Opinions

‘Human nature’ is no excuse for corruption in police force

Humanity has always had one moral issue: as human beings, it is fundamentally impossible to consistently act in an absolutely moral way. So how ― in a culture where criminal activity is the norm ― are we to turn away from developing into criminals ourselves, even though we are surrounded by them? The answer lies with our leading representatives in the criminal justice field. The police are present to exhibit role model-like behavior for admirable, honorable and well-contributing actors in our society, and most of the time, police officers demonstrate just that, but that would make for a dull newspaper article.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Bell City Police Department has turned ticketing citizens ― as well as issuing other citations ― into a game. Great. This message advises officers to stop more vehicles on the road. Apparently, a memo titled the Bell Police Department Baseball Game allocates points based on “singles,” “doubles,” “triples” and “home runs” to traffic violations, depending upon how severe the infraction was. Referring to the article, “Non-performers are sent for minor league rehab stint.” This memo specifically explains some sort of “game” for the police to vie to allot tickets, seize vehicles and make arrests, so you can recognize where this describes a less than admirable, honorable and well-contributing actor in our society to look up to. The article continues on to explain that the United States Department of Justice is currently exploring the case to examine if the Bell officers infringed upon the civil liberties of the civilians.

The article also notes that this is not the first incident Bell Police Department has been accused of. Last summer, inhabitants of Bell claimed that the police “improperly towed cars and fined drivers and charged them exorbitant impound fees in an effort to boost city revenue.”

 

Police officers use discretion in their line of work, meaning they can essentially use whatever judgment they choose in a given situation. Let’s face it, this has not been the first time we have seen the police force do less than uphold its praiseworthy, respectable reputation. We all remember the Rodney King incident, in which the Los Angeles Police Department racially targeted King and brutally beat him. Unfortunately, there are many accounts based on police misconduct because human beings are not untainted entities. It’s not OK for police officers to act in this corrupt manner, but this offers an explanation as to why the public holds a negative view of the police.

Luckily, I have not personally experienced this transgression. So take what you will from this, all I know is I’m not venturing to Bell City any time soon.

 

Rebecca Eisenberg is a junior philosophy major and a contributing writer for the Daily 49er.

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