Police: Duty, Responsibility, Efficiency?

The court system in the US has ruled on many occasions that police, schools, the state, etc. have no duty to protect its constituents. This actually runs in direct opposition to what anti-gun folks would have you believe: that the police will save your hind quarters. They *can* do it, but they are under no obligation (other than their personal morals) to do so. Here are some legal citations for you:

  • Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748
  • Barillari v. City of Milwaukee 533 N.W.2d 759
  • Bowers v. DeVito 686 F.2d 616
  • DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services 489 U.S. 189
  • Ford v. Town of Grafton 693 N.E.2d 1047
  • Warren v. District of Columbia 444 A.2d 1 — “…a government and its agencies are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen…”
  • Riss v. New York, 22 N.Y.2d 579,293 N.Y.S.2d 897, 240 N.E.2d 806
  • Lynch v. N.C. Dept. of Justice, 376 S.E. 2nd 247 — “Law enforcement agencies and personnel have no duty to protect individuals from the criminal acts of others; instead their duty is to preserve the peace and arrest law breakers for the protection of the general public.”
  • Zeling v. County of Los Angeles, 02 S.O.S. 2400

I’m sure that there are a lot of others. The reason that I mention this is that there is a large segment of the US population that believes that the cops are somehow legally bound to save your bacon. They are not. If they happen to get there in time to prevent something really bad from happening, good for them. However, their mandate is protecting the general welfare, not the individual version. In very basic terms, it also means that the individual is primarily responsible for themselves. The Palm Bay, Florida police department seems to have recognized this component. They have proposed a cost cutting policy that would suspend investigation of crimes involving victim’s stupidity.

If you leave your garage door open all day and somebody comes and steals your lawnmower or tools… you’ll get a case number, but no unit will roll to investigate. If you leave your car unlocked in your driveway and it gets vandalized or stolen… same deal. At some point, folks do need to participate in protecting themselves, right?


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