By Payton Huckleberry | USA
In recent years, many police forces have increased the use of unmarked vehicles, frequently nicknamed “undercover cop cars.” Under the guise of “catching bad guys,” these unmarked cars, and the officer’s driving them, are disguised as civilians, essentially giving them the capability to go unseen by everyday citizens. Due to issues regarding constitutionality, the precedent being set, and safety, police forces should be prohibited from using unmarked vehicles.
The 4th amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The 4th amendment is often referred to as guaranteeing your right to privacy. Unmarked police officers, by disguising themselves as civilians and essentially spying on you, break this right. The constitution is interpreted not only by the words themselves but by the tone and language of those words. With the constitution connotation is crucial. Looking at the 4th amendment with the tone of the words, in particular, it becomes very clear that the 4th amendment would be interpreted as being against your own government spying on you. Subsequently, many states have already cited the 4th amendment as the reason they have restricted or banned the use of unmarked vehicles, such as the state of Washington, where police forces need a court order to operate unmarked vehicles. More states should soon follow suit and ban unmarked vehicles.
The precedent America is setting, by allowing the use of unmarked vehicles, cannot be ignored. The tone of the constitution and the very ideals this country was founded upon-individual liberty, privacy, and not being a police-state foremost- are constantly under attack. America is ever-steadily becoming a police-state. The idea of “undercover cops” itself, combined with other issues such as police militarization and police brutality, are very reminiscent of Mexico, Soviet Russia, and even Nazi Germany. By giving police officers the ability to spy on us and go “undercover,” America is breeding a culture similar to that of Mexico’s State Police, the Soviet KGB, and Nazi Germany’s Gestapo. America needs to stop allowing police to do whatever they want. It’s time to police the police, and banning unmarked cars is a very easy way to start doing just that.
The last, and most important, issue with unmarked vehicles is safety. An unmarked officer in Arizona pulled over a 16-year-old girl at 1 in the morning. To the girl, it seemed to be a pretty routine stop, until she was ordered out of her car and put in handcuffs. She was then thrown into the back of the unmarked car where she was repeatedly beaten and rapes. Clearly, the man was not a police officer. Instead, he was a police impersonator who had gotten hold of dash lights ($15 online) and had been stopping numerous people on this highway in Arizona, until he was eventually caught. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident. According to both empirical and analytical data, police impersonators have been caught in the upwards of 10,000 times since 1990. With unmarked cars being so common on the streets, most drivers won’t think twice when being pulled over by an unmarked car. This culture has allowed, and in many ways encouraged, would-be rapists, murderers, and thieves to disguise themselves as undercover cops, essentially giving them free reign over unsuspecting individuals. Banning unmarked cars would get rid of the heinous acts committed by police impersonators.
Many police supporters say that the use of unmarked cars keeps criminals off the streets. Certainly, unmarked cars do have their value, and they even have a place in this country, but they should be very heavily regulated and restricted. Unmarked cars should only be issued with a court order from a state judge for specific investigative purposes and should not be used in any way except the purpose as issued by the court. Unmarked cars will still be used to investigate suspects, but will not be used for routine traffic stops or other duties typically associated with police vehicles.
Many people believe that unmarked cars keep us safe, on the contrary, unmarked vehicles indirectly put us in danger. If America were to ban unmarked cars, this country would take the first steps it needs to take in order to gain our freedom back. The very ideals this country was founded upon are now at risk. Make no mistake, this country is very close to becoming a police-state, and the people of this county need to do something about it. The people of this country need to ban unmarked police vehicles.