Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex

Good Cop vs. Bad Cop

We’ve all been driving and had to take a double look at a car to make sure it’s not a cop car. When I see a sketchy-looking black Dodge Charger parked somewhere, I often tap my breaks and scan the car for signs that it may be a police car. Although these under-cover police cars are a useful tool to catch speeders and stalk dangerous criminals, they can cause confusion to the public.

Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex
Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex

In my perfect world, I would like to see police cars be marked very clearly. Although this may partly be because I would love to see a police car in case I’m feeling the need for speed, the primary reason is I believe that police are supposed to be protectors. Brightly colored police vehicles would make it much easier for civilians to locate police officers if they’re in need. Under-cover cop cars are sending the wrong message to the public and may be part of why police officers have gotten such a bad reputation.

Recently, there has been little trust put into police officers. With the situation in Ferguson, many are arguing that this country has become a police state. I’ve seen police officers behaving inappropriately myself, but it’s not uncommon to hear about an officer of the law abusing his or her power. Many argue that police should go back to the “serve and protect” days of the past.

It may be easy to point fingers at an officer who abuses their power, but we must look at the bigger picture. Police are required to give out a certain number of tickets and are rewarded for the more perpetrators they ticket or catch. In order to climb the ladder, many police may abuse their power and give unnecessary tickets, obviously causing a lot of distress to the person on the receiving end.

Back in the day if someone was drunk stumbling home, they’d typically be able to get a ride with an officer. I realize that cops aren’t supposed to be babysitters for the publicly drunk, but if they’re just drunk and not causing any harm to anyone, there’s no reason they should be punished. I believe the shame of waking up in the drunk tank would be punishment enough.

Overall I think cops have been steadily getting a worse reputation. Many police officers sincerely enjoy their job and helping others, but for some it’s just a source of income and they only do what’s required of them. I’ve witnessed many police officers doing good, but I’ve also heard some horror stories of officers abusing their power just to meet their quota. We should be able to trust police and not be terrified of them. Their job is to serve and protect the public, not give them a police record for minor infractions.