The Disturbing Messages in Police Recruiting VideosBy Radley Balko
Apr. 17, 2014
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According to the New Mexico Watchdog Web site, this is a new recruiting video being used by the police department in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Note the aspects of policing the video emphasizes: Shooting stuff. K-9 enforcement. Nabbing the bad guys. The SWAT team. This is the first step in the process.
(There’s also the separate but related question of why Hobbs -- a town of 35,000 people -- needs a SWAT team in the first place. As the Watchdog reports, the SWAT team has its own page on the Hobbs department Web site, complete with a video of SWAT cops shooting and destroying things, set to heavy metal music. The statement in the video that “The rules of engagement of SWAT are simple: Defeat the enemy . . . any way you can” is also troubling. The mission of a SWAT team ought to be to resolve volatile situations without force and violence whenever possible.)
Note, too, what’s missing from the recruiting video: Public service. Cops walking beats. Community policing. Helping people.
Now ask yourself: What sort of person would be attracted to a career in law enforcement based on the images and activities depicted in that video? And is that the sort of person you’d want wearing a badge and carrying a gun in your neighborhood?