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01/07/2007 Archived Entry: "Non-fiction: Police as burglars"

I GOT STRUCK BY A PREMISE FOR A STORY. A young woman's house is burglarized. Maybe she's even personally robbed and terrorized at gunpoint. But she doesn't know whether she dares report what happened because she got a glimpse of one of the thieves -- and recognized a local police officer.

Then I realized that premise wouldn't fly these days. Police don't need to join freelance criminal gangs to steal from you. They just give themselves an unknown "confidential informant," get a warrant, and descend on you with 10 or 30 of their buddies, fully armored. Defend yourself and you're dead. Either way, they take whatever they want. Now whether the individual officer profits as much, once the take is taken, is another matter. Maybe some steal from the evidence room, while more "honest" types "merely" get new squad cars, warrantless-detection toys, and kewl paramilitary training from the asset forfeiture divvy.

But either way, they don't have to take the risks of joining any other criminal gang than their own, these days. Sigh. There goes another great story idea ...

Posted by Claire @ 04:16 PM CST

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