Look at Butler County, Kansas.
A woman’s toddler son managed to get out of their house and wandered near the street. After a couple saw the toddler, they called the police.
On the surface, this story seems to be heading to the same ending as the woman charged with abandonment for letting her child play unsupervised.
The officer in this story, however, actually has a soul.
Read the story and notice the night and day difference in his behavior compared to “Terminator” cops one often encounters, who know nothing and see nothing and hear nothing other than “following protocol.”
Rather than look for an opportunity to arrest the mother and put the child in protective custody, he goes out of his way to help the family. He takes the grandmother to a store to find an appropriate door lock so the child won’t wander out anymore. When they don’t know how to install the locks themselves, he does it for them.
You know why he did that? I’ve never met the man and can’t speak with total certainty, but his actions reveal his humanity, his conscience.
What’s still troubling isn’t that the officer chose to help out the family. It’s that he had the authority to do the opposite, as we have seen with other law enforcement officers. He even admitted he had the power to do so, but knew it was wrong.
With private security, all officers would behave like this. They would have no authority over anyone who does not consent to it; their authority extend only to protecting those who have expressly agreed to it. They also benefit from maintaining a good public image, because bad publicity would negatively affect their bottom line.
The officer demonstrated quite effectively what would be the reaction of a private security officer to this incident. Some might say that in fact his behavior proves one does not need a private security force. One only needs men who will behave this way.
The system in place as we have it now does not encourage such men to join the police force. In an institution where violence and force are considered legitimate tools, and consent is not necessary to have authority over people, the ranks swell with men and women who are attracted to power and the opportunities to act violently. Peaceful men, such as this officer, are not a dime a dozen. They are a rare breed.
Notice how popular the story has been in their community. People like it. They appreciate officers who are looking out for the wellbeing of those whom they claim to serve, because they know they are not the norm. If it was typical, the story wouldn’t even be a story.
If we had a privatized police force, with competing security companies offering the best service possible in the hopes of attracting the most customers, more men like this officer would be interested.