The moral outrage over the Sun Sentinel’s multi-part expose about scofflaw cops and take-home perks is, in my opinion, misdirected.
Of course it’s offensive when those whom society entrusts with the sworn duty of protecting it abuse their authority. It’s particularly galling when they do so with impunity, due to an understanding of mutual protection between law enforcement personnel from different jurisdictions.
But they’re human. Give a human a little authority, and he develops a swagger. He would have to be a saint not to. There’s that gun. There’s the knowledge that they carry so much clout that the average citizen may wet his pants when he’s pulled over. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The only thing that reminds law enforcement that they serve the people⎯and not the other way around⎯is effective oversight and the certainty of sure and swift punishment in the event they get the equation backwards.
It’s like when your dog has an “accident” in the house. It isn’t the animal’s fault; it’s bad pet stewardship on the part of the owner. If government officials⎯who employ law enforcement personnel in the name of the people who elected them⎯don’t keep the leash taut, cops will come to believe that their authority and that nice take-home perk were given them as divine right for simply being more worthy than the next guy.
If you don’t like what you’ve read in the series, throw out the elected bums you have now and replace them with ones who promise to do their jobs the way they’re supposed to.