“Protect,” “prevent” and “preempt.”
Somehow, our agents of law enforcement got the notion that’s what they are about. The principle of probity got left out of their training. Never mind the presumption of innocence. That individual behavior is presumably good, unless and until proven otherwise is ignored.
I don’t think it’s because the presumption of innocence has been downgraded to serve as a starting point for the contest that is referred to as a trial — a contest in which the more convincing advocate wins. I think it’s because the U.S. legal system has become fully committed to the proposition that all men are evil and government exists to make them good. As a consequence, the agents of law enforcement are not serving the Constitution or justice, but acting as a non-sectarian coercive moral force.
Although one might suggest that this “pro-active” posture is in response to the drop in actual criminal behavior and designed to secure employment that might otherwise be terminated as unnecessary and unneeded, the posture or mission came into flower during a period of public employee expansion, not curtailment. I’d say the culture of obedience infected law enforcement and caused it to swell. And the culture of obedience was the traditional power structure’s response to the double threats of civil and consumer rights. The insistence that individuals not be abused by the political and commercial class spawned resistance by the proponents of private property rights.
It’s as if the traditional ruling elite reached the determination that “I may not be able to own you, but, by God, you’re going to do what you’re told.”
Respect. It’s possible that the instinct-driven, relying on superficial optics, are incapable of taking a second look and reflecting on whether they saw right. Perhaps they are even incapable of extending the benefit of the doubt. “All men are crooked” may well be the partner of plan to fail; rather safe, than sorry.