Law enforcement is a "product" we are forced to buy
“The police are worthless. I don’t know what we’re paying them for.”
That familiar, despairing lament was voiced by a friend here in Payette after his family had lost $20,000 worth of property a burglary. The crime was solved before the police intervened: Some of the pilfered property was still in possession of the suspects, who admitted that it didn’t belong to them. Working on their own initiative, my friend and his adult daughter — the primary victim — tracked down more of the stolen goods at local yard sales and garage sales.
A phone call to the Payette PD led to a visit by an officer who was courteous, professional, and who provided no practical help of any kind. He did arrest one suspect, a mentally deficient man who readily admitted to the officer that he had taken the property because an unspecified “they” had told him it was “all right” to do so.
Neither the responding officer, nor the colleague who took over the case when the first officer went on vacation, expended any effort to identify who “they” were, or to press charges against the accomplices. The case was closed with the arrest of a solitary man — a registered sex offender — who “became somewhat upset [because] he was the only one who was going to be in trouble for the thefts that occurred, because he was honest,” as an investigative report summarized.