentality in the ranks, preventing abuses by balancing the lifers. I'm guessing the only way to do that would be by a draft or service requirement of some sort, though 5 years is pretty long. Reminds me somewhat of Heinlein's Starship Troopers, though I don't recall this being one of the arguments of the book, in fact the book made it sound more like people who went through the services came back with a fairly military point of view. And if you think I'm talking about the movie, forget it. Although I am amused by the movie, it comes off as being written/directed by people who disagreed completely with the premise of the book, and wanted to make fun of it. It's sometimes campy fun, but I would read the book to get the real story, as it were.

A lot of countries in the world today have service requirements... I'm not sure I would have been thrilled by the concept myself, since most of these strike me as "character building" and "stifling", rather than outlets for creative people who don't take direction very well. Certainly the crush them under the boot heel variety from Full Metal Jacket wouldn't be overly fun. I think my main problem with Silvergate's idea of a draft police force or draft armed forces being safer is that we know all to well the training techniques to make even part timers nearly as bad as the lifers.

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