Policing involves the application of state power in order to achieve a lasting peace between a nation’s citizens. There is broad consensus across the political spectrum that this is an indispensable requirement of responsible government. In effectuating their duties, police officers are given great power, including allowance, in specific circumstances, to take a life. From time to time, social–political movements such as Black Lives Matter draw attention to applications of excessive force. The organization is exercising its democratic right to pressure the state to rein in violence directed at African American suspects. The practice of policing is faced with a genuine dilemma: How much and what kind of policing is required in order to maintain order? Existing efforts at reform, such as community policing, have failed to satisfy the concerns of many who live in poor minority communities who rely on police protection but who, for obvious reasons, resent abuse. These challenges are inherent in policing applications the world over. This case allows students to weigh the potential risks and benefits of privatizing police functions.
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