Can someone be a police officer and not be a criminal? It might have been possible in nineteenth century America for a policeman to do his job without violating anyone's rights. When the first police department was established in New York City in 1847, policemen were political appointees. In those days, the police officers were unsupervised, and they exercised their own discretion in deciding which laws to enforce. They could fight exclusively against crime if they chose to.
In recent years, however, the police have become more regulated, and they are more often assigned to enforce laws that require them to violate the rights of citizens. This does not mean that policemen were better in the nineteenth century. On the contrary, they were often corrupt and violent bullies. However, unlike modern police officers, policemen in the nineteenth century were not required to spend their time committing crimes. Modern policemen not only commit crimes by enforcing laws against voluntary exchanges, they aggravate the conditions that lead citizens to commit real crimes. The war on those who use illegal drugs is the prime example of this.
The great demand for these drugs and the severe penalties imposed for getting caught trading illegal drugs have driven the prices up. The high prices have led many users to commit real crimes to support their habits. This leads some people to think that drugs cause crime and that we need to redouble our efforts to stop drug traffic. All of this means that police officers today spend a lot of their time trying to suppress drug traffic, which means they contribute directly and indirectly to the crime rate. By arresting people for buying, selling, or possessing drugs, policemen violate the rights of drug traffickers and break the peace. The policemen's crimes against drug dealers raise the costs of drugs and indirectly cause more drug users to steal.
The dramatic increase in the number of laws that violate basic rights has made it virtually impossible for a police officer to perform his job without being a criminal. More important than this is the fact that, regardless of the particular laws being enforced, the way police officers enforce the laws is basically unjust.
What do police officers do when they suspect someone has committed a crime? They arrest him, which means they take him by brute force to the police station or the local jail, which means they kidnap him. Then a judge decides how much ransom to charge. If the prisoner cannot come up with the ransom (called bail), a police officer locks the prisoner in a cell until his trial. In preparation for the trial, the police commit other crimes on behalf of the court and sometimes on behalf of the defendant. The police serve subpoenas on witnesses for the prosecution and on witnesses for the defense. This is a crime, because it entails threatening to kidnap and imprison peaceful people if they refuse to participate in the trial. Another crime backed up by the police force is jury selection. When a prospective juror is told to appear at the courthouse, he receives a threat of arrest. The threat usually comes in the mail, but if the individual is bold enough to disobey the order to appear at the courthouse, police officers might kidnap him and put him in jail. Threatening to commit serious crimes such as kidnapping and imprisonment is an integral part of being a police officer today. Consequently, we should avoid this criminal profession.
Original article from: http://royhalliday.home.mindspring.com/c10.htm#10.2