So that sets up a problem for today’s movement against police abuses, which is if you build political pressure to show results – as measured by police officers convicted or subjected to discipline, how do you prevent this from empowering police corruption to clean house of dissidents, to support and approval from the very media and nonprofit watchdogs who take it as their duty to fight corruption? (God knows pressuring the police to show numbers has yielded less than stellar outcomes before.)
Because honestly, that strikes me as the path of least resistance. Crackdowns can be and are co-opted. … So how do you prevent that?
As far as I can tell the cop answer to both these questions is “Unions.” Which, that’s a point! The things cop unions do that reformers don’t like – reflexively defend all officers in all situations, fund legal defenses and media campaigns more full-throated and perp-smearing than a body subject to official pressure and using public funds might? Appeal to notions of solidarity to get other officers to use their positions and expertise to support the defense even in the face of management directives? Negotiate contracts that include high baseline pay and benefits, and provisions that make it difficult to establish cases against officers? Those are all felt, by cops, as safeguards against police corruption, and as much as that’s used as a convenient stalking horse there is something there. So what do you do about that?
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 6, 2016