Skip to main content

The Fireman Police Solution

The police are not a popular subject for obvious reasons. So obvious, actually, that they've become a sort of social-justice-Hitler; a boogie man, a scapegoat. The police represent, as no one can sanely disagree with anymore, the status quo. Their system is broken and needs to reform! Blah blah blah. There is a lot of talk and chest-beating about police injustice and need for reform but not a lot of calmly developed, logical attempts at improvement. But I have an idea.

The entire paradigm of policing is based on force, violence, suspicion, control, encarceration, confrontation, and late response. That's right, for all the aggression and gunslinging the police, one must realize, always arrive AFTER the fact. Police do not actively prevent crime. They arrive after or during the incident. They don't sit and listen like Batman. The position of police officers is insane, itself. The license that is conferred them is egregious. Police are given a license to kill and don't even have to have a bachelor's degree. They are recruited from the ranks of soldiers not public servants. The drive behind beind a good police officer is one of aggression, control, and escalation. Never does the academy ensure that the people they are giving homocidal agency to possess any humanity. Cops are not recruited or retained according to any socially constructive criteria. In fact, their whole job is creating crime not solving, preventing, or punishing it.

What's this? Creating crime? Yes! The only standard of performance, of quality, in our paradigm of police is crime reported and crime solved. This presents a pair of disincentives to good public service. If we require police to keep a good ratio of crimes solved to those reported, we disincentivie the creation of reports regarding crimes they believe might be hard to solve. No report, no crime, hence, low crime. But, if we then think to require more reports cops have an incentive to charge those unreasonably. And this applies enormously more in the case of requiring high numbers of cases solved! Because that encourages convictions! That would make being a good cop, measurably, synonymous with lying and framing others, and there is little in the way of a check to gaurd against this let alone, what should be, proper incentive to help people. And I don't think it exists. I don't think that kind of incentive can be given in the schema of police.

Doctors attempt, with all their resources, to prevent harm and save the lives of other people. Yet, doctors get worse treatment upon the death of a patient and require FAR more licensure to even be given any beneifit of the doubt in the first place -- a medical degree. Yep, you'll need to go to school for 10 years, get really protective insurance, and devote your life to helping others. O, and you? You need eight months in a Tae Bo course.

What we need is a group of strong, brave people who are dedicated to saving the lives of others and objectively increasing the safety of their community. We need people with extensive medical training. We need people with disaster training. We need people that use techonology to protect themselves instead of hurt others. If only there were a group of people like that. If only there were a group of people that would, like, say, for instance: run into a burning building to help someone else.

While police enjoy an upside down system counting the crimes they are involved in firemens' progress is measured in the number of people saved and fires extinguished. They have extensive training that challenges both body and mind. They have training that teaches them to understand their limitations. They are trained medics and disaster responders. They dedicate themselves to saving others. Whereas police apply their mashismo to hurting others fire fighters apply theirs to saving people. Showboating for a fireman is helping a bunch of people. Showboating for a cop is killing someone.

And just think of all of the non-violent methods of control. Irate drunk: firehose; bank robbers: firehose; jay-walking: firehose. This all includes mental health training as well. Cops are protrayed as lifting cars off children or shooting the bad guy in the leg. But even if those lies were true it's not everyday that a child is trapped underneath a Russian nuke or whatever ridiculous scenarios people imagine police dissolve. It is everyday that a homeless drunk dies, cars collide, disease spreads. It's no hero that saves the picturesque case because that would mean ignoring so many of the organic ones. Heros fight against the world for people they don't fight people on behalf of the world.

So, perhaps it's not that firemen should take over. Maybe it's just that you should have to of been a firefighter to become a cop. I mean, obviously, it's no real solution; firemen taking over for police. Because certainly there is something valuable between the meadows of waving dicks. We'll need to give firemen certain training to take over for police anyway. So, let's just do it this way for simplicity. Let's not forget we wouldn't want any firemen opposed to enforcing laws unable to decline the new duties. It seems fair that if you want a license to kill you might want to vet people for being magnanimous enough, responsible enough, not to use it for gain or malice. Being willing, and having proven, that they'll give their own life before letting someone elses be taken might certainly preclude their taking the life themselves. And, shouldn't this be the thing we are primarily concerned with guarding and reviewing if we are ever able to "reform" the police.

But, of course, powerful Sherrifs and City Council people aren't going to give up their positions. And the position of police officer carries so much scorn and shame currently it would, understandably, not attract many firefighters. How could they be confident things would even change? Which laws would they enforce? Clearly this is a pipe dream. What isn't a pipe dream though is requiring more advanced training in EMT techniques, psychology, and mental health intervention. These pills go down easy and, given some restraint, are palitable to both sides, if we are to consider things along the political poles. Sherrif is an elected position. And even without inside advocacy, the idea of requiring continuing education isn't new to police and doesn't raise suspicioun in communities hostile to critique of the police. These sort of obligations to scientific humanist advancement -- as medicine is hopefully still scientific -- of police techniques not in direct relation to their current procedures would quietly weed out those of low empathy, low intelligence, especially both, and begin objectively educating and improving the system at the same time.