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“Police often think of themselves as soldiers in a battle with the public rather than guardians of public safety. That they are provided with tanks and other military-grade weapons, that many are military veterans, and that militarized units like Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) proliferated during the 1980s War on Drugs and post-9/11 War on Terror only fuels this perception, as well as a belief that entire communities are disorderly, dangerous, suspicious, and ultimately criminal. When this happens, police are too quick to use force”.Alex S. Vitale, The End of Policing (Vitale, 2017: 10).
Today’s Sin City Observer headline reads “Victory against terrorism on Venus!”. The usual headline, somewhere some terrorists bombed something and now the military managed to defeat them. I sometimes really wonder why people are so stupid and become terrorists. Why do they do that? We want to help them and spread democracy, but no! They don’t want that, they just want their fundamentalism and radicalism. Well, there is no point in complaining all day about politics, I should rather focus on my task at hand for today. I need to find the Cyber makers. The terrorists on Venus may be gone, but their drugs aren’t! And it is my job to deal with these criminals who sell the drugs. It seems to be like it never ends, whenever you finish one job, the next is already waiting for you. Then she threw her Sin City police badge on the floor, and stood up from her chair, and looked at the door, and then at the picture of her daughter, Grace, and decided to sit down again.
“Detective Redcliff, we found one of the Cyber labs, what should we do?” said Sergeant Greg after he stormed into her office.
“Well Greggs, it’s time to bust ‘em, what else?” Detective Amelia Redcliff got up and got her coat from the hanger and pointed at Sergeant Greg to follow her. They exited the police building through the long dark hallway and entered the car. “Now Greggs, tell me more about this lab?” said Amelia.
“The lab is near Pine Street and that is all we know. Our contact could only find out the location, so we’ll need to go in blind,” was Greg’s response.
“Then we’ll have to do it old school style, I hope you know how to use a gun, kid!” said Amelia, smiling.
“I don’t like to use those things if I am honest, Detective Redcliff,” stuttered Greg.
“That was not a question Greggs, it was a statement!” laughed Amelia.
Greg was suddenly silent and they drove on, through the streets of Sin until they reached Pine Street. Amelia and Greg got out of the car. Amelia had already loaded her laser gun and got a blind grenade out of her glovebox. Then Greg asked nervously, “Are we even supposed to use all these weapons? There has been no sign of violence so far.”
Amelia responded: “They give us the guns and we use them. I never said that I wanted laser guns but they gave them to us…though I do like them now.”
“So you mean we don’t need to use them?” cautioned Greg.
“Well, they don’t say we need to but if we already got them, why not?” argued Amelia as she started to walk towards the rundown building.
“Now Greggs, the first thing you do when you enter the building is to make sure that nobody will shoot you.” Then Amelia threw the blind grenade through the open window and stormed into the building. Greg tried to keep up with her and started to run after her. Once inside the building, they could see a man pointing something that looked like a gun at another man. Both of them looked confused from the smoke. Then Amelia shot both of them with her laser gun, and said: “Well you won’t point your guns at me.”
Then Greg called for support and an ambulance with his hyperphone and afterwards decided to investigate the armed men or what remains of them. The guns were filled with some sort of fluid which, when Greg shot the fluid at the wall, turned out to be water.
“Detective Amelia, I have a feeling these guys weren’t armed with real guns,” whispered Greg with shock in his eyes.
“That is the life of a cop Greggs. You never know if the guns are real or fake so you just shoot when you see them. It is not nice, but it is what it is. If we want to protect our society from crime, then we need to accept that accidents sometimes happen,” said Amelia in a calming voice.
This didn’t help Greg; he just stared at the wall until the support arrived. The medics declared the two suspects dead and the forensics team started to investigate the Cyber.
“I am sorry to disappoint you two, but the Cyber turned out to be just sand and it seems to me that these two supposed suspects just bragged about their sand party and someone thought sand was a code word for cyber. They were only fooling around with some toy water guns and wanted to have a more beach-like feeling,” explained the forensics guy to Amelia and Greg.
“Thank you, Joe. Forensic guys like you are always helpful in aiding our understanding of the situation,” remarked Amelia and summoned Greg to follow her out of the building.
When they were outside, Greg was sweating and shaking. “I never signed up to kill innocent people, Detective Redcliff. I signed up to protect people, to uphold peace and justice.” Greg collapsed to his knees.
“Ah, Greggs. It’s normal for rookies who come straight from the police academy to have some doubts, but mistakes sometimes happen. And look at the building they were in – they were probably criminals in some way. This is the dark area of Sin City, only criminals hang around here. So don’t worry too much, we didn’t do anything bad. Now stand up and let’s grab lunch together,” comforted Amelia. She then took Greg’s hand and guided him into the car.
To be continued…
Vitale, A. S. (2017) The End of Policing.