Police Protect and Serve Whom?

The Police Motto: To Protect and Serve:
Citizens Believes it applies to them

Ever since the days of Dragnet and Adam-12 the American public has been led to believe that the police have a duty to protect them. These television shows were designed to rehabilitate the image of the Los Angeles Police Department which had been scandalized by corruption, ineptitude and unsolved high-profile cases. The department gladly cherry-picked cases that were “dramatized” (recreated to make the police appear impartial, fair-minded, and ready to sacrifice themselves to protect you, the individual citizen.

Several later television shows such as NYPD Blue tended to show the police in a somewhat more honest light though they still supported the illusion that the police have a duty to protect you even if they are only human. However, case law and practice are drastically different from the propaganda presented to the public.

It is important that every citizen understand this reality as the government is moving ever more quickly to prevent the individual from protecting him or her self and their families by controlling access to weapons. Not only will this probably promote a sharp increase in personal violent crime as it has in the United Kingdom and Australia but it will also ensure that the government at all levels will no longer be subjugated to the people – the people will have finally been subjugated to the governments, local, state and federal.

The “Thin Blue Line” is not to protect you
It is to Protect and Serve the State

In Warren v. District of Columbia, the Court of Appeals found that the District of Columbia could not be held accountable for failure to aggressively investigate an ongoing burglary that then turned into an arduous sexual and physical abuse of two women. The court decided that the police do not have a “special duty” to individuals but only a “general duty to the public at large”. Who is the “public at large” if not its citizens? It is the government. Remember when Abraham Lincoln gave his “Gettysburg Address”? The first line dated the beginning of the federal government to 1776 (Four score and seven minus 1863); i.e., the Declaration of Independence. However, the federal government was not created until 1788, when the Constitution was ratified by the then existing states; therefore, it was the states that created the federal system, not the people individually. The result of Lincoln’s message, and winning of the Civil War, was to centralize power in the federal government at the expense of the states, which were directly responsible to the people, and thus from the individuals. Therefore, despite the propaganda and political rhetoric, the police are not there for you, they are there to maintain order for the state – your safety may be a by-product but it is not the primary goal of their intervention.

This was the situation in Warren v. District of Columbia
The Responsibility to Protect You and your Family: is YOU

This was not a finding isolated to the District of Columbia. In 2011, a knife wielding “madman {words of the author – Anthony Veltri} attacked a passenger on the subway. The two NYPD officers present retreated into and locked the motorman’s cabin leaving a passenger to suffer through the attack alone. A martial art expert, he subdued the attacker, though suffering several stab wounds, and the brave officers then came forward and arrested the attacker. When taken to court it was decided that the police do not have a “special duty” to protect individual citizens. In fact, the police only established a “special duty” with the arrested attacker and thus were obligated to protect him from harm. Understand this clearly: police anywhere, everywhere, have no “special duty” to protect the people who are taxed to support the police, but they do have a “special duty” to protect those whom they arrest! However, if those they arrested escape, the police are not responsible for those who may be harmed during or after escaping custody (Ne Caek v. City of Los Angeles (1965)).

The police cannot be held liable for slow response times or even for not responding at all. In Antique Arts Corp. v. City of Torrence (1974) the court decided that government could not be held liable for inadequate or incompetent police response. This immunizes the government from liability due to incompetence of its police force. Imagine if this standard were applied to the medical profession, mechanics, or any other trade? If there is no liability then where is the impetus to improve the quality of service, especially in protecting lives! In Westbrooks v. State (1985) a bridge was washed out during a storm. The local deputy had observed the beginning of the collapse and notified state authorities; however, the court found that he had “no duty to warn drivers that the bridge was out”! This resulted in loss of life for which the police were not held liable! In Davidson v. City of Westminister (1982) a couple were assaulted in a laundromat while the suspect was under police surveillance; in other words, the police were following this person suspecting him of a previous assault. Surveilling a person does not constitute a “special relationship or duty” so the police were not obligated either to warn the couple or even intervene! But, the best is yet to be revealed!

The police believe that you, the individual whom they have NO duty to protect, have a duty to protect them and if they perceive a breach in that duty, they will sue you (Your “Duty” to Protect and Serve the Police)! In Greenland, NH, four police officers were wounded and the police chief killed during a shoot-out with a couple suspected of dealing drugs. The couple died during a murder-suicide event. The four officers sued the mother for “indirectly supporting and facilitating illegal activity that occurred on the premises” even though she was not an occupant of the residence. The ridiculousness of this case is that the police were investigating the male for two years and were serving a “no knock” warrant to obtain additional evidence of drug involvement. They were in full knowledge that this was a dangerous individual and the mother could not have provided any additional information that would have changed the outcome!

In Shingle Springs, CA, a son, diagnosed with schizophrenia and a criminal history, killed his 72 year-old father. His brother called the police saying his father had been shot but he did not know the killer. The armed response resulted in three police being wounded in the melee.  Two of the officers then sued the mother and brother saying they shared culpability for the injuries inflicted for not revealing the identity of the killer as a member of the household. This would not have changed the outcome since an overwhelming armed response was initiated and the situation quickly ended in the killing of the armed suspect. In fact, the District Attorney for the county had not investigated the incident to determine if the deputies were injured by the suspect or by “friendly fire”! They could not legally say how the officers were injured! The case caused an outcry and was dropped but this is not an isolated case.

So, in America where everyone has been taught that the police are present to protect and serve you even willing to risk their own lives to fulfill that duty, we discover that there is NO DUTY! Those few individuals who go above and beyond are to be commended but they are no more special than any other person who responds above and beyond that which is expected. All this malarkey that the police are “heroes” simply because they are police is simply propaganda. It is understandable that everyone wants to go home at the end of the shift; however, by voluntarily seeking employment as a law enforcement officer one must be aware of the risks involved. This is not the only profession that has inherent terminal risks but the idolizing of the police, and military, force is a dangerous “path to the dark side”. Christians are guilty of this also.

It’s always nice to legitimize one’s profession
by eisegetical interpretation of the Bible

This is one of the most misused passages of the Bible and Christians are the people most guilty of this error! This passage refers to those times when the government upholds that which the Bible calls good (Do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, etc.) by punishing those who violate these standards. Yes, we are to live under the government and we are to encourage government to do what is right; however, we are not to whitewash government for pursuing aims that are contrary to the Bible. Christians are suppose to be taught from the Bible and not add their opinions to the Bible (eisegesis). As Christians we pray for government as we want peace in order to promulgate the Gospel; however, we must always be aware that all governments have one master, Satan, and one purpose, the furtherance of his kingdom, even if they are at odds with other governments. When Christians misuse Scripture to blindly support government then we are guilty of assisting government in suppressing the truth. Discernment is the realization that God is the source of our protection, this is the true message of Romans chapter thirteen. We are to be as consistent as Christ Who neither opposed nor supported the governments who ultimately killed Him. If we give legitimacy to the unrighteousness of governments we do not live as He did. If we seek to oppose governments, we do not live as He did. We are to look for a city (government) to come as Abraham (He 11:14-16). There is not one word for or against any government other than to obey what God has already ordained as right and refuse to do evil as God has already defined (Ac 4:19-20). In the end, if you legitimize evil, it will consume you leaving you an unprofitable slave to God. Do not be caught up in the current jingoistic rhetoric of any persuasion but silent go about God’s work of spreading the Gospel of Life in Christ.

Author: LeeS

Retired naval nurse, Dad, Husband, Christian who seeks to share the Bible with those who want more than the superficial milk given out in the majority of today's churches. God has taught me through hard experiences as well as through book learning (Master's of Ministry, Doctor of Ministry).