Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Statistics don't lie: lots of bad cops out there

In the last few years, there have been far too many videos emerge that show police, those sworn to protect and serve, behaving in ways that outrage all of us.  Time and again, I am told that there are always bad apples in any population, and the figure I get is that less than 1% of all police men and women are bad apples.

Statistically speaking,  I would call this estimate a pie in the sky wishful dream.  We have in the U.S. today far more bad cops than anybody hopes would be in uniform.  Here are the stats:

Ten known police officers responded to the Laquan McDonald incident in Chicago, Illinois in 2014.  Two of them were Cook County sheriff's officers who arrived after McDonald was shot and killed.  The other 8 officers on the scene were Chicago city policemen and women.  

In a recent news release, 5 of these 8 Chicago City police officers have been recommended for termination for criminal behavior, and one of them is Jason Van Dyke who has been charged with the murder at the scene.  The other 4 officers recommended for firing are Janet Mondragon, Daphne Sebastian, Ricardo Viramontes and Stephen Franko. The remaining three Chicago cops who were at the scene remain unidentified, and have subsequently retired before they could be fired.  All eight of these officers filed false reports regarding the shooting, and all 8 claimed that Laquan McDonald attempted to kill a police officer, when the several videos clearly show this was not the fact at all.

Filing a false police report is the basis of all bad cops, who are trusted to do the right thing and report their activities truthfully. Those who don't are obstructing justice, a felony.  Good cops don't commit felonies.  Only bad cops do this.  As an aside, not one of the Chicago City cops mentioned the arrival of the two Cook County Sheriff's department officers at the scene of the shooting.  Not one.  These two sheriff's department officers departed the scene and filed their own reports, which did not include specifics on the actual shooting since they had arrived after the fact.

What are the statistical odds of 8 bad cops showing up at the scene of a situation if only 1 in 100 cops in the universe of all cops are bad?  Assuming this 1% figure is correct, the math here suggests that the probability of 8 bad cops showing up simultaneously at any single point in time is (.01) to the power of 8, or 1.0 x e-18, or .000000000000000001%.  Or in other terms, statistically impossible.

This Laquan McDonald murder statistically debunks that stupid, wishful Utopian figure of .01% of bad cops in the U.S.  The statistical figure based on this one episode suggest 80% of all cops are bad apples, and they are all employed by the City Of Chicago.  Of course, that 80% figure is skewed as well since an 'n' of 8 is too low to apply to the U.S. nationwide, and would be considered statistically anecdotal, but the number of bad cops among the general police population in the U.S. is certainly way, way, WAY higher than .01%.  How much higher is subject to debate, but in my mind this fairy tale figure of no more than .01% of bad cops throughout the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave is complete bunk.

I would conclude that statistically our country is lousy with bad cops.  

Do the math.


Gorges Smythe said...

I used to have a neighbor that said there was no such thing as an honest cop, because half were outright criminals, and the other half wouldn't do anything about it.

LSP said...

Interesting stats, but is Chicago and Laquann a representative sample? Maybe.

One solution to this problem, and there obviously is one, is to ship all of our peace loving Muslim immigrants to Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis etc.

LL said...

The same thing is said of stock brokers, commodity traders, lawyers, doctors, preachers, community activists, building contractors, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. The only thing that people can agree on is their love of firemen. There are only two professions where you get paid for laying on your back - firefighter and prostitute. Both have a higher approval rating than Congress.

Fredd said...

LL: none of those guys (butchers, bakers, candlestick makers) can take me into custody on a whim, or rather what they call their best judgement. Or shoot me. Again, using their best judgement.

The best judgement of a bad guy is bad judgement. Not what we hired them for. Not at all.

Fredd said...

Reverend: no, Chicago is most definitely not a representative sample of bad policing, nor is Laquan McDonald a representative sample of a U.S. citizen. Far from it.

My only point is that .01% or less of bad apples, that stat has never been questioned. Except by me. And Black Lives Matter. Looks like I'm keeping pretty bad company on this one, Reverend. But I see these kind of cops everywhere, not just in Chicago.

Fredd said...

Gorges: sounds about right. The other half who do nothing have no inclination to rat out their brothers in blue. Whistle blowing can be a dangerous sport within the ranks.

LL said...

There is a prescription for the problem and I'll outline steps to reduce police corruption (below). But NOTHING is so important as the culture of the police agency (which reflects both the culture of the city/county/state/federal government and the people that they serve in specific.

(1) Strict qualifications for hiring that is not based on racial or sexual quotas. BA Degree minimum, 4 years military service with an honorable discharge, with preference for people who have gone through more arduous training and weeding-out programs like Ranger School, Army Q Course, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps Force Recon, etc.

(2) Use of both polygraph and psychological testing.

(3) Encourage continuing education. Certification including testing for in-service should be at the same level (with different focus, naturally) as other regulated licensing in other industries. Second level police supervision should be paid commensurate with the local prosecutors in terms of total compensation. (police officers usually receive better pensions because they don't 'last' as long.)

That's a start. Of course, you have to be willing to pay for it. The public wants the highest standards but often is not willing to foot the bill for the best people. The Romans had that problem and Caesar Augustus established the Praetorian Guard to operate as a police force inside Rome. It's an interesting study.

The agencies that do that have less trouble with "corruption", but there will always be corruption of one sort or another. Look at the US State Department under Clinton. It was "for sale". Chicago is a notoriously corrupt city, so it's police force is notoriously corrupt as well. It makes sense, right?

The generally clean agencies, who pay well, hire quality, etc. still have problems. Many of those problems come from a failure to adequately supervise, but there are other issues that crop up simply because human beings have foibles.

Fredd said...


All of your suggestions above would correct most of the cop problem we have today. The culture is subject to failure because of the most basic, underlying issue: police officers are government workers. Ceasar Augustus had the identical problem with policing the Roman Empire as a whole, and resorted to his Praetorian Guard to protect HIS interests, the rest of the realm be damned. And we all know what happened when the barbarians outside of Rome city limits started to run things they way they saw fit.

Both of us know that you virtually never get good service/products from the government, unless it's of a military concern. And when it's associated with the military, money is almost never an issue.

But cops are still government workers, and they differ from the military in that money spent towards THEIR concerns is ALWAYS an issue, and accordingly they are underfunded to the point that we have way too many under qualified Barney Fife's running around with loaded guns, and the public is brutalized accordingly.

You get what you pay for, or so they say.

Brig said...

LL's reasoned approach to improving the system is a good one, too bad no one cares enough to implement it.

Fredd said...


True, nobody cares enough. They care, but not more than they care about funding buses that run around town nearly empty and get 2 mpg. They care that the police force is not getting proper funding, but not more than they care about funding schools and parks, which come first.

It's not that people don't care about cops, but they care more about other things more. Which needs to be changed, since we all can see what happens to under-funded police forces - we get what we pay for, and we suffer for it. LL's improvements take money. We should step up, rather than put up with these under qualified Barney Fife's beating up on us because they don't know how to handle police situations any better.

LL said...

I wrote a long piece but it sounded too puffed up.

The most agencies don't want the police to be too efficient, particularly at public corruption. It goes with politicians, the machinations of state, etc. I was paid significantly better than my FBI counterparts, and in such we were the exception rather than the rule.

Brig said...

I'm thinking more along the lines of all the funding that goes to programs for illegals, government grants for stupid stuff (example: the BIL of a BLM (not the black one)super in Oregon that was hired for $65,000/yr, full benes, gov trk...etc) to gather a couple baggies wild horse manure samples twice a week), and don't get me started on the waste in public schools, I worked in the district office for several.

Fredd said...

Brig: the wasteful spending on public schools is a national disgrace, as you have seen up front and in person. The wastrels in charge of the spending claim 'it's for the children,' when all of the feather-bedding and opulent construction are clearly NOT for the children but rather for themselves and their cohorts.

Take half of the spending on public schools and apply it towards improving the police efforts would go extremely far in solving their woes.

sig94 said...

This is a problem recognized a long time ago. NYS initiated a police accreditation program in the late 80's. My division commander at the time, a Captain, was involved in the planning stage with the NY DCJS. There were over 130 standards with many subdivisions in the program and every standard had to be covered by the responding agency. Only about a quarter of NY's 440 police departments participate in it.

After I retired I was hired to bring a local town PD into compliance with the accreditation program. I did it within a year on a part time basis. A year later I was an assessment team member for this program inspecting various PD's or all sizes. The biggest PD I did was Niagara Falls. The shakiest PD I did was Greece, NY. I did not like the cop culture in that shop, not at all. I was not surprised when three years later I read that the Chief of Police and several others had been arrested for corruption.

There are no guarantees of complete honesty and competence in any cop. Every cop is a potential source of concern for a police executive. This is because cops are humans and humans are fallible. Humans make terrible judgement calls, make excuses for doing things they shouldn't and usually try to take the easy way out.

Police officers are not ordered from a cop clone factory in Utah, they are selected from our communities. As the moral conduct of our nation has deteriorated, so has the pool of potential police recruits. Ask any Army recruiter what they have to go through to get a enlistee who is not strung out on drugs, doesn't have a criminal record, isn't morbidly obese or has no mental/emotional issues.

And I hate it.

sig94 said...

And LL is right on target with his comments. I have personally seen the level of supervision fall to shit in my former agency. As a young police officer I was supervised by a bunch of sgts. who were WWII and Korean War vets. You did not mess with these guys and you damn sure best do as you were told, they did not suffer fools lightly. We really, really need this again - serious adults who want to do the job right.

sig94 said...

Shit, now you got me going. You have no idea what minority hiring has done to the profession. My former agency hires off four candidate lists: one for white males, one for black males, one for white females and another for black females. Some of these people have no business wearing a badge and a gun.

Did you ever hear of the Washington, D.C. officer - a black female - who was arrested for shooting her boyfriend? During the pretrial investigation she was tested and found to have an IQ lower than 75. How the hell did she pass the police exams? Answer - easy, she was black. I had the same problem with some black officers who did not meet standards in their personal biannual evaluations. I backed my sergeant who gave her a lower score and got shot down by my CO. His excuse? He didn't want any problems. Now try to supervise this black chick with an attitude that - "You honky mofo's can't touch me now."

Fredd said...

Sig: yes, things have changed for the worse. The pool from which any police organization draws from for its cadets has gotten dumber and dumber over the years. There are still great number of folks who would make great police officers available, but they are choosing careers that are less dangerous, and pay better.

Solution: jack up the standards and the pay, if any PD wants to compete for the quality of people it requires, and when this is done, that retarded black chick would never have darkened your door. Unfortunately, the pay is determined by each municipality, and that requires acquiescence of the voters. The voters want other things, and we all have to assume that they will tolerate shitty police departments who brutalize them.

What other conclusion can we draw here?

Kid said...

LL @ 5:20, Yes, excellent. Back around 8 years ago when I was still listening to talk radio, a cop came on in Cincinnati and explained how he hired the last 7 Cincy police officers. All black, no one with an IQ over 60, and when he complained to his boss about no one qualified he was told to pick the best 7.

Well, no way to know for sure but I find the 80/20 rule works pretty well. I know plenty of decent cops, and as it happens have never been stopped by a cop who I would complain about.

That said, I've seen several sickening videos of cops murdering blacks in cold blood. Samuel Debose in Cincinnati for example. One where a black guy is running and the cop shoots him in the back more than 6 times and he finally expires.. Disgusting. I think we need over the top sentencing for cops found doing these things. Torture before death comes to mind.

@Brig. People focus on the federal government, but in my mind it is the local public union people who are raping us with telephone poles. Recently. a local 'podunk' school district let 90 administrators and 100 teachers go and called it good. What did those 6 figure administrators do beside bring the donuts. Stunning.