I got two calls from police unions this week around supper time. Both times, the guy jabbered along on his script without listening as I asked repeatedly if I could say something. When I got to interrupt his pitch, I asked what he thought about bad apples in the police force and the first guy immediately hung up.
The same thing happened with the second caller, but instead of immediately hanging up, he replied that he couldn’t talk about that. So I asked why not and persisted in asking if he thought it was a problem. Instead of answering, he asked if he could send me a pledge form in the mail to commit to contributing money to the police. I told him that is fine if he also sent me the organization’s policy statement about addressing systemic racism among the police. He hung up without saying another word.
As a matter of household policy, we never give any money to telemarketers like the police unions even if we support the cause because we don’t want to support any telemarketing ever. I’ve repeatedly asked the police unions to take us off their calling lists, but they never do and we keep getting called every year. Although I highly value the important roles of police in society, I find the fundraising tactics of the police unions to be a bit corrupt. And some of their political actions, like defending really bad cops, are downright harmful.
One of their corrupt tactics is to give window stickers to donors for display on their car windshields. This amounts to a shakedown because the clear insinuation is that if you donate ahead of time, you won’t get a big ticket when the police pull you over and see the union sticker on your car. That is why corrupt police sell PBA Shields on Ebay for mounting in your car for between about $90 and $300. It is like a get out of jail free card. A Google search shows that there is a brisk economy in these things and lots of people have stories about how they work.
This is kind of corruption is probably worst in bad-apple jurisdictions like Ferguson Missouri where ticketing practices also amount to a corrupt shakedown rather than having any public safety justification. Truckers know about these perverse police districts.
I’m skeptical of some of the “defund the police” voices because we need better police, not necessarily less police. What we really need is more people calling to “defund the police unions”. Don’t give these corrupt organizations any of your money. End for-profit policing.