Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Anchorage Cops Want More Part-Time Work

This story from ADN tells us about the problem of 80 "nuisance calls" to Anchorage police this year in the area of the Walmart  in mid-town Anchorage. It doesn't say who makes these calls or if the calls are generally made by the same person. Once the number reaches 100 calls in a year, the business is subject to a $500 fine for each such call and responsible for a program to alleviate the problem.

Two things. First of all, city code aside, is Walmart, or any other business, responsible for the behavior of people that are on or near its property? Is a bank responsible if someone sticks it up? What type of program is a business expected to initiate to solve this problem? The fact is that any private business is very much limited in what they can do to legally influence public behavior. Just about all that they can do is refuse to admit individuals to their premises. That leads to the second thing, which we're seeing in other localities as well. Local police agencies want businesses to hire security to discourage antisocial or illegal behavior. Law enforcement doesn't seem to have the resources to carry out this mission, which is, in fact, their reason for being. What they want businesses to do is hire off-duty cops to provide security. This gives the overworked cops a well-paid respite at a desk inside the Walmart door so they don't have to respond to calls during their actual duty hours.

In further news from the land of the midnite sun, the city of Anchorage is taking Uber, the ride-sharing company, to court for making life tough for the cab companies. It seems the free-wheeling days of happy Anchorage are now a thing of the past.

 A similar situation exists in the Dinkytown neighborhood adjoining the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. Rambunctious collegians occasionally overstep the bounds of civilized behavior in the aftermath of Gopher athletic victories or defeats. The obvious remedy for this is a continuing presence of paid off-duty cops.

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