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What Became of Catching Crooks?


I've blogged before about opaque phrases like "smart on crime"  --  phrases that have no very obvious definition, but that inevitably turn out to mean a bunch of proposals to empty the prisons or not put anyone in them to start with. 

A first cousin of "smart on crime" is "smart policing."  I have been largely unable to tell what that means, but being a suspicious man, I've had an inkling it means something bad.  Today I think I got a clue, courtesy of this story.  It seems that a police captain is suing the deputy chief for directing him to order his officers to attend a not-entirely-conventional event at the local mosque:

 A Tulsa police captain has filed a federal lawsuit claiming his civil rights were violated after he was reassigned and placed under investigation for refusing to order officers to attend a voluntary social event at a mosque.


The events leading to the lawsuit started last week when members of the Tulsa Police Department were invited to attend a "Law Enforcement Appreciation Day" at the Islamic Center of Tulsa.  It was advertised as a social gathering featuring food, an opportunity to watch a Muslim prayer service, and an invitation to join lectures on beliefs, human rights and women.

According to [Fields' attorney], no one responded to the invitations and no one volunteered. The following day, Fields received a directive ordering him to find officers to attend.

Now your guess is as good as mine as to what this is actually about.  It's no doubt a good thing for the police to know their community.  But you have to wonder what's going on when they're ordered to watch the prayer service of a particular religion, and to participate in lectues about whatever Islamic religious leaders think of "human rights" and "women."  What would the reaction be if the police were ordered to do the exact same thing, except in a speaking-in-tongues, evangelical Christian church?

When I was growing up, the cops were supposed to catch crooks, and that was about it.  On the other hand, when I was growing up, it was a long, long time ago.  No one had heard of sensitivity training, political correctness, or "smart policing."



Other good coded lingo includes "having a dialogue about X." I've been told, however, that the new trend is "having a conversation" because a dialogue is too vague.

Good catch, Steve. "Dialogue" is almost always code for a discussion in which bad ideas will predominate.

Another one is "partnership," as in, "We need a public-private partnership to address the X crisis" (and it's always a "crisis," never just a problem).

The "public-private partnership" inevitably turns out to be overwhelmed by the "public" part. The "private" part turns out to be a bunch of vain and/or clueless businessmen allowing themselves to be trotted out as cover for some perverse expansion of government.

Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if, lurking in the background here, there was a "public-private partnership" to "facilitate dialogue" on an occasion to be called, say, "Law Enforcement Appreciation Day." This would be so that the cops invited (or is that ordered?) to attend could begin their "smart policing" by being introduced to the "root causes" of terrorism. All this over smiley-faced banter, sandwiches and snacks.

And no -- just to avert the coming finger-waving -- I am certainly NOT saying that all Muslims, or anything close to all Muslims, are terrorists or sympathize with them. Most Muslims are, to the contrary, peaceable people who want the same things everybody else does, i.e., a prosperous life and a better chance for their kids.

Nonetheless, it simply blinks reality to think that PC is not gushing to embrace Islam (see, e.g., the long, outraged reaction to some obscure pastor's nonsense proposal to burn the Koran), and it has done so without making any very determined effort to distinguish the large, peaceful and productive majority of Muslims from anyone else. We can't make al Qaeda disappear by "Law Enforcement Appreciation Day" or other forms of kumbayah camp meetings. We are going to have to get serious.

It's impossible to believe that an order requiring cops to attend a Muslim religious service could spring from anything other than this kind of PC on steroids. When I was an AUSA, for example, I cannot imagine being ordered to attend a church of any kind for a function of any kind. And, as I suggested in the post, such an order would still be unthinkable today -- if it did not have the blustery winds of PC at its back.

In probation, we use terms such as motivational interviewing or evidence based practices, although we very seldom see any evidence. And if by some chance someone does produce evidence, it is usually some study funded by an anti-incarceration foundation.

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