North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Rational Policing

Rational Policing

Santiago Valenzue...
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 49
I'm interested in becoming a police officer. I'm currently exercising and getting the credits needed in order to join the DPD (Dallas Police Department.) I will have enough (60 credits, as I am under 21) at the end of this semester. I chose this department specifically because it contains bad areas where I'll be immediately posted to and will be able to avoid the more questionable / immoral aspects today in policing. I don't know how many people here are thinking of a stint or even career in law enforcement, but I've done extensive thinking on it and I'd like to share my thoughts with everyone.

In a rational society, a police officer would be concerned with essentially only one thing: the enforcement of property rights. His time would be taken up by ensuring that theives, robbers and drifters do not violate anyone's property rights. A pretty simple job, all things considered.

However, as some of you might have noticed, we don't live in a rational society. So this presents a problem to the aspiring, but conscientous, police officer. What is proper for him to do and what is improper? A few main points will be touched on here. Along with them, I'll just put a few observations in that are somewhat related to the subject.

Traffic Enforcement: This is something that would still be done in a rational society (as the businesses that ran the roads would, obviously, not have any interest in having people swerving around, endangering other people, driving drunk or speeding excessively, 'excessively' to be defined by the company itself,) but, as the roads are publically owned, it falls to the police.

So long as none of the laws enforced are totally antirational ("Little pink cars can't drive on this highway," for example,) a police officer is perfectly right in enforcing traffic laws. It should not be his job, but it is still a job that should be done - and it falls to him to do it. I, personally, have a great distaste for this sort of work - another reason why I'm requesting to be transferred to South Dallas.

Drug Laws: Here a rather iffy situation. While I trust no self-respecting Objectivist would request a transfer to the Narc division, the plain fact of the matter is that, since drugs are illegal, many of the people who participate in the drug trade are also criminals of the vilest sort - robbers, gang members*, etc. So what is a conscientous officer to do?

An officer should concentrate on enforcing actual rational laws - ie, property rights. This won't be too big a problem in south dallas as almost your entire shift is spent going from call to call, from everything I have heard, so you don't have a lot of time to be looking at people on the corner smoking pot. As to the actual criminals you catch who happen to have drugs along with doing some other illegal activity, well, lets the prosecuters take care of that.

As a side note and something of an exception to the above, meth labs are quite dangerous to the surrounding properties - what with their tendancy to explode and all - so there would be no problem on my part for prosecuting something for that.

The Wall of Blue: Oh boy. This one I'm still thinking really hard on. I don't enjoy the prospect of letting people off for major infractions (one sergeant told me that, back when he was just a regular officer, he found the leutenant of another department was totally smashed while on the freeway. All they did was call a cab for him,) but on the other hand doing such can be disadvantageous - even dangerous - for me to do. I would appreciate any feedback on the issue.

*Gangterism I consider a crime, as gangs frequently set themselves up as the lords and masters of their gang territory - in effect, attempting to set up a competing government to the one who's laws I am enforcing. While I certainly have my problems with this one, I have far more problems with a gangster-run community.

I touched on the subject of Explosives with the meth labs. My conclusion as to the legal possession of anything that is likely to explode (actual explosives, for example) has been thus: The explosives are treated as a loaded weapon pointed in all directions to the length of the damage the explosive can be reasonably expected to do. Thus, any explosive has to be stored in a place that, were it to explode, it would not harm anyone outside of your property. If you were to, say, buy a large tract of land and store a bunch of TNT there, so long as no one could prove that the TNT going off would endanger their property, you'd be fine - as its your property and life for you to risk, if you so choose.

Any complaints about what the person might be able to do with said explosives should be referred to the department of Precrime

Hope this was enlightening to you all.
Chris Jones
gearjammer351
Dallas, TX
Post #: 20
Santiago, I am glad that you have posted this, as I have some of the same concerns. I intend to apply to DPD in a few months also and have wondered how I would handle a situation that places my duty in opposition to my ideology. My father is a police officer and I have ridden along with him (and some of his colleagues) on patrol countless times in my life. From this experience I have seen a huge amount of discrestion used on the part of individual police officers and this makes me believe that I can handle it.
I have seen a single woman who carried a gun for protection (before concealed carry licenses were available) let go with advice on what type of ammunition to use.I have seen teenagers forced to throw out alchohol and marijuana and given a lecture instead of being arrested-many officers do not want to ruin a young person's life by giving them a criminal record at a young age. I was arrested once as a teenager and turned over to my father without charges being filed and this has helped me greatly as I did learn a lesson from it, and now do not have a record to explain when I apply to the police department.

I do think that there are some things that would cause me to quit the job if I were expected to enforce them, but it hasn't happened yet(and I hope it doesn't come to that). I intend to pursue a higher degre so that if that day comes I will be able to pursue another career.
Santiago Valenzue...
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 50
Glad I was able to help, Chris.
A former member
Post #: 69
Santiago, (and Chris)

I definitely do NOT think that you should let the crummy state of our political system deter you from pursuing a career as a police officer if that is what you want to do. I agree with most of the substance of your reasoning regarding bad laws that you might see being broken.

I don't have law enforcement experience, but I would assume that you would have a certain amount of discretion, and that, to the extent that you have such discretion, you should just "look the other way" when someone is violating a law that you don't agree with (to the extent that you can do so without getting in trouble yourself). So, like you said, when you catch a kid with a little grass, just make him destroy it (I guess scatter it to the wind?), or just pretend like you didn't see it. I also agree with your reasoning about catching a real criminal (robber, rapist, murderer) with illegal contraband: since our laws regarding real crimes like that aren't nearly tough enough, if you can add on to their sentence with a drug possession charge, then go for it.

PS-I doubt that you're going to run into many people with illegal explosives, so I wouldn't worry too much about that one.smile


I'm interested in becoming a police officer. I'm currently exercising and getting the credits needed in order to join the DPD (Dallas Police Department.) I will have enough (60 credits, as I am under 21) at the end of this semester. I chose this department specifically because it contains bad areas where I'll be immediately posted to and will be able to avoid the more questionable / immoral aspects today in policing. I don't know how many people here are thinking of a stint or even career in law enforcement, but I've done extensive thinking on it and I'd like to share my thoughts with everyone.

In a rational society, a police officer would be concerned with essentially only one thing: the enforcement of property rights. His time would be taken up by ensuring that theives, robbers and drifters do not violate anyone's property rights. A pretty simple job, all things considered.

However, as some of you might have noticed, we don't live in a rational society. So this presents a problem to the aspiring, but conscientous, police officer. What is proper for him to do and what is improper? A few main points will be touched on here. Along with them, I'll just put a few observations in that are somewhat related to the subject.

Traffic Enforcement: This is something that would still be done in a rational society (as the businesses that ran the roads would, obviously, not have any interest in having people swerving around, endangering other people, driving drunk or speeding excessively, 'excessively' to be defined by the company itself,) but, as the roads are publically owned, it falls to the police.

So long as none of the laws enforced are totally antirational ("Little pink cars can't drive on this highway," for example,) a police officer is perfectly right in enforcing traffic laws. It should not be his job, but it is still a job that should be done - and it falls to him to do it. I, personally, have a great distaste for this sort of work - another reason why I'm requesting to be transferred to South Dallas.

Drug Laws: Here a rather iffy situation. While I trust no self-respecting Objectivist would request a transfer to the Narc division, the plain fact of the matter is that, since drugs are illegal, many of the people who participate in the drug trade are also criminals of the vilest sort - robbers, gang members*, etc. So what is a conscientous officer to do?

An officer should concentrate on enforcing actual rational laws - ie, property rights. This won't be too big a problem in south dallas as almost your entire shift is spent going from call to call, from everything I have heard, so you don't have a lot of time to be looking at people on the corner smoking pot. As to the actual criminals you catch who happen to have drugs along with doing some other illegal activity, well, lets the prosecuters take care of that.

As a side note and something of an exception to the above, meth labs are quite dangerous to the surrounding properties - what with their tendancy to explode and all - so there would be no problem on my part for prosecuting something for that.

The Wall of Blue: Oh boy. This one I'm still thinking really hard on. I don't enjoy the prospect of letting people off for major infractions (one sergeant told me that, back when he was just a regular officer, he found the leutenant of another department was totally smashed while on the freeway. All they did was call a cab for him,) but on the other hand doing such can be disadvantageous - even dangerous - for me to do. I would appreciate any feedback on the issue.

*Gangterism I consider a crime, as gangs frequently set themselves up as the lords and masters of their gang territory - in effect, attempting to set up a competing government to the one who's laws I am enforcing. While I certainly have my problems with this one, I have far more problems with a gangster-run community.

I touched on the subject of Explosives with the meth labs. My conclusion as to the legal possession of anything that is likely to explode (actual explosives, for example) has been thus: The explosives are treated as a loaded weapon pointed in all directions to the length of the damage the explosive can be reasonably expected to do. Thus, any explosive has to be stored in a place that, were it to explode, it would not harm anyone outside of your property. If you were to, say, buy a large tract of land and store a bunch of TNT there, so long as no one could prove that the TNT going off would endanger their property, you'd be fine - as its your property and life for you to risk, if you so choose.

Any complaints about what the person might be able to do with said explosives should be referred to the department of Precrime

Hope this was enlightening to you all.

Santiago Valenzue...
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 53
Well, yes, I doubt I'd run into a lot of guys packing illegal explosives. But I thought the reasoning might be of some interest to you guys. And the meth lab part of it might be quasi-common.
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 45
This is an interesting discussion, and I have wondered how Objectivist police officers would deal with policies that may go against the Objectivist philosophy.

When I was a kid I remember one of my older siblings being brought home a few times for stupid foolish kids stuff. The police officer would give them a good talking, and they would get grounded. Nowadays, if my son got caught doing the same stupid kid stuff, he would end up most likely in juvenile court. It seems that police officers have to be sticklers to stick to the letter of the law or else they could get in trouble, or face repercussions from the PC "police".

Kudos to those that use their discretion.
A former member
Post #: 77
On a side note, I've thought several times about trying to get a job as a county or district attorney prosecuting people in criminal court. The only thing that has somewhat steered me away from this is that fact that I'd basically start out prosecuting people for minor drug crimes (and DWI). Maybe I need to take my own advice? The only difference is I think a low-level prosecutor has less discretion. He basically gets handed a case file, and is told to do it. No "looking the other way" for that really.
Powered by mvnForum

Suggested Annual Donation

$10.00 (after 6 event visits)

This covers: Supporting operating expenses and advertising for new members!

Payment is accepted using:

  • PayPal
  • Cash or check - “Please give any cash or check to any Organizer at an event. We also accept BitCoin: 14sioRkdEBcvvQavE4zbDbSwbsvscPAvF9 Thanks!

Your organizer will refund you if:

  • Each event may have a specific refund policy based on the nature of the event. General donations are not refundable. We may rely on any payment, so if you have any questions please ask an Organizer BEFORE making a payment!

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy