A Practical Solution: Run Police Departments Like Fire Departments

This is probably the best idea for reducing police brutality/unnecessary killings, along with police state intrusions generally. Some libertarians/ancaps suggest replacing public police with private police. They have that in some areas of Latin America, and police are merely mercenaries for the rich (kind of like our public police). Some left-anarchists and other leftists have suggested glorified neighborhood watches, but that was what led to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman situation. It seems the “fire department model” would be best for any kind of policing, whether public, private or volunteer/non-profit. The main argument against what is being proposed in this article would be the issue of crime prevention. If there are no police patrols, and home invasion robbers know they won’t get caught until the police are called and arrive at the scene, they may become bolder. Although there have been home invasion robberies in my area even with both municipal and campus police everywhere so maybe it doesn’t matter. Also, conventional police responses need to be limited to conventional crimes (like armed robberies, burglaries, and homicides). It would be better if there were domestic violence squads, mental health squads, and overdose squads that were sent to deal with these kinds of situations, and which would be more like EMTs in the sense of being specifically trained to deal with crisis situations that don’t involve conventional criminal activity but are rooted in crisis situations involving physical or mental health. If necessary, armed security people could be present in such situations, but they would be subordinate to the trained professionals on the scene.

By Tom Mullen


Do you lie awake at night in constant fear a fire will break out and nothing will be done to put it out?

For the 99% of the population not suffering from pyrophobia or a similar neurosis, the answer to that question is “no,” even though firefighters aren’t patrolling the streets in their big red trucks. They still manage to arrive at the scene of a fire within minutes of an emergency call.

Why can’t police departments be run the same way?

If they were, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and Sandra Bland would be alive today. All three encountered police doing what would be considered outlandish for any other institution charged with public safety: roaming the streets, looking for trouble.

No one had called 911 asking for protection from Scott, Gray or Bland. No judges had issued warrants for their arrests. All three were, at least at the time of their arrests, just walking or driving down the street, minding their own business. They were detained in what are generally considered “routine” but are in reality wholly unnecessary encounters with police.


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