Free Markets, Free People

Law enforcement and show business–the two should never mix

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Steven Segal have apparently teamed up to give Segal’s reality show about law enforcement some umph.  It has led to a pretty bizarre and dangerous bust.  But not “dangerous” in the way you might think.

Apparently Arpaio called out just about everything with a badge to bust a, wait for it, suspected cockfighting entrepreneur.

No, really:

Of course Crooks and Liars, where the vid comes from had to sensationalize even further an already outrageous story by saying a “tank” was used.

It wasn’t a tank.  It was an armored car (and an ancient one at that).


But to take down a suspected cock fighter, it took Arpaio, tens of deputies, a SWAT team, bomb robot and armored car?  Oh, and a film crew — don’t forget the film crew.

This is the point Radley Balko makes constantly about the militarization of the police in this country.  If they have it, they want to use it.  And when you use things like armored cars and SWAT teams, bad things can happen.

One of the things police don’t seem to do very well is due diligence intelligence work.  Had they spent any time whatsoever watching the place they felt compelled to use the armored car and SWAT team on, they’d have discovered that the owner was there alone, unarmed and … asleep.

Guys like Arpaio scare the living crap out me.  Good police work doesn’t require “overwhelming force” the vast majority of the time.  And this was obviously one of them.  It makes sense in military doctrine when you attack an enemy.  Police, on the other hand, enforce the law.  They should be trained and required to use only the force necessary to do that.  The opportunity for something to go horribly wrong are increased every time an operation like this is mounted.

It obviously wasn’t necessary to destroy property like Arpaio did here to arrest this man.  But then, it wouldn’t be much of a show for Segal if all that happened was a couple of deputies knocking on the door and arresting a sleepy man for suspected cock fighting would it?

The tail, in this case, is wagging a very dangerous dog.



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20 Responses to Law enforcement and show business–the two should never mix

  • The guy was the only one there, and was unarmed. This warrant could have just as successfully been served by a detective in a blazer knocking on the front door.

    • Andy of Mayberry.

    • Well there’s no problem with coming with uneven odds.  Its not a football game.  Its not meant to be a fair fight.  In fact, coming with just enough, invites a problem.  Its also the way Democrats love to fight wars even though they have the option to do otherwise.
      Coming in force actually prevents altercation since the less chance the prospective target believe he has to successfully resist arrest the less likely he’ll attempt it.
      But just because you bring it, doesn’t mean you have to use it.

  • I guess COPS isn’t exciting enough anymore.

  • Crooks and Liars ARE just that, in my experience.
    But this is just dumb.
    “Bad boys, bad boys…whatca gonna do…?”  As sung by a long-suffering middle-aged mom…

  • Other things that don’t mix: Steven Segal and policework.  Steven Segal and acting. Steven Segal and salads.

    • Steven Segal and my TV…

    • I sort of entertained by one of his movies.  Otherwise I can’t stand him, his movies, etc.
      In fact, his face coming up for the 3rd day here will make me need to reconsider which blogs I visit if it doesn’t get bumped soon.

  • Given all the hardware, you’d think they were hoping to go “kinetic” on the guy.
    Just had to use that, since it’s the new asinine euphemistic buzzword out of Washington so they don’t have to say “kill” or some other violent word.
    Kinetic, it all sounds so clean and scientific.

  • The real problem with the police having all this paramilitary stuff is their temptation to use it .. like this.
    All this does is make the real criminals more likely to return overwhelming force when confronted with a blind Mormon with a seeing eye dog.

  • Of course Crooks and Liars, where the vid comes from had to sensationalize even further an already outrageous story by saying a “tank” was used.

    You’re right in that it is important to be precise when discussing these matters – no need to give any would be apologist any ammunition.  But Crooks and Liars weren’t the only ones to describe the vehicle in question as a “tank.”
    So did Steven Segal, the local news, the neighbors, and Radley Balko.

  • I like Sheriff Joe.  I really do.
    But the guy has to learn that sometimes the bigger hammer is not the answer.

  • I don’t like Sheriff Joe. I don’t want Sen. Joe. I hope he doesn’t change his mind and run for Kyl’s seat, because I’m afraid the old white guys would elect him.

    • Let’s see…
      Sheriff Joe vs. “Dem Lite” McCain.
      Lemme think on that a while.

      • Yeah, that would be a hard one, but he would be running for the Kyl seat, so essentially you would have them both in the Senate,  Not really good for libertarianism.  Although you could hope that Joe Arpaio would be more of a deficit hawk than McCain.  McCain is the poster boy for all talk and no action.

      • I’d prefer Flake win that seat. McCain’s seat is another matter.

  • Interesting story, and spot on.  A lot of this “obvious overkill” started with DHS grants that were given to law enforcement agencies and because the grants were so loose the agencies could buy whatever they wanted.  Sadly many of them opted to purchase amored vehicles, huge suv’s, automatic weapons, etc.  They would have been much better off to have used them to improve their emergency operation centers or communication equipment.    What really stinks is that these guys think they are really doing it the right way.   Guys like Sheriff Joe that condone this type of action are very, very dangerous.

  • You should look at the subject track record.
    What he’s doing this time around is nothing compared to his historical record.