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Thread: Police Unions and Police Corruption

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Police Unions and Police Corruption

    I don't know the answer to this....

    I'm wondering if we can find out if there is a connection between those police departments with corruption problems, and/or bad officer involved shootings - and Police Unions.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    Tweeb Overlord Chaotic Void's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I don't know the answer to this....

    I'm wondering if we can find out if there is a connection between those police departments with corruption problems, and/or bad officer involved shootings - and Police Unions.
    I'd love to find out more about this myself. It's a common talking point that a lot of Police Departments are Unionized (in states were it is legal for them to partake in Collective Bargaining) and, given how unions have reputations of protecting bad workers and bullying good ones, it's often suggested that any attempts to reform the cops and hold them accountable involves putting their Unions on a Leash... if not completely de-fanging them. ETA: After all, it's counterproductive to get a cop sacked or even reprimanded for brutality if they can just whine to their Union Rep to get the punishment reversed.

    One of the starting points would probably be to compare Non-Union Police Departments to the Unionized ones and see which group has the worst record when it comes to Corruption, Brutality, and the like.

    Last edited by Chaotic Void; 05-31-2020 at 07:45 PM.
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    tWebber
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    By random coincidence, I happened to see a National Review article on the subject:
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/...ting-bad-cops/

    Much of the article's points are a bit anecdotal, but it does link to this journal article which seems to go fairly in-depth:
    https://law.stanford.edu/wp-content/...-28-1-Bies.pdf

    I haven't really read it (it's 44 pages long) so I can't attest to its quality, though. Still, it seems to be about what you're asking about.

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    By random coincidence, I happened to see a National Review article on the subject:
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/...ting-bad-cops/

    Much of the article's points are a bit anecdotal, but it does link to this journal article which seems to go fairly in-depth:
    https://law.stanford.edu/wp-content/...-28-1-Bies.pdf

    I haven't really read it (it's 44 pages long) so I can't attest to its quality, though. Still, it seems to be about what you're asking about.
    Thanks, I'll try to give it a read after lunch.

    Meanwhile, it seems to be the same situation as "bad teachers" in school. The Teachers' Union won't let you discipline or fire anybody short of them being caught raping a student or something.

    And since police, in a Union situation, pay dues, they believe they have the right to be represented and protected by their union reps. It really creates an "us vs them" atmosphere in the department.

    And, to be clear, I'm not saying this is as bad as, or worse than, the "Blue Code" which keeps officers from speaking up about bad conduct by their "brothers".
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    tWebber Whateverman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    [...] it seems to be the same situation as "bad teachers" in school. The Teachers' Union won't let you discipline or fire anybody short of them being caught raping a student or something.

    And since police, in a Union situation, pay dues, they believe they have the right to be represented and protected by their union reps. It really creates an "us vs them" atmosphere in the department.

    And, to be clear, I'm not saying this is as bad as, or worse than, the "Blue Code" which keeps officers from speaking up about bad conduct by their "brothers".
    I'm not dismissing anything you've written in this thread, but it appears you've got a beef with unions in general, and that this is the under-current for the OP.

    If so, then a search for union corruption in this case isn't really about the protection of bad cops(?) - I'm asking rather than accusing.

    ---

    That aside, it's obvious that a properly-functioning union protects dues-paying members, and that this is going to result (to one extent or another) in the protection of people who should be fired. Is that what happened with George Floyd? I don't know. I do know that most patrol officers end up with complaints on their record; I'd like to know how officer Chauvin's record compared to the records of his peers. If there's data suggesting that unionized "shops" have a greater proportion of complaints/punishments against officers, I'd like to know that too.

    Speaking only for myself, I'm weary of the phrase "a few bad apples", because it's used every single time something like this happens - and apples keep going bad. On the other hand, I know that these incidents are a tiny minority in a massive community of cops doing their difficult jobs well.

    Other than to say there should be zero-tolerance of an unreasonable use of force by police officers, I literally have no idea as to how this problem gets solved.
    Last edited by Whateverman; 06-01-2020 at 07:06 AM. Reason: Red text added for clarity

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whateverman View Post
    I'm not dismissing anything you've written in this thread, but it appears you've got a beef with unions in general, and that this is the under-current for the OP.
    I believe Unions were necessary, and served their purpose. Anymore, I think they tend to do more harm than good.

    If so, then a search for union corruption in this case isn't really about the protection of bad cops(?) - I'm asking rather than accusing.
    I can BOTH think Unions are not helpful AND think they may be more problematic than necessary in the case of Police.
    I was a police officer when members of my own force were trying to unionize. Had they been successful - MOST of us turned it down, because we had confidence in our leadership - it would have been the Teamsters Union.
    Our Mayor had been very pro-Union, but he begged the Police not to unionize, because his point was exactly that --- the 'bad cops' would be protected, for what gain?

    So, yes, I admit my bias.

    --

    That aside, it's obvious that a properly-functioning union protects dues-paying members, and that this is going to result (to one extent or another) in the protection of people who should be fired. Is that what happened with George Floyd? I don't know. I do know that most patrol officers end up with complaints on their record; I'd like to know how officer Chauvin's record compared to the records of his peers. If there's data suggesting that unionized "shops" have a greater proportion of complaints/punishments against officers, I'd like to know that too.
    Yeah, I'm looking for that, as well.

    Speaking only for myself, I'm weary of the phrase "a few bad apples", because it's used every single time something like this happens - and apples keep going bad. On the other hand, I know that these incidents are a tiny minority in a massive community of cops doing their difficult jobs well.
    You remind me of the scene in The Untouchables where Sean Connery's character wants to help Eliot Ness get some "good cops" --- and says something to the effect "if you don't want spoiled apples - you don't go to the barrel, you go to the tree".
    He then, of course, took Ness to the Police Academy to find some officers who had not yet been corrupted by the system.

    Other than to say there should be zero-tolerance of an unreasonable use of force by police officers, I literally have no idea as to how this problem gets solved.
    Well, there can't be "zero-tolerance", because a shooting board, for example, might take WEEKS studying the action that a police officer had to take in a half a second. There WILL be extenuating circumstances, and there WILL be mistakes.

    Part of the solution would be recruiting some of the very "anti-police activists", like my thread on Quannell X, who was drafted into a police training session that really opened his eyes to "the other side".
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    By the way -- one of the biggest reasons our police department turned down the unionizing effort was the fact that the guys ("fellow" officers) who were promoting it had "bad reps" with respect to authority, discipline and restraint.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaotic Void View Post
    I'd love to find out more about this myself. It's a common talking point that a lot of Police Departments are Unionized (in states were it is legal for them to partake in Collective Bargaining) and, given how unions have reputations of protecting bad workers and bullying good ones, it's often suggested that any attempts to reform the cops and hold them accountable involves putting their Unions on a Leash... if not completely de-fanging them. ETA: After all, it's counterproductive to get a cop sacked or even reprimanded for brutality if they can just whine to their Union Rep to get the punishment reversed.

    One of the starting points would probably be to compare Non-Union Police Departments to the Unionized ones and see which group has the worst record when it comes to Corruption, Brutality, and the like.

    My brother was in a small town police department and there was corruption there. The police chief himself and a few of his buddies. My brother ended up being blamed for something idiotic in order to get rid of him because he stood up to them. He ended up being a police chief himself in a nearby town and the old chief and the mayor of the first town ended up being run out of town on corruption charges.

    No union in sight.

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    My brother was in a small town police department and there was corruption there. The police chief himself and a few of his buddies. My brother ended up being blamed for something idiotic in order to get rid of him because he stood up to them. He ended up being a police chief himself in a nearby town and the old chief and the mayor of the first town ended up being run out of town on corruption charges.

    No union in sight.
    I have no doubt there are smaller departments like this, often where the chief of police is the mayor's brother-in-law or something. Usually, in cases like that, the "town funds" aren't sufficient to hire a qualified chief.

    After my chief retired (way back when I was a cop) we got one of the guys who was trying to bring in the union appointed as the Chief. He was a disaster, because he no longer needed a union - HE was "the power".
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    Tweeb Overlord Chaotic Void's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    My brother was in a small town police department and there was corruption there. The police chief himself and a few of his buddies. My brother ended up being blamed for something idiotic in order to get rid of him because he stood up to them. He ended up being a police chief himself in a nearby town and the old chief and the mayor of the first town ended up being run out of town on corruption charges.

    No union in sight.
    Oh, I don't doubt that corruption happens in Non-Union Police Departments. I'm just curious if there's a recognizable difference in instances of Corruption between Union Departments and Non-Union.

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