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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