Robert Kirby: Refunding the police

Robert Kirby

Although I am a former police officer and still have family in law enforcement, I have decided it’s time for a change. I am in favor of defunding the police.

Before you cheer or get upset, please know that I am not on or against your side in the matter. I have my own side.

As I understand it — which is not to suggest that I do — the problem is that too much of the public’s money is being used to enforce the law rather than in preventing the breaking of it.

More money should be spent, for example, in treating mental illness of the sort found in newspaper columnists than is spent by having cops jump up and down on them before dragging them off to jail.

Consider the recent arrest of a man for allegedly attempting to drown his wife in the Provo River. There is no reason why the police should have been called. It was a domestic quarrel that could have been handled by a marital counselor dispatched to the scene with a hypodermic filled with something soothing.

Let’s not forget that the police are shooting citizens disproportionately to police being shot by citizens, a matter that certainly seems unfair on its face.

My proposal is to privatize law enforcement. In this way a community would spend money only for the amount of policing it deems necessary. No more wasting money on excessive force, racial profiling, militarizing and training dogs to bite people.

I am currently putting together plans for just such an enforcement company. It will be the first to offer protection coverage based on need.

For example, let’s say that your community’s largest problem is dogs barking at night and juveniles violating curfew.

Under my company’s basic protection plan, our private officers would respond to calls only where a dog won’t shut the hell up so you can get some sleep, or look for your teenage kid who failed to mention that he had run away.

Anything more than that, and you would have to up your coverage, handle it on your own, or call the real police. Assuming, of course, that there are any left.

Our medium protection plan would include neighborhood patrols, business checks, minor first aid, and anything else that the average Boy Scout could do. It would be possible to upgrade this plan by adding a DUI rider, which would allow private officers a red light to pull over drivers suspected of being intoxicated. Rather than the fight and expense of taking them to jail, their keys would be seized and thrown down a convenient storm drain. By the time they fished them back out, they’d be sober.

The full coverage plan would provide highly trained officers willing to put themselves between you and danger.

For example, if you arrived home to find a werewolf wearing your wife’s lingerie and rummaging through your refrigerator, these private officers (who carry only silver bullets) would speed to your address, corner the beast, read him his rights, and then shoot him at least four dozen times.

Note: You’d have to call someone else to remove the corpse and patch the holes in your refrigerator, but peace would be restored.

Granted, this is just a concept in the works. Lots of wrinkles to be worked out. But it could work — especially if we factor in gratuities for prompt and courteous service.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.