Torture Topic within Law Enforcement Ranks

This posting with the Siler torture audio initiated some interesting debate over at a law enforcement site. It started this way:

Heard about this on a podcast I was listening to at work to day and actually got physically ill hearing the recording… And the longest any of them got was SIX YEARS. SIX YEARS FOR TORTURE.

The conversation continued:

There is an evil streak within some people. We are placing these people in positions where they can abuse their power.

I think any honest law abiding police officer here will agree with this statement. What’s the solution? Police chiefs and sheriffs nationwide would like to know the answer. You don’t know a person is a loose cannon until they have already lost their cool. And by then the sheriffs and chiefs have to back the loose cannons and their actions so as to lesson their own civil liability.

Others had different views:

I, for one, am glad that we have young Marines who are able to dehumanize the enemy and kill them in their own countries. And I’d much rather hear an 18 year-old speak like this than a 30 year-old. Maybe you’re not giving them or their leaders enough credit to be able to distinguish non-terrorists from the “ragheads” they want to kill. God Bless young bloodthirsty Americans with good guns and good leadership.

In the words of John McEnroe, you cannot be serious. The trouble with your theory is that the 18-year-old marine will grow into the f***ed up 30-year-old cop, who still has nightmares about what he did when he sleeps, and dehumanises “the enemy” – i.e, other people – when he’s awake.

I’ll add a couple of suggestions towards that conversation. One thing which can be done is to change the laws so cops aren’t wasting their time on victimless crimes. I don’t know how many serious crimes I see unresolved and how many lesser ones aren’t even investigated while I read daily stories of people being arrested for a little baggie of weed.
Another suggestion is to treat cops (and other public officials) like other citizens with respect to prosecution. Had Siler tortured a law inforcement officer in a hypothetical reversal of roles in this case, Siler would probably be spending life in prison and not just a few months.