Do you need another reason to despise the cops?


They are happy to give you one.

Police officers were among the first front-line workers to gain priority access to coronavirus vaccines. But their vaccination rates are lower than or about the same as those of the general public, according to data made available by some of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies.

The reluctance of police to get the shots threatens not just their own health, but also the safety of people they’re responsible for guarding, monitoring and patrolling, experts say.

At the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, just 39 percent of employees have gotten at least one dose, officials said, compared to more than 50 percent of eligible adults nationwide. In Atlanta, 36 percent of sworn officers have been vaccinated. And a mere 28 percent of those employed by the Columbus Division of Police — Ohio’s largest police department — report having received a shot.

It makes no sense. I was anxiously waiting for my turn to be vaccinated, and when the opportunity came, I was out the door like a shot and standing in line. I want to reduce my risk. But the police, who are presumably dealing with the general public every day, don’t?

The numbers paint a troubling picture of policing and public health. Because officers have high rates of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions, their hesitancy puts them at greater risk of serious illness from the coronavirus while also undermining force readiness, experts said. Police officers were more likely to die of covid-19 last year than of all other causes combined, according to data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Right. The police are quick to inflate the dangers of their profession to justify more money and more guns, but here’s a demonstrable, active risk, and they do nothing.

If they’re not going to pay any attention to rational priorities, defund the police. Fire the people who are supposed to reduce risk, but instead inflame conflict at every opportunity. That they won’t even get vaccinated is just one more example of systemic irresponsibility.

Citizens keep calling for reform, especially in the big cities, but nothing happens. If you wonder why, here’s a dismaying article about why Democratic mayors don’t take action against the police. It’s the money.

Let’s play SimCity. You won the race; you’re mayor. You’re an ambitious type who probably does want to help. But you’ve been in the big chair for a minute. You’ve burned hours and hours meeting with the rich, cutting ribbons for the rich, taking calls from the rich. You figured out by week 2 why your predecessors didn’t do the nice things they promised. You don’t answer to anyone whose first fear is the cops.

Yes, you could sub in a grab bag of psych professionals, social workers, EMTs, transit workers, firefighters, unarmed investigators, whatever. But that won’t cut it for the key funders of your town’s police foundation: Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Wells Fargo, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Chevron, Coke. The rich don’t just oppose defunding. Like NCAA boosters, they fund their team directly. Police unions are vocal; this gang is not. But these are the constituents who keep police budgets safe—and who top them up.

So you don’t feel pressure to make a real offer on cop budgets. The people demanding it pose no electoral threat. What are they going to do—vote Republican? You do not take them seriously. You are genuinely scared of urban revolt, but only from the folks who scare you. The ones at Goldman, BlackRock, Wells Fargo, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Chevron, Coke. (Google any of those names next to “mayor.”)

These are your friends—if you deliver. You know them well from their threats to leave town, nailing you to the wall for yet more tax breaks. And from your attempts at paying them to come over. And if they make your constituents a little, well, broke, or if their services cost more than you can afford, they’ve still got your loyalty (and pensions). When they get regulated, you’re right there to rail against it. If you’re lucky, they might hire you later.

Capitalism sucks, and it sure does undermine democracy.

Comments

  1. birgerjohansson says

    The article by Daniel Moattar inevitably leads me to recall “Boss”, a surprisingly disillusioned TV series about a big-city mayor.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Jon Oliver, last night on his news review, Last Week Tonight addressed the profound volume of people reluctant to vaccinate. Many from doubt more than being hard anti. I see it as a form of inability to do risk assessment, focusing on extremely small risks while ignoring larger risks. I want to be sure the vaccine is absolutely safe, focusing on the 1:1,000,000 (one in a million, literally) chance of blood clot from J&J , and ignoring the 1:1000 (one in a thousand) risk of dying from COVID.

    Which is similar, I guess, to cops focusing on the rare chance of the black man being armed instead of the white men speeding past well over the speed limit.

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    slithey tove @:

    I see it as a form of inability to do risk assessment, focusing on extremely small risks while ignoring larger risks

    Yeah, humans can be really crappy at risk assessment. I wonder how many blokes take Viagra without a second’s thought while worrying about AstraZeneca or J&J. The risk of serious side effects is much worse for Viagra. Maybe they just think life without an erection isn’t worth living, but I suspect it has more to do with the media focusing on vaccine side effects, and the sheer number of people taking the vaccines at the same time.

    It’s weirdly ironic. The more people take AZ or J&J, the more reports there’ll be of clotting complications, the more reluctant some people will be to take them. Of course, what’s important is the number of lives saved and people not needing IC, but that’s not sexy news.

  4. raven says

    FYI, there is an alternative for public safety in addition to the police.
    This is more like what they mean when they call for “defunding the police”.
    .1. Eugene, Oregon has the CAHOOTS program.
    .2. Which is, “The program mobilizes two-person teams consisting of a medic (a nurse, paramedic, or EMT) and a crisis worker who has substantial training and experience in the mental health field.
    .3. They do, “The CAHOOTS teams deal with a wide range of mental health-related crises, including conflict resolution, welfare checks, substance abuse, suicide threats, and more, relying on trauma-informed de-escalation and harm reduction techniques.

    .4. The program saves the city of Eugene an estimated $8.5 million in public safety spending annually.
    The program works.

    https://whitebirdclinic.org/what-is-cahoots

    What is CAHOOTS?
    31 years ago the City of Eugene, Oregon developed an innovative community-based public safety system to provide mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction. White Bird Clinic launched CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) as a community policing initiative in 1989.

    The CAHOOTS model has been in the spotlight recently as our nation struggles to reimagine public safety. The program mobilizes two-person teams consisting of a medic (a nurse, paramedic, or EMT) and a crisis worker who has substantial training and experience in the mental health field. The CAHOOTS teams deal with a wide range of mental health-related crises, including conflict resolution, welfare checks, substance abuse, suicide threats, and more, relying on trauma-informed de-escalation and harm reduction techniques. CAHOOTS staff are not law enforcement officers and do not carry weapons; their training and experience are the tools they use to ensure a non-violent resolution of crisis situations. They also handle non-emergent medical issues, avoiding costly ambulance transport and emergency room treatment.

    A November 2016 study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine estimated that 20% to 50% of fatal encounters with law enforcement involved an individual with a mental illness. The CAHOOTS model demonstrates that these fatal encounters are not inevitable. Last year, out of a total of roughly 24,000 CAHOOTS calls, police backup was requested only 150 times.

    The cost savings are considerable. The CAHOOTS program budget is about $2.1 million annually, while the combined annual budgets for the Eugene and Springfield police departments are $90 million. In 2017, the CAHOOTS teams answered 17% of the Eugene Police Department’s overall call volume. The program saves the city of Eugene an estimated $8.5 million in public safety spending annually.

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    Yet another case of Conservative Risk Assessment Principle, in short CRAP: “A person who is an Other is a threat. Nothing else is a threat, unless it’s perpetrated by an Other or threatens the Hierarchy.”

  6. raven says

    The leading cause of police deaths last year wasn’t getting killed in a gun battle.
    It was catching the Covid-19 virus and dying from it.

    AFAICT, all the anti-vaxxers will eventually get the Covid-19 virus, get sick, and maybe die or have a 10% chance of becoming a long hauler.
    This virus is very transmissable and it is everywhere.

    We are already seeing that.
    On a medical worker forum, those treating Covid-19 patients have been seeing a shift. The patients are now younger. Quite a few of them are Covid-19 virus deniers who won’t wear masks and have refused to be vaccinated. It’s quite common for them to deny being infected with the nonexistent virus, even right before they…die from it.

  7. microraptor says

    Well, that article on Democratic mayors really sums up Portland’s “Teargas Ted” Wheeler.

  8. numerobis says

    raven: On a medical worker forum, those treating Covid-19 patients have been seeing a shift. The patients are now younger

    That’s not exactly surprising. Young people haven’t in most places been able to access vaccine until recently, if even yet. Some of my friends went to the Walgreens down the street but many others drove hours each way — which is something a young person in a shitty job is going to have trouble doing.

  9. raven says

    Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe
    NYTimes May 3, 2021

    Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.

    Instead, they are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers.

    Latest headline.
    The NYtimes claims the USA will probably never get to herd immunity.
    With the new more transmissable mutants, the threshold for immunity is estimated to be 80%.
    At least 25% of the US population won’t get vaccinated.
    And right now we aren’t even vaccinating children under 16.

    The main anti-vax group is white fundie xian Trump voters.
    They are why we can’t have nice things like a normal society where you can go somewhere without risking your life catching a potentially lethal virus.

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    … officers have high rates of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions…

    Blue Lives Matter: shut down donut shops!

  11. whheydt says

    Perhaps a way to make a self-correcting response… Make getting vaccinated a job requirement. The ardent refusniks will have to quit the force. What are the chances that those are the problem cops to start with?

    As for vaccine uptake… My wife and I are over a month past our second shots, so we’re about as protected as we’ll get (and we both use masks when out of the house). Our daughter and son-in-law are both due to get their second shots tomorrow. All 4 of us are looking forward to the day when vaccines are approved for under-16s, as our grandson is 13. When he can get the shots,

  12. whheydt says

    Arggghhhh…

    When he can get the shots, he’ll get scheduled as soon as possible.

  13. says

    Here’s another reason to hate the cops. Such brave macho men congrutaling themselves for attacking a 73 year old woman with dementia. The only question for me is why these fascist thugs have not been arrested and are not facing trial for their disgusting behaviour.

    “Police video shows officers joking about violent arrest of Colorado woman”
    In police station surveillance video, three Loveland police officers can be seen reviewing body-cam film of the arrest.
    Austin Hopp, the arresting officer who bent Garner’s arm behind her back as she bent over a patrol car, can be heard to tell fellow officers: “Ready for the pop?” Two officers are seen to exchange a fist bump. As another joins them, they are heard to say the arrest “went great”. Earlier in the video, Hopp says Garner was “flexible”.

    “We crushed it,” one of the officers says, in the nearly hour-long footage. Near the end of the footage, Hopp says Garner is the first person on whom he has used a hobble restraint. “I was super excited,” he says. “I was like, ‘All right, let’s wrestle, girl. Let’s wreck it!’ I got her on the ground and all that stuff. I got her cuffed up … threw her on the ground a couple of times.”
    He adds: “I can’t believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/27/colorado-walmart-karen-garner-loveland-police-arrest

  14. magistramarla says

    What amazes me is that many of these people have no problem at all with submitting to a drug test before employment, and often during employment to keep the job. I don’t know about other states, but in Texas, that is true of everything from the teen-aged clerk at the convenience store to the highly technical software architect job that my son just began.
    (Quest and LabCorp must be making a bundle!)
    When I was hired to teach in Texas, I was required to be tested for TB and to update my vaccinations before I could be in classrooms with young people and their germs.
    If the COVID vaccine matter-of-factly became a requirement for employment and/or retention, it seems to me that they would be lining up.

  15. mnb0 says

    “Capitalism sucks, and it sure does undermine democracy.”
    Democracy? What democracy?

  16. raven says

    If the COVID vaccine matter-of-factly became a requirement for employment and/or retention, it seems to me that they would be lining up.

    They will be moving that way sooner or later.

    BusinessInsider:
    An unvaccinated worker at a Kentucky nursing home set off a coronavirus outbreak, killing 3 residents Ashley Collman Apr 22, 2021, 5:29 AM

    An unvaccinated, symptomatic worker
    The outbreak was traced to an unvaccinated, symptomatic healthcare worker, who then spread the virus to 46 residents and workers at the facility, the CDC report said.

    Of the 26 residents who tested positive, 18 had been fully vaccinated, the report said. Four of the 20 health care workers who tested positive were also fully vaccinated.

    Three residents died in the outbreak, one of whom was fully vaccinated, the CDC said.

    One of the residents who died had contracted COVID-19 about 10 months prior, the report said. It is not clear if this resident had been vaccinated.

    The investigators found that the vaccine proved mostly effective at stopping symptomatic COVID-19 cases and curbing hospitalizations. More than 86% of the fully-vaccinated residents who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic, compared to more than 87% of health care workers.

    How many times will we see outbreaks caused by unvaccinated workers that kill people before we do something about it?
    This worker infected 46 people, 3 of whom died.
    One of the people who died was vaccinated.
    The vaccines are highly effective but breakthrough infections happen and rarely, are fatal.

  17. Artor says

    While we’re examining the professionality of cops, here’s another case: Trigger Warning, it’s pretty bad, and there’s video. A cop had a case of road rage and fired into a moving car with a baby in the back seat, then murdered the man when he got out to check on his bleeding wife. He claimed the victim waved a gun at him, but of course there was no gun, because cops are liars.

    https://thefreethoughtproject.com/austin-cop-road-rage-shooting/

  18. says

    The SimCity thing is not a surprise. After all, it’s been going on at the national level for decades, too — when Democrats control the White House and/or Congress, there are either no moves put forward to cut funding for the military* or else they are roundly defeated with a majority of Democrats coming down in favor of spending. (Sanders tried twice last year to cut military spending. Kamala Harris voted against both measures. Most progressive administration in history, folks!) Subsidies to fossil fuel companies are never cut, either. Wall street gets bailed out, banks holding bad mortgages they granted on unreasonable, predatory terms get bailed out — homeowners given predatory mortgages do not. Auto makers get bailed out — or, at least, their management does; the workers unilaterally lose their benefits despite union negotiations. The police get even more money from the fed, supposedly for “training” but actually for salaries. Minimum wage continues to stagnate, tax cuts for the rich passed by Republicans are cemented ever further — although sometimes there’s some theater about raising taxes, inevitably in ways which the rich will immediately circumvent. (The current attempt, for instance, is estimated to be dodged by 90% of rich people right from the start, before the accountants get to work on it.)

    *The U.S. military produces more carbon emissions than most countries, and has the single largest amount of carbon emissions of any non-national entity. If you are concerned about climate change, you ought to automatically want to cut the U.S. military.

    If Democratic loyalists — and there are a lot of them on this board, professing to be upset about all this stuff — actually cared about any of this, then Democrats who did this would have no future in the party and they’d be weeded out and there would actually be serious opposition to all these ongoing disasters. If nothing else before that had done it, the Iraq War vote would have killed the careers of 3 out of the 4 Democratic Presidential candidates we’ve had since then (Kerry, Clinton, and Biden). Instead, the loyalists always produce a stream of special pleading about why it doesn’t matter that the party officially supports people with a track record of making the worst decisions possible and enabling Republicans, and things get steadily worse on every front because we end up with two parties with the same legislative goals. Biden is in the middle of walking back any of his promises which were progressive (remember when we were going to stop helping the Yemen genocide?) and laughing up his sleeve while Manchin kills some of it for him so he doesn’t have to take the PR hit; meanwhile he has declared May Day — internationally the anti-authoritarian laborer’s holiday — to be “Loyalty Day”. Totally progressive! Not creepy authoritarianism at all!

  19. Rob Grigjanis says

    Artor @21: For some reason I only see gibberish when I click on your link (my browser sometimes does that), but I found another one;

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/video-shows-texas-officer-fatally-shoot-man-front-his-girlfriend-n1265696

    The cop who killed Gonzales wasn’t the (off-duty) one who originally shot at him. It was an on-duty cop responding to the scene. So, un-professionality squared.

    And the killer cop’s lawyers don’t want video footage released. Of course.

  20. consciousness razor says

    If they’re not going to pay any attention to rational priorities, defund the police.

    Much better.

  21. says

    And with the fifty-first anniversary of even less qualified “police” tomorrow, one must accept that Hizzonah dah Mayah was right: “The purpose of the police is not to create disorder, it is to preserver disorder.”

    That said, part of the problem with police forces is the century-plus-long history of abuse of rank-and-file police by elected officials and patronage appointees. (This is a partial explanation for attitude, not an excuse.) Which, bluntly, hasn’t improved a whole helluva lot in a lot of cities; for example, in Chicago the Daley family still has and exerts power. Abusive conduct and tactics by certain unions looks just like how those groups of workers were treated by management before the union; they learned their lessons all too well.

  22. favog says

    Re risk assessment: a coworker of mine was telling about how a third coworker was hesitant to get the vaccine because it might interfere with her ability to have children in the future. I immediately asked how many kids she expects to have if she’s dead.

  23. numerobis says

    Death isn’t the likeliest negative outcome; long COVID is.

    But indeed, how many kids are you having if you’re having brain fog and fatigue and so on.

  24. KG says

    we end up with two parties with the same legislative goals – The Vicar@22

    Since this obviously hasn’t happened, and one only needs to glance at the past few months to confirm that fact, I conclude once more that you are completely delusional, and therefore nothing you say should be taken seriously.

  25. captainjack says

    KG @ #28
    Vicar’s posts are so repetitive and predictable I skip them entirely. It’d be nice if there was a pie filter I could apply.

  26. tinkerer says

    captainjack @ 29

    “Vicar’s posts are so repetitive and predictable I skip them entirely. It’d be nice if there was a pie filter I could apply.”

    I use “Blog Comment Killfile” extension to block posts from Vicar and GerrardofTitanServer. I gave up reading anything from either of them a long time ago and it saves having to scroll past their repetitive screeds. I use Firefox but I think it’s available for other browsers as well.

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