Toward a Police Reform Movement

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sun, 07 Oct 2007 20:26:57 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

L. Neil Smith at The Libertarian Enterprise - a ten-year-old proposal for reform of the police, much more than ten years overdue, and at least as relevant today as it was then. [tle]

First, there being no provision in the United States Constitution for a national police force of any kind--and in compliance with the 9th and 10th Amendments--all federal "law enforcement" agencies must be abolished and their present and former employees subjected to legal scrutiny of their current and past activities. As "interim" measures, these agencies and their employees will be forbidden to carry or employ weapons of any kind, and will be permitted to operate at all only under close supervision by local police.


All police officers at state, county, and local levels of government will be required to wear uniforms on duty and be forbidden to act in a professional capacity when off duty, or wearing civilian clothing. All uniforms must bear individual name patches and badge numbers easily legible from a distance of fifty yards, and it will be unlawful to cover or obscure them in any way. It will also be unlawful for police officers to conceal their facial features with any sort of helmet or mask, or to wear camouflaged or military-style clothing.

All vehicles employed by local police must be clearly marked and readily identifiable, with highly-visible registration numbers. Agencies at every level of government will be forbidden the use of helicopters which, in recent years, have increasingly become an instrument of state terrorism and statist oppression.

Police officers may not possess, carry, or employ any weapon prohibited to civilians, nor carry a weapon of any kind off duty, concealed or otherwise, until laws at every level of government forbidding civilians to do so in exactly the same manner have been repealed. Bullet resistant clothing and equipment, which seem only to have engendered an increasingly contemptuous disregard for the lives, property, and rights of civilians, will be strictly forbidden.

To avoid conflict of interest and prevent over-zealous enforcement of statues and ordinances, all fines and traffic revenues will be divided equally among the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International (provided they adopt a view of the Bill of Rights which is consistent from article to article), and state Libertarian parties, provided they send nothing to the national Libertarian Party until its own internal corruption has been eliminated.

Handcuffs or other restraining devices may not be used on those arrested for nonviolent crimes, especially for purposes of public display. Arresting officials will be held fully and individually responsible under civil and criminal law for any humiliation to which arrestees later proved innocent are subjected.

In "seige" situations (which may not be initiated merely because someone expresses a wish to be left alone, locks himself in his house, or possesses weapons) authorities will be prohibited from interrupting telephone or other utilities, or from restricting free access by the media to the subjects of the operation.


I say again, it's time to end the War on Drugs. Think back: every dime ever spent on it has only made the problem worse, not better. Many decent individuals have come to believe that, from the outset, it was never meant as anything but a war against the people of the United States of America. It's time to end it, to abolish the DEA, FBI, ATF, and every other federal agency wihich is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, and is for that reason alone, illegal.

My last proposal is that all hiring for these agencies cease immediately, and that individual officers who survive scrutiny of their past activities be made US marshals, given a new assignment--Bill of Rights enforcement--and be turned loose on politicians, bureaucrats, and judges, instead of the American people.

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