Berkeley to have unarmed civilians perform traffic stops

We’ve long since reached the stage where pointing out something totally insane going on in Berkeley, California is generally received with a combination of yawns and sad, knowing nods of the head. But even with that sort of a track record, the liberal enclave has announced plans for a new “law enforcement” initiative that should still give everyone pause. Having already determined that they need to slash their police budget by a full 50% (because starving the evil cops of funding will clearly cure all of society’s ills), the city is planning to pull actual police officers almost entirely out of the loop from one of their most common and important roles. Instead of having trained, uniformed officers conducting traffic stops, they will be dispatching “unarmed civilian city workers” to handle these chores. And yes, I’ll once again invoke the tired old phrase we’ve all become accustomed to. What could possibly go wrong? (Fox News)

Berkeley, Calif., moved forward with a proposal Wednesday to eliminate police from conducting traffic stops and instead send unarmed civilian city workers.

The proposal is part of a broad overhaul of law enforcement – the City Council has set a goal of cutting the police budget by 50 percent.

The council approved the measure, proposed by Mayor Jesse Arreguin, in a nine-hour virtual meeting ending at 3 a.m.

“For far too long public safety has been equated with more police,” Arreguin said.

The fact that Mayor Jesse Arreguin could, with a straight face, complain about the idea of “public safety being equated with more police” should tell us all we need to know. At the moment, Berkeley is having decisions about law enforcement operations made by people who have no idea of how policing actually works in the real world. And the people who will pay for this foolishness are not generally the ones sitting in City Council meetings.

While the vast majority of traffic stops thankfully unfold without incident, there are some that clearly don’t. I suppose it’s not hard to imagine that the Mayor and the City Council members have all had fairly typical experiences on the rare occasions that they’ve been stopped by the cops. These generally involve some of the following phrases.

Why yes, officer, I have my license and registration right here. Was I doing something wrong?

No, I wasn’t aware of that. I must have been distracted.

Yes, thank you. I’ll certainly be more careful in the future.

It’s certainly possible that an “unarmed civilian city worker” could handle such an encounter with a bit of training. Unfortunately, that’s not how all traffic stops work. That city worker is going to run into a very different situation when he unwittingly pulls over Dwayne “Double Tap” Wheeler, who already missed three meetings with his parole officer, has a kilo of cocaine under the passenger seat, is packing a Glock 17 and knows that if he gets picked up again he’s not going to get out of prison this time until he’s eligible for Social Security. At that point, things tend to go dramatically downhill very rapidly.

If the Mayor doesn’t believe me, he could just ask Washington state police officer Jonathan Shoop. Oh, that’s right… you can’t ask him. Because he’s dead.

The Washington state police officer who was shot and killed following a traffic stop Monday night had long aspired to serve in law enforcement — and just fulfilled that goal last year, his family said.

Jonathan Shoop, a 32-year-old hired by the Bothell Police Department in June 2019, has been identified as the officer who died in the incident that unfolded outside of Seattle.

On Monday of this week, Officer Jonathan Shoop’s day started like any other. He wound up attempting to pull over a vehicle for a routine traffic offense. Moments later he had been gunned down and perished from his wounds. And he was a trained police officer. How well do you think your unarmed civilian city worker would have held up under the circumstances?

Traffic stops tend to involve a lot more than just the simple issuance of tickets for drunks and speeders. Police frequently find evidence of other, more serious crimes when pulling someone over. It’s also a convenient way to identify and bring in people with outstanding warrants. It’s an important part of police work, but none of that comes without risk.

This new plan in Berkely is probably going to last until the first “unarmed civilian city worker” is laid out on the pavement in a growing pool of blood. And then everyone else tasked with that job is going to tell the Mayor and the City Council to go pound sand. At that point, they’ll need to summon the police back to do the job they were trained for. But will there be any cops left to answer the call?