Want a lawless police force? Federalize it

Which brings us to the second problem: These police agencies aren’t very good at policing themselves. But at least there’s the possibility that other police agencies might investigate them more thoroughly. The Secret Service agents in Nashville who requested their phony warrant were busted by the local police chief; the Baltimore police will be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. But unify all these police agencies under one umbrella and they’ll do what guilty bureaucrats tend to do — hide the evidence, then investigate themselves and proclaim themselves blameless.

The third problem with unifying police authority under a national umbrella is that it’s much more prone to political abuse by the party in power. As we’ve seen with the IRS — which, interestingly, shows little interest in frequent White House visitor Al Sharpton’s unpaid taxes — federal bureaucrats are all too willing to serve the interests of their political masters even when doing so violates the law. Putting most law enforcement in the hands of diverse state and local authorities helps limit the potential for abuse. Putting everything under federal control, on the other hand, magnifies it.

Instead, if we’re really serious about increasing law enforcement accountability, we should end civil service protections for federal employees, while outlawing public employee unions. We should also abolish governmental immunity for federal, state, and local employees, forcing them to face civil lawsuits for illegal behavior, just as the rest of us must do.

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