Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Insular World Of The Police Mentality

I have written several posts in this blog about institutions and their many shortcomings, shortcomings that seem directly proportional to their age. The longer one exists, the more prone an organization seems to becoming increasingly insular, self-referential, and self-reverential.

One of the institutions most frequently targeted here is law enforcement. Whether examining local or national forces, it is clear that the temptation to overstep, misuse and abuse authority is too much for some to resist. Failure to seriously acknowledge that fact only leads to a greater likelihood it will recur, often more frequently or on an even larger scale.

Perhaps the most notorious instance of police abusing their authority and subsequent organizational inertia in responding to it was the G20 Summit of 2010 in Toronto. The details of that infamous weekend are well-known, and I have posted about it numerous times; in the aftermath of that weekend of mayhem, a G20 Criminal Investigative Project was formed to pursue and bring to justice the non-police criminals who contributed to the violence of that weekend.

As The Star's Rosie DiManno reports in today's edition, despite the legacy of illegalities perpetrated by the police and their commanders, that Project is today to be given a team award originating with Professional Standards:

[It is] being presented to some of the 82 members of the Toronto Police Service who are being honoured on Thursday along with a handful of officers from other law agencies

As Ms DiManno tartly observes:

There is little to feel proud about in the aftermath of that weekend of wreckage and trampled rights. Goodness, a slew of lawsuits against police for alleged abuse of force are still winding their way through the courts. And much of this city lost faith in its upholders of law and order, unprepared as they were to avert the chaos that erupted, then overly zealous in response to top-down orders that they “take back the streets.”

But that reality doesn't seem to exist in Policeland, it would seem.

The authorities, however, should be aware that it has not been forgotten in the larger world of public opinion.

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