How do these people get hired as cops?

We need good police. We don’t want bad policing.

Police departments across America apparently are dealing with staffing shortages, partly because cops are quitting. NBC News aired a segment about this on Sunday, November 27, 2022 (watch it below).

In that report, NBC News interviewed several former cops who’ve quit the profession, and one of their reasons was the risk of being prosecuted if they screw up.

A cop has to really screw up to suffer any legal consequences for their on-the-job conduct. Police have qualified immunity that shields them from being sued for ordinary negligence. Lawsuit settlements, when allowed, are paid by insurers or police agencies, not the cops who commit egregious torts like this one.

To be criminally prosecuted, a cop has to commit a crime like this one.

We don’t want those cops, or these cops. If cops like them quit, great! Good riddance. Hiring enough good cops is an entirely separate issue, and not one you can solve by hiring bad cops.

But police agencies do hire bad cops, for various reasons. Sometimes they slip through the cracks; but in hindsight, you wonder why the hiring system didn’t spot potential trouble before it occurred.

In 2019 and 2021, a Spokane, Washington, cop who responded to 911 calls from two women later returned to their homes and raped them. A jury recently convicted him of rape (read story here).

A far worse case comes out of Riverside, California. There, in November 2022, a police officer from Virginia “catfishing” a teenage girl murdered her mother and grandparents, set fire to their home, and apparently tried to abduct the girl. He was killed in a shootout with police. (Read story here.)

This perpetrator, Austin Lee Edwards, 28, had been employed in Virginia by the state police and a county sheriff’s office. How did he get those jobs?

A 2020 FBI report found that extremist groups like the KKK and militias were infiltrating police departments, i.e. getting their members hired as cops (see story here). How do these people get through background screening? Do police agencies even care who they hire?

America has a policing crisis, and not just because of staffing shortages. Let’s not forget that we also need better cops. Recruiting, training, supervision, discipline, police practices, and accountability all need reforming and improving. We should appreciate the good cops we have, but when we hire more cops, we need to make sure they aren’t going to kidnap girls and murder their families.

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