Should Callers Pay for Expensive Police Service?

There are tons of services that police provide: Elderly check-ins, noise complaints, damaged property, stolen purses, runaway children, etc. They all cost money, and for the most part, communities are happy to pay. Justice is something most people want, and so we pay a group of people to provide it.

But what happens when the cost is astronomical? Like, crazy. Like, incalculably high? So high, no one even knows the number? Is there anyone putting downward pressure on costs when it comes to service from the police, or do they have a blank check on the community bank account?

I ask because a woman in my town today called the police to remove her adult son, age 45, from her home. Criminal trespass. Totally legitimate complaint. I am happy to pay for that. If someone were trespassing on my property, and I was an old lady, hell, I would want some help from a group of young, well-trained guys, too.

The response from police was: 30 police officers, 2 SWAT teams, firefighters, blocking off the street— to kick a loafer from his mom’s home? You can’t put a price on officer safety, but even so, this was excessive.

I posted on Facebook about my concern about the cost, and a townsperson responded that in situations where a hiker gets lost and incurs a cost to local rescue, they get a bill. He proposed the same thing for cases like this. Not a bad idea.

What do you think? Should people be personally responsible for their expensive specialty police calls? How can a you ensure you are not on the hook for some wildly excessive service your neighbor requests? Should we all share the costs equally? How can we best ensure community safety while also staying within reasonable budgetary limits? Your thoughts welcome!

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14 Comments

  1. officer safety is a actual cop who’s last name IS SAFETY.. sadly he was investigated by internal affairs and is now in protective custody in jail.. 🙁

  2. It seems to me that the fault is not with the caller in this case, unless she requested such a disproportionate police response, which I doubt. Barring probable cause to think he would violently resist, sending out a pair of officers to require the son to vacate his mother’s home should have been sufficient.

    As Derrick points out, a massive response with all kinds of gear can risk raising officers’ adrenaline levels, not to mention the risk of “friendly fire” casualties in the event of any actual violence, so it is NOT necessarily providing any greater level of safety.

    If a law enforcement agency has 30 officers just hanging around to send out on a call like this, they clearly have more resources than they need, i.e. that much more reason why their budget should be cut.

  3. Their should be a surcharge for services above some predetermined level. I have said this about fire depts, too. i also think that there are people that “eat” more money than they produce (or at least come closer to the breakeven point for a household).

  4. 45 is such a difficult age for a kid.

  5. I screwed up: “There” instead of ‘their”.

  6. was he a excon.. known to be violent and carry a firearm.. fresh out of the can

  7. This is an idiotic article. Yes it costs money to call the police but when they come for a noise complaint ect, it doesn’t cost anything. All the PD’s money is from income tax. When they are looking for a rescue, there are EMT’s involved, search and rescue, and many other resources that due cost money because most of those in the search and rescue are volunteer services who only charge a fee to recoup costs for supplies and man power used.

    So if yo are going to go out into the wilderness ill prepared and you get lost or injured, you will receive a bill.

    You complain about the PD and Fire all the time but when you need them they don’t come fast enough. You are a hypocrite.

  8. Jacks sweetie, with so many police officers on the payroll, which sorts of tasks do you think our bureaucrats prefer them doing? Investigating crimes or collecting fines by writing citations?

    Frankly, I’d much prefer to pay them for the former rather than the latter. But I don’t get that option, now do I? Care to know why, pookie bear? Because I can’t withhold payment for their services when their employees fail to meet my expectations! Isn’t that awful?

    You see Jacks, all those tax men you adore so much are there to make sure that government workers get paid no matter how badly they perform their jobs. And it’s great deal – for them, anyway.

  9. i don’t know.. maybe write a complaining lte… petition the city council… i know.. but fixing government government inefficiency is a crazy hard one… maybe NH seceding.. is the answer.. but that’s seems like a toughy too. Closer government seems more workable and could make a better wrench for every nut.. But in this case it seems like fairly close government… I was at a council meeting last nightmare… oiy vey

  10. maybe the cop shop needs to be chasened

  11. and then there’s the flying under the radar solution… which is just for each individual i guess.. but that’s not for the collective… unless you do like jim Jones or something

  12. which I’m not saying couldn’t be done successfully….

  13. The simple solution is to simply do away with the non-voluntary redistribution of peoples wealth to fund the police and fire departments. If people want such service they can pay for it. I would certainly pay for security. I wouldn’t pay for police. I would pay for fire service. I would pay for emergency health related services. I would pay for the assessing and responding to calls of unidentified persons who may not be covered. I would not pay for the responding to calls of identified persons who did not subscribe unless they are visiting. I might contribute to a voluntary fund to cover those unable to obtain coverage due to financial or other burdens.

  14. I should probably have read the story first. It’s really quite simple. This was a situation of police abusing resources. The police involved (or security involved if it had been private) should be fired. If I was blowing through tons of dollars on my company’s credit card wasting it on excess frills like hookers and pricey hotel rooms I’d expect to be fired. It’s one thing if I’m taking out a potential client, but if it’s just an ordinary conference in the tech world. Yes. Fired. The reality is it’s hard to get fired in a government job. Private industry would be paying the equivalent of something close to minimum wage for security and it would be an improvement over what government funded law enforcement can offer service wise.

Care to comment?