Friday, September 12, 2014

Why German Cops Aren't Like American Cops

Occasionally, I'll pull an unusual topic to make a comparison between things in the US and compared against their German counterparts.

1.  German cops tend to travel in pairs on patrols.  It's very rare to see one cop operating by himself.  So when they come into a stressful situation.....they talk each other through the normal rules and processes.  Things don't get out of hand, because the second guy is making sure the first guy doesn't get a moment of stupidity.  The second guy episode also prevents physical violence from happening.

2.  German cops get a two-to-three year period of police academy.  They have to pass a physical and intelligence test to enter the school.  They get paid as they transit the course.  Tests are required, and if you got some guy with emotional issues or mental stress problems....he gets weeded out.  You don't get the badge without passing the academy, period.

3.  There's a simple rule about complying with the questions or requests by the cops.  As long as you problem.  You start any interference or argument....they have full authority to take you down to the ground, and basically knock you around.  Judges usually won't fault the cop for that type of behavior.  If you choose to be stupid, it's your problem as to how bad you feel after the cop takes you to the ground.

4.  German cops normally utilize three methods for speeding tickets. (1) The blitz camera which is set up on a temp deal or permanently, which only requires a letter to go to the speeder and let them know of the points/fine. (2) The autobahn crew, which pull up along side of you and let you know that you need to pull into the next rest-stop area for a ticket. (3) The speed-gun, which they will mount a couple of guys at a popular spot for speeding, and do a high number of tickets in a short-period of time.  Parking tickets?  It's not the responsibility of cops usually, and ends up being a non-cop crew of folks who walk around the city and just look for violators. City park violators?  They get passed around to a non-cop crew.

5.  SWAT crews?  Most of the major cities in Germany will have a couple of guys who are trained on SWAT-like events.  How often will you see them?  Rarely.  Tanks?  No.....but most of the major cities in Germany will have a water-truck or break up demonstrations.  If the cops announce the water-truck is coming's a big deal and the type of riot that you want to avoid being near.

6.  Use of guns.  A couple of years was point out by some German minister that for the previous year, German cops pulled their guns and fired less than fifty rounds for the entire year, in performance of their jobs.  Fewer rounds, for fewer episodes requiring significant action.  They run into fewer criminals with large caliber weapons, and when they find lesser situations requiring the's usually against people with pistols or knives....not automatic weapons or shotguns.

7.  The odds of some response German cop team coming out to serve a search warrant?  Judges in Germany typically ask more questions and there's a high level of requirements to be met before they sign off such warrants.  You just don't see video action as you hear about in the US where eight guys are banging down some guy's door at 10PM and shooting some guy's dog as part of their warrant action.

8.  German cops tend to get involved more in a drunk pedestrian episode as a drunk driver episode.  It's done mostly to ensure a guy or gal safely gets to some place, where their drunk tirade will wear off by sun-up the next day, and they release the drunk.

9.  Frisk and search.  Well....the only place in Germany where it's generally expected is a sports a soccer match, where there is trouble expected.  It won't be about your skin color or jacket'll be about public safety.  Got some problems about it?  Stay home and avoid the soccer match.

10.  Hours and hours are spent with German cops going through training scenarios, catching the right phrases and knowing precisely where the nutcase or citizen is going with some argument.  Defuse is stressed over and over.....then get the guy into the van, and tote them off to jail.  Nutcase episodes?  The cops can note the behavior and rapidly take them to the ground.....tossing them into some city facility for observation (if a threat is perceived).  You never want to send them the signal that you might hurt someone.....otherwise, it's mental observation and a judge gets involved.

Generally, an American is kinda amazed at how well the German system works, and how rare you hear about corruption with cops.  You also come away being somewhat surprised over the lesser amount of force used on people.  On the other hand....drug use in Germany is probably a quarter of what it is in the us (weed, and ecstasy are the popular drugs here....meth is a long way from being a major problem).

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