We don’t need police. Here’s how we can do without them.

Photo credit: Chris Huggins

Photo credit: Chris Huggins

The cops are out of control. So much so that some of us are dreaming of a post-police world. Well, there’s no more need to dream. Wake up. It’s happening right before our eyes. And it’s about time. The police have gotten so far away from their purported role of protecting the people that more often than not they have ended up doing the exact opposite.

The tragic case of Marlene Tapia provides a perfect deconstruction of everything that’s wrong with today’s police state. First, Tapia was detained on suspicion of possessing narcotics. Never mind that she wasn’t hurting anyone, or that said narcotics were intended to make her, or someone someone else, happy, even if only temporarily. The officer involved was protecting or helping absolutely no one. Next, Tapia was strip-searched, a gross and forceful violation of her privacy and person. Again, such a procedure protects no one and only comes into play because of the aforementioned substance restriction. Finally, upon noticing evidence of a concealed substance protruding from Tapia’s body, the officer sprayed her genitals with mace, serving absolutely no purpose other than to cause her pain and humiliation.

What’s the worst part of this story? That everything the officer did except for the macing was standard procedure? That the officer had been “disciplined” for her torturous action, yet remained on staff? Or that millions of us involuntarily pay for an armed force to visit violence and aggression upon us?

How can we get the police to start working for us again? By making them private. Now I know you’re thinking this is just another libertarian fantasy. It isn’t. It’s real. And where is it happening? In the land of government failure: Detroit.

Yes, we’re talking about private citizens picking up the slack left by police incompetence. But we’re also talking about something even better: the Threat Management Center. This Detroit-based business has effectively filled the protection void left by law enforcement. But it gets even better. The Threat Management Center’s sole priorities are the protection of the people under their charge. They have specific incentives to focus exclusively on safety, and find non-violent ways of defusing tense situations before resorting to force. Since they’re privately funded, they have a direct incentive to make their customers happy. Any form of misconduct can instantly result in a loss of funding.

The best part? The Threat Management Center doesn’t exclusively protect paying customers. Yes, they protect people for free. They are able to do that because their profit margins are high enough. You heard that right: the evil, capitalistic word pairing “profit margin” working for the protection of the poor and weak for free. Their track record? Twenty years without a single court date, fallen officer, or fallen victim; a two-decade perfect score. All the while competing with government police, and outclassing them handily. Somewhere, a socialist is softly weeping.

Even some of the staunchest liberty advocates see a minimal role of government. Courts, justice system, law enforcement, national defense… all part of the proper, necessarily evil of the state. We at least need government police… right?

Apparently not. Score one for a peaceful, voluntary world.


Joël Valenzuela is an activist who moved out to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. He is the editor of The Desert Lynx and a professional martial arts instructor.

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