Police Corruption

Police Corruption

* “Battle Against Bad Cops Isn’t Fought Only in L.A.” (May 28) provides an important perspective on a problem that may be best solved at the national level. Many countries, including Canada and Great Britain, enjoy the protection and efficiency of a national police force, making corruption in individual locales much harder to hide and multiplying the law enforcement capacities of each.

The cost savings of shared administrative functions, including training, personnel review and the building, maintenance and use of databases (especially DNA, where the U.S. is so far behind countries like Great Britain) would be a boon to our fiscally beleaguered municipalities and individual taxpayers.

Perhaps it is time for the U.S. to put aside its old antipathy toward national police forces, used by totalitarian regimes to repress the people. Our Constitution provides well-tested safeguards against a police state; we ought to make it easier for our millions of honest police officers to function with the integrity and efficiency that we expect from our armed forces.

The U.S. is experiencing the worst wave of police corruption since alcohol Prohibition put law enforcement on the skids in the 1920s and ’30s. During the alcohol ban, bootleggers with an abundance of cash corrupted the police; now our lunatic drug prohibition programs provide irresistible temptations to a new generation of cops.

Virtually every police department in the country has been touched by a police scandal in the last few years. Invariably the cause of this corruption is a failed drug prohibition policy that supplies limitless amounts of cash to pervert and corrupt law enforcement. Before long it will be the same as when Al Capone bragged, “Half the cops in Chicago are on my payroll.”

It’s time to end a drug prohibition scheme that accomplishes nothing useful, while destroying the integrity of the police and every other agency that comes into contact with it.

REDFORD GIVENS

San Francisco

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