Author Topic: Interesting demonstration of Agency Dilemma in this whole fracas  (Read 741 times)

ctuser1

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CT, where I live, is known for being a boring, safe state. The community I live in is 90+% white - with the rest mostly made up of comparatively well-off Asians. I have never had a single negative experience dealing with the police, and the police always seem to be extremely respectful to the constituents of all skin color as far as I know. We have big cities nearby (e.g. Bridgeport, Waterbury) with non-white majority. I know people from those towns- and haven't heard any of them complain of any police excess either.

So, I have always been a little flummoxed by why the police seems to behave so egregiously on recorded video, no less, in other parts of the country.

I was reading an NYTimes article, and one sentence stood out to me: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/06/us/police-unions-minneapolis-kroll.html

Quote
“I believe Bob Kroll was elected out of fear,” said Janeé Harteau, the police chief at the time, adding that Mr. Kroll’s message to officers was: “We are the only ones that support you. Your community doesn’t support you. Your police chief is trying to get you fired.”

Principal-agent problem is a very well known issue in organization management theory. The conflict of interest of the agent over those of the principal(s) is something that a lot of economists spend a lot of time over. The "community" is the principal. It pays taxes and appoints the police to uphold the law and order. Anybody in the police force are "agents" - paid for by the communities.

When I read the bolded part - it all boils down to a "principal agent problem" to me. The police in this case - a.k.a. the "agent" - does not believe that the "principal" - i.e. the community - has a right/authority to demand accountability. 

Could this also be a problem that the "agent" only recognizes "principals" of certain skin color and not others?

Also interesting to me is the reaction of the so-called "free market" supporter's (a.k.a. the right wing "conservative"s) reaction to the agency dilemma. "Free market" is nice as long as it is convenient - I guess!!
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 07:02:47 AM by ctuser1 »

Kris

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Re: Interesting demonstration of Agency Dilemma in this whole fracas
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2020, 07:05:58 AM »
You may or may not have read this (and it might be in that article but it’s paywalled for me) but most MPLS police officers do not live in MPLS, but in the (considerably more conservative) suburbs around it.

I think that contributes to what you’re describing. They see the community they are policing as entirely “other”, and themselves not a part of it at all.

This perception is heightened by the people they interact with in their conservative suburbs, many of whom also see MPLS as some sort of den of darkness and iniquity (“Murderapolis”) — and taken advantage of by people like Kroll.

So, yeah. I’m inclined to agree with you.

ctuser1

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Re: Interesting demonstration of Agency Dilemma in this whole fracas
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2020, 07:21:31 AM »
You may or may not have read this (and it might be in that article but it’s paywalled for me) but most MPLS police officers do not live in MPLS, but in the (considerably more conservative) suburbs around it.

I think that contributes to what you’re describing. They see the community they are policing as entirely “other”, and themselves not a part of it at all.

This perception is heightened by the people they interact with in their conservative suburbs, many of whom also see MPLS as some sort of den of darkness and iniquity (“Murderapolis”) — and taken advantage of by people like Kroll.

So, yeah. I’m inclined to agree with you.

Bridgeport, CT, has a residency rule for the top officials. https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Bridgeport-weighs-residency-rule-for-top-officials-13450419.php

If you work for the city in one of the top positions, you have to live in the city (with exceptions sometimes granted, and lower ranking officials are excempt).

I *think* that the other big city (Waterbury) has similar rules as well.

This could be an easy fix nationwide!!
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 07:23:05 AM by ctuser1 »

Kris

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Re: Interesting demonstration of Agency Dilemma in this whole fracas
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2020, 08:46:10 AM »
You may or may not have read this (and it might be in that article but it’s paywalled for me) but most MPLS police officers do not live in MPLS, but in the (considerably more conservative) suburbs around it.

I think that contributes to what you’re describing. They see the community they are policing as entirely “other”, and themselves not a part of it at all.

This perception is heightened by the people they interact with in their conservative suburbs, many of whom also see MPLS as some sort of den of darkness and iniquity (“Murderapolis”) — and taken advantage of by people like Kroll.

So, yeah. I’m inclined to agree with you.

Bridgeport, CT, has a residency rule for the top officials. https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Bridgeport-weighs-residency-rule-for-top-officials-13450419.php

If you work for the city in one of the top positions, you have to live in the city (with exceptions sometimes granted, and lower ranking officials are excempt).

I *think* that the other big city (Waterbury) has similar rules as well.

This could be an easy fix nationwide!!

“Easy” isn’t so easy, though. People have been calling for this in Minneapolis for a while. The police are resisting it.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Interesting demonstration of Agency Dilemma in this whole fracas
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2020, 09:03:10 AM »
You may or may not have read this (and it might be in that article but it’s paywalled for me) but most MPLS police officers do not live in MPLS, but in the (considerably more conservative) suburbs around it.

I think that contributes to what you’re describing. They see the community they are policing as entirely “other”, and themselves not a part of it at all.

This perception is heightened by the people they interact with in their conservative suburbs, many of whom also see MPLS as some sort of den of darkness and iniquity (“Murderapolis”) — and taken advantage of by people like Kroll.

So, yeah. I’m inclined to agree with you.

Bridgeport, CT, has a residency rule for the top officials. https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Bridgeport-weighs-residency-rule-for-top-officials-13450419.php

If you work for the city in one of the top positions, you have to live in the city (with exceptions sometimes granted, and lower ranking officials are excempt).

I *think* that the other big city (Waterbury) has similar rules as well.

This could be an easy fix nationwide!!

“Easy” isn’t so easy, though. People have been calling for this in Minneapolis for a while. The police are resisting it.

And not easy in any municipality with a HCOL.

Kris

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Re: Interesting demonstration of Agency Dilemma in this whole fracas
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2020, 09:11:18 AM »
You may or may not have read this (and it might be in that article but it’s paywalled for me) but most MPLS police officers do not live in MPLS, but in the (considerably more conservative) suburbs around it.

I think that contributes to what you’re describing. They see the community they are policing as entirely “other”, and themselves not a part of it at all.

This perception is heightened by the people they interact with in their conservative suburbs, many of whom also see MPLS as some sort of den of darkness and iniquity (“Murderapolis”) — and taken advantage of by people like Kroll.

So, yeah. I’m inclined to agree with you.

Bridgeport, CT, has a residency rule for the top officials. https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Bridgeport-weighs-residency-rule-for-top-officials-13450419.php

If you work for the city in one of the top positions, you have to live in the city (with exceptions sometimes granted, and lower ranking officials are excempt).

I *think* that the other big city (Waterbury) has similar rules as well.

This could be an easy fix nationwide!!

“Easy” isn’t so easy, though. People have been calling for this in Minneapolis for a while. The police are resisting it.

And not easy in any municipality with a HCOL.

True. Though here, the nearby suburbs aren’t all that much cheaper.

BicycleB

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Re: Interesting demonstration of Agency Dilemma in this whole fracas
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2020, 02:30:59 PM »
The "community" is the principal. It pays taxes and appoints the police to uphold the law and order. Anybody in the police force are "agents" - paid for by the communities.

When I read the bolded part - it all boils down to a "principal agent problem" to me. The police in this case - a.k.a. the "agent" - does not believe that the "principal" - i.e. the community - has a right/authority to demand accountability. 

Could this also be a problem that the "agent" only recognizes "principals" of certain skin color and not others?


It could.

It could even be that policing throughout its history has always represented wealthy whites as principals, with people of certain skin color as targets to be contained on behalf of the principals. It could also be that after a war was fought over such containment, six or seven further generations of policing have intermittently adopted new language and official goals, but in practice are still hired primarily by white principals and still primarily acting on behalf of those principals. It's possible that the police by and large recognize exactly who the principals are.

The principal is supposed to be the entire public at large. But in practice, it hasn't been. Cops know where their bread is buttered. Agents respond to rewards and punishments. Are the recognized principals really willing to extend "safety" to everyone else? Will we (I'm a white guy too) take enough action to ensure the agents have reason to extend their definition of principal?

In Connecticut, would your neighbors want police to check up on some black guy walking down your street, while leaving a white walker alone? Or would they punish the "agent" for his/her biased policing approach?

Some CT residents think the problem does include CT:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw_TxrB7IBw

Some agents in CT have been noted as perpetrating violence vs unarmed residents:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_-wTCYYFqc

Meriden police are said to have committed police brutality during a traffic stop (video shows cop punching the sh-- out of somebody who's lying on the ground):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEapplqjFuo

Those are just the first few hits from Youtube search term "CT police violence". The issue for recognized principals is in daily life, the problem isn't visible - it's already been moved away from us. Thanks for bringing a new perspective to this. It's a difficult problem.