When I was growing up, I always heard that police officers were there “to serve and protect” the public, that they were the good guys, and, after all, because our taxes pay their salaries, they work for us. But, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, that’s not the case.
According to a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, police do not have a duty to protect you or anyone else even if you’ve followed their procedures which you’ve been told are necessary for them to protect you. A New York Times article about that ruling said:
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.
The decision, with an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia and dissents from Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, overturned a ruling by a federal appeals court in Colorado. The appeals court had permitted a lawsuit to proceed against a Colorado town, Castle Rock, for the failure of the police to respond to a woman’s pleas for help after her estranged husband violated a protective order by kidnapping their three young daughters, whom he eventually killed.
For hours on the night of June 22, 1999, Jessica Gonzales tried to get the Castle Rock police to find and arrest her estranged husband, Simon Gonzales, who was under a court order to stay 100 yards away from the house. He had taken the children, ages 7, 9 and 10, as they played outside, and he later called his wife to tell her that he had the girls at an amusement park in Denver. [hat tip to here for the source]
Now, maybe you’re thinking that it’s only restraining orders that this applies to, but you would be wrong. A 1989 Supreme Court decision ruled that police do not have to protect children who are getting beaten by a parent even if social services is involved. This should make you wonder what, exactly, social services are there for if the government has no responsibility to care for those that social workers are there, in part, to protect.
There have been other rulings by courts that police do not have a duty to protect people if those people feel threatened or in danger.
Now, to be clear here, I know a number of police officers, and the ones that I know believe that they have a duty to serve and protect people. But, let’s be frank, if there is no responsibility beyond their own personal integrity to protect people, in a crisis situation, we are going to have more stories like the police officers who waited outside while the Parkland, Florida shooting occurred and did nothing to stop it.
Our recommendation is that you train in real world self-defense methods, including hand-to-hand and firearms, so that you can make sure that you are able to keep your family safe because you can’t guarantee that the police will.