Police are publicly employed law enforcement. Traditionally, they have been employed to protect law abiding citizens from law breaking citizens. They are charged with upholding the laws of the land. Police have a range of specific duties, from issuing parking tickets and traffic citations, to investigating major crimes and gathering evidence to prosecute people. Police are typically organized by jurisdiction, and their duties as officers change with their jurisdiction. For example, federal law enforcement officers cannot issue parking tickets, because parking is an issue left to localities to decide upon and enforce. In the same way, your local police department will probably not be involved in interstate gun smuggling investigations, enforcement of federal laws, or law enforcement activity in the open sea.
There are uncountable problems that come with an organized police force. Some of these problems have multiple causes. One such cause is the power ceded to police by citizens. In the same way that power and authority can corrupt a politician, police are extremely susceptible to the corruption and abuse of their power. Some specific problems related to the power police have over lay folk are:
- Police Brutality
- Probably the most overt and well known problem associated with police today. Quite simply, this is the unprompted and unjustifiable beating or attack of an innocent person by a police officer.
- Wrongful Arrest
- Although many people recognize police brutality when they see it, an abuse of a police officer's ability to arrest, imprison, or fine a person is extremely covert and difficult to prove. This is because police can almost always plausibly deny their abuse of power, and because police are often given a wide latitude to do their jobs to better protect the public. On top of the already wide latitude that police are given to do their job, some laws are extremely vague and can be used in almost any situation to charge or fine a person the officer is at odds with. Police have also been known to lie or exaggerate in testimony in order to get a conviction when hard evidence is scarce, or in order to obtain a warrant.
Another problem that can occur with an organized police force is runaway criminalization of the citizenry. This problem becomes evident when the number of citizens being convicted of crimes rises to extremely high levels. Oftentimes this is because legislators or lawmakers in a country want to "crack down" on crime, are afraid of looking soft on crime (and thus work to enact stricter, broader, and farther reaching laws), or do not believe the police can do anything unjust. Some specific crimes that are often cited as unnecessary criminalization or laws that are cited as being frequently abused by police include:
- Some Drug Possession Laws
- Some assert that certain or all laws banning the possession of certain, oftentimes recreational, drugs cause runaway criminalization of the public. Proponents of this view point to the massive number of people incarcerated due to simple possession charges, the massive amount of money spent by law enforcement on enforcing drug laws, and the sweeping authority the judiciary has ceded to the police because of drug laws. Proponents also argue that drug laws have historically been abused to imprison people the government doesn't like, to exploit members of the public on the fringe of society (such as when the CIA sold cocaine to California residents to fund operations in Nicaragua), and as a pretext to seize valuable property with little or no reason (for example, police have seized entire apartment complexes because one tenant was selling drugs from one apartment, property owned by people caught selling drugs that was unrelated to the sale of drugs [for example, a person sells drugs from one house, so the police seize their vacation home in another state, or in another case police seized a car collector's collection after he was caught with a minute amount of marijuana in one car], and property owned by people who have committed no crime because other people have been caught selling or in possession of drugs on the property [e.g. police once seized a yacht because one of the staff members of the yacht was caught in possession of a few marijuana stems and seeds]).
- Disturbing the Peace
- Disturbing the Peace (and similar charges) are frequently cited as being abused or prone to abuse by police wishing to intimidate or punish people who the officer in question dislikes or is irritated by.
- Obstruction of Justice, Obstruction of an Officer in the Course of his/her Lawful Duties, and other, similar, charges are frequent threats from police officers to coerce people to assist them.
- Disparate Sentencing Guidelines
- One of the more obscure aspects of criminal law are sentencing guidelines. In recent decades, legislatures have legislated increasingly harsh minimum sentences for crimes. Not only are these sentences incredibly harsh, even for first time offenders, there is also a staggering disparity between similar crimes. For example, the sentencing guidelines for cocaine and crack cocaine are wildly different. This is especially heinous when one considers the demographics of the two drugs; cocaine is primarily used by white middle to upper-class citizens, and crack is primarily used by black middle to lower class citizens.
There are many more problems associated with a standing police force, this is inherently because of the job police are paid to do. Police are not your friend, they are not there to protect you, they are not sympathetic. Police are paid to arrest and convict people, to seize property, and to enforce the law as much as possible. As people, police may be very nice and genuinely want to protect people and "catch the bad guys", but the inevitable problem is that police must (and do) assume that everyone is a criminal.
 US Police
Police in the US are divided into a hierarchy based on jurisdiction. Although there is a great deal of nuance involved in situations with more than one type of law enforcement involved, the issue is mostly determined by tea leaf reading or some other form of ghosting. The matter of jurisdiction is usually a simple one-location determines responsibility. In cases where there are many locations, changing locations, broad location, or unknown location, jurisdiction can become slightly more tenuous. Other times, location is irrelevant, and what laws are being broken is the determining factor. Still other times there can be no single determining factor, which is why the detectives on Law and Order are so bitchy about "the feds stealing our case" or some other such bullshit. The basic hierarchy is as follows: City-local police, County-sheriff's office, State-highway patrol/state police, Federal-federal agencies ("special agents"). Feds or "special agents" are law enforcement officers in the employ of the federal government. You should fear them. Federal fuzz includes: DEA, FBI, USMS, the ATF and more.
 Canadian Police
Canadian police follow a similar arrangement to the Americans. Due to a smaller population and larger area though, there tends to be a lot less of them. There isn't as many local police detachments, most of the time if you're in a tangle with the cops it's provincial police. Local police tend to not be as well equipped, for example, very few have speed guns. So if you have a cop pull you over in the city for speeding, it's usually enough to ask to see evidence. This may not apply to some larger cities that have higher speed roads. The RCMP is the main federal police branch, akin to the FBI. Due to the same low population density, if you're out in western Canada, you'll run into these guys. The RCMP also has been earning themselves a reputation for TASER abuse.
 Also Known As
- Blue Devils
- Johnny Laws
- Cherry Tops
- Law Men
- 5-0 (Five-Oh)
- Fun Busters
- Jackbooted Government Thugs
- The Ting
- "Shit dude, run!"