Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.

Long-time advocates of police reform are pushing for a broader, tougher look at what they say is a big reason it’s so hard to get rid of bad cops:

Police unions.

The Manhattan Institute’s Daniel DiSalvo writes that these unions are not interested in making policing better or officers more attentive to community needs. Instead, they are concerned with job security, higher wages and bigger pensions. The result is a culture that protects bad apples from accountability:

In Baltimore and other cities, labor contracts allow — or even require — expunging officers’ records of past disciplinary actions or accusations of misconduct. In Cleveland, a Justice Department investigation into the police department was stymied because the union contract required the deletion of disciplinary records every two years. At their most benign, these policies deprive supervisors of accurate personnel files, making effective management — and organizational change — impossible. In more troubling circumstances, they allow cops who have violated the public trust to take police jobs in new cities without any record of their past infractions.

It’s not a new problem, and it’s also widespread. George Mason University’s Alex Tabarrock wrote:

In 50 cities and 13 states, for example, union contracts “restrict interrogations by limiting how long an officer can be interrogated, who can interrogate them, the types of questions that can be asked, and when an interrogation can take place.” In Virginia police officers have a right to at least a five-day delay before being interrogated. In Louisiana police officers have up to 30 days during which no questioning is allowed and they cannot be questioned for sustained periods of time or without breaks. In some cities, police officers can only be interrogated during work hours. Regular people do not get these privileges.

That last bit bears repeating: “Regular people do not get these privileges.”

Image Credit: By Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons