Poll: Could Private Security And/or Private Investigators Replace Police Officers?
Citizens Cannot Turn The Police Away If They Are Unhappy With Their Services
Security Expert Says, “Confidence In Local Police Depts. Reaches A 20yr. Low”
Ronald Reagan famously stated, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” But should we apply such thinking to the police? The answer depends on whom we ask. Many liberals who otherwise defend every government program and unionized job believe that the police are increasingly abusing their power.
Many conservatives who otherwise complain about unaccountable government officials consider the police department beyond reproach and say that any form of de-policing will make America less safe. Crime has decreased significantly in the past two decades, and many attribute that outcome to the proactive “broken windows” policing first advocated by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in a 1982 article. The theory goes that arresting offenders for minor crimes like loitering or drinking in public leads to a mien of order that in turn discourages major crimes. Citizens will be better off with, and thus prefer, police playing an active role in the community.
Surveys today, though, show citizen confidence in the police at its lowest point in 20 years. It has dropped among Americans of all ages, education levels, incomes and races, with the decreases particularly pronounced among the young and minorities.
There are firms (a market) from which the government contracts out police work (e.g. the 1975–1977 Oro Valley, Arizona-Rural/Metro contract, the 1980 Reminderville, Ohio-Corporate Security contract, the 1976 Indian Springs, Florida-Guardsmark contract, and the 1976 Buffalo Creek, West Virginia-Guardsmark contract), or they can be officers who contract with various firms to patrol the area, as in the case of the San Francisco Patrol Specials. A specific type of private police is company police, such as the specialized railroad police or mall security. Also, private police were in used in the Kalamazoo, Michigan-Charles Services contract, which lasted 3½ years. Private police services are sometimes called “Subscription-Based Patrol.”