If we won’t help, why should police protect and serve us?

George Orwell said, in so many words:

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Those “rough men” aren’t only soldiers.  Police fit that description too, and are indispensable in any modern society.  However . . . if the society for and within which they work won’t support them, why should they “stand ready” on its behalf?

That’s a question law enforcement officers in California must be asking themselves today.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill striking down a law that makes it a crime to refuse a police officer’s request for help.

The California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872 made it a misdemeanor for any “able-bodied person 18 years of age or older” to refuse a police officer’s call for assistance in making an arrest.

. . .

Senate Bill 192, sponsored by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, removes the law from the books. Hertzberg called the law “a vestige of a bygone era” that subjects citizens to “an untenable moral dilemma.”

The bill was opposed by the California State Sheriff’s Association, which said in a statement, “There are situations in which a peace officer might look to private persons for assistance in matters of emergency or risks to public safety and we are unconvinced that this statute should be repealed.”

Newsom did not issue a statement when he signed the bill into law.

There’s more at the link.

So, an officer pursuing a dangerous suspect may get into a fight, possibly involving lethal weapons.  He’s fighting for his life, possibly against multiple opponents;  yet the citizens he’s sworn to protect and serve are no longer obliged to do anything except look on passively, watching as he’s injured or killed, even if he screams for help?  Is this today’s light entertainment, or something?

If I were a cop in California, this would be all the incentive I needed to pack my bags and head for a state, and a community, that offered me more support to protect and serve them.



  1. Lacking the protection of qualified immunity I'd be very hesitant to jump in and assist the police.

    Couple that with their unions demanding monopoly on everything they do… They shut us out of helping them, on purpose, so they don't get to cry that we stopped.

  2. I have only once met a police officer who wasn’t polite. That said, there is something seriously wrong with the police culture across the country. The angry resistance to being recorded is a symptom. So is the use of militarized dynamic entry tactics to serve trivial (and in at least one recent case, fraudulent) warrants. So is the tendency of local authority to respond to criticism of the latest clusterfuck with the statement ‘all relevant procedures were followed’ as if that meant anything other than that the idiot who wrote the procedures needs to be fired, too.

    Eliminate all but the most stringently tested ‘qualified immunity’, start assuming in court that if there should be video and there isn’t then the cops are lying, restrict ‘no knock’ warrants and dynamic entry raids one hell of a lot more, and you’ll have a start.

    Oh, and start jailing prosecutors who hide evidence. Not a cop issue, but part of the overall problem.

    I want to trust and support the cops, and Black Lives Splatter is a concatenation of dim bulbs and Black Quislings. But some major Law Enforcement reform is needed.

  3. All of the above posters are correct. I would also add:

    The cops of this country set themselves apart by pushing for LEOSA, thus making themselves apart from the rest of us. They did this to themselves.

  4. Well Peter, asking some man or woman in Cali who wears that funny pink hat (all mostly do there, including the governor) for aid in such a situation would bring nothing more than asking a fire plug to do the same. The repeal is nothing more than recognizing reality. I hope that no such thing is true here in Texas or ever will be.

  5. Angus McThag is right on target. Without qualified immunity, you are taking a real risk when you get directly involved in an arrest.

    Take this hypothetical situation for example: You are on the street when you happen upon an officer arresting another individual. Some force is required and the police request your help. You help, and the arrest is successful, but the arrestee is injured in the process. The arrestee then sues the city, the policeman – AND YOU!

    He wins the case. The city pays, the policeman has qualified immunity and you?? You're out big bucks both for your own defense and the eventual payout.

    No thank you.

    PS: Divemedic, what is LEOSA?

    PPS: Peter, I'll bet you didn't expect this much push back, did you?

  6. They don't have a duty to act in our behalf, we don't have a duty to help them…. Seems right to me.

    Now, change the base assumption about law enforcement's duty to protect (not just take statements and file reports) and you might see a change in attitude.

  7. LEOSA means Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act; it's intent was to allow 'qualified' Law Enforcement Officers, both active and retired, to carry concealed in any jurisdiction, regardless of state or local laws. I think it's a swell idea…provided we change three words; 'Law Enforcement Officers' should be changed to Free Citizens. The bill should also provide for the expenditure of one million dollars on paper towels to mop up exploding Lefty heads.

  8. Morons.

    If a cop asks me for help and I am in a position to do so… I will, without question.

    Our cop haters can chew on this other scenario: when some vibrant Dindu is beating you to a bloody green pulp, or there’s a chimp-out in your neighbourhood because racism… when the call comes in for the cop to respond… he goes on with his donut and coffee instead. Why should he bother?

    Say what you want, any way you cut it you are ultimately going to get exactly the law enforcement you deserve.

    1. No recourse for asset forfeiture…
      Speed traps and consequent tickets for 2 miles over…
      Blanket (Qualified) immunity…
      The blue wall of silence protecting the bullies that hide behind a badge…
      It really is an us vs them culture now.
      The Miranda warning says nothing about exoneration.
      Just an observation from an old man that's seen a few circumstances in life.

  9. I think for me it would depend on the jurisdiction. If my local campus cops need help, sure. If it's the local city PD or even the county sheriff, that's fine too. Them I can trust. On the other hand, if I'm downtown, that's a whole other ball of wax. Houston PD recently made an ungodly mess of things with a totally bogus drug raid that left two innocent people dead. It stunk to high heaven from day one, and has gotten worse since. HPD are on their own, as far as I'm concerned, because I can't trust that the arrest the cop is attempting is justified or legal.

    When the Law-man screws up due process, everyone loses.

  10. There is nothing about the legislation that mandates that you MAY NOT act to assist an officer, only that you cannot be punished for not doing so. I like to think that I *would* aid an Officer in Distress upon request, though I cannot be sure unless and until the situation arises, and of course it would depend on the circumstances of the incident.

    That said, I can understand, and sympathize somewhat with the points made above – If police aren't required to provide protection *to me*, why should I be required to assist *them* and what would my status be regarding immunity? If I am coming to the aid of an officer in distress at his request, does that constitute my being a 'deputy' and thus covered by LEO immunity?

  11. I was visiting a friend who was a volunteer ambulance driver in a rural town. He got a call about an accident involving a Semi rig. I asked if wanted my help as an extra body, he said yes so I rode the ambulance out to the scene. There was a Highway Patrol officer already on-scene and he was trying to control traffic by himself and not succeeding all that well. I asked if I could help and he gratefully said yes. So I grabbed a flare went up the road about a half mile and started slowing traffic. Didn't need a law, I just volunteered, can't imagine not doing that.

  12. It's an old issue. It's said the movie Rio Bravo was made in partial reaction to the community failure depicted in High Noon. Northfield and Coffeeville are historical examples of community involvement in dealing with criminal activity.

  13. When the police re-embrace Peel's rules of policing, I'll be happy to assist them.

    Deputize me and protect me legally, or bugger off.

  14. I hate police, law enforcement, sherrif whatever you want to call them. They are all arrogant lying lazy pricks. I wouldn't piss on one to put them out if they were on fire. If they want to go home so bad then become an accountant. I have needed them a few times in my past, took threats of 15 lawyers to get them to do their job. My grandsons called 911 when someone tried to run them over, assholes wouldn't send a car. So piss on these people, I will take care of me and mine.

  15. I think it has to do with how we perceive police. In my culture, policemen are members of the community who have volunteered and are empowered to protect the community he is part of. For this job he is trained and endowed with the symbols and tools of law (i.e. badge and gun)to enforce the law equally. In return for such authority, he vows to enforce the law, and protect and defend the community at any and all costs, conscious of the fact that he may have to lay down his life in the pursuit of that mission. There is a saying that if your son or husband is a policeman or soldier you are aware that he is half stepping on solid ground and half stepping on his grave. There is no talk of "at the end of the day, we go home to our family safe". Thus the community is respectful and proud of their police, and will not hesitate to assist the police when needed, considering they are helping their own sons.

  16. When I read comments by people like Angus I understand why California is the shithole it is. A complete and utter moral sewer without a single virtue but having every sin one can imagine. Without any God one normally accepts except that made of gold. Such sentiments demonstrate a citizenry that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    Thank God Texas would shun such a pox ridden creature.

  17. A small town police force outside of New Orleans knocked on every door during the Katrina fiasco and asked if the residents had bangy weapons. If the answer was "Yes" they were asked to raise their right hand and were sworn in as deputies. Because it made the local news that small town remained safe from looting and break ins.

  18. I've voluntarily helped a cop cuff a drunk driver, under similar circumstances I'd do it again. But there are laws I won't willingly help enforce–"Help me arrest him, he's got an 11 round magazine!"

  19. Since it is settled law that the police can stand by and watch as their fellow Americans are being assaulted, raped or killed in front of them, with no legal obligation to respond…

    And since, in California, if I defend myself against any of the above, with lethal force, those same police will come to haul me off to prison.

    I call it gander sauce.

    And I suspect many of the police with a conscience have already left.

    This is one of those cases where no amount of law can make up for the lack of honor and decency in the hearts of police and citizen alike. Welcome to Africa-in-America.

    As for America that is still America: Folks help their neighbours. Some of whom are cops.

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