Living in a Police State

Certain segments of the political spectrum are always claiming we live in a police state. I was in court on Wednesday, looked around and decided, they might have a point.

Just for the record, I am a lawyer and I practice in the criminal courts, so I have some familiarity with the local police.

In Nashville, a city with a population of about 620,000, on any given day, you will find the following law enforcement agencies out and about:

Metro Nashville Police Department
Davidson County Sheriff’s department.
Brentwood Police Department
Berry Hill Police Department
Lakewood Police Department
Ridgetop Police Department
Belle Meade Police Department
Goodlettsville Police Department
The Tennessee Highway Patrol
The Capitol Police
The Airport Police
Tennessee State University Police
Vanderbilt Police
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
The TVA Police
The RailRoad Police
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
The Alcohol and Beverage Commission (usually they work liquor cases, but do have the jurisdiction to work marijuana cases)
The Drug Task Force

Those are just the state agencies that I can think of.

Then there are the Federal Agencies. These include:

The FBI
The Secret Service
Department of Homeland Security
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Postal Inspectors
IRS
The DEA
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Go down the road a bit to Memphis, you will find most of those agencies, and in addition, you will find the Fedex Police Department. That is right, a corporation, Fedex, has a police department, with the same powers and jurisdiction at the Memphis Police Department.

In talking about Nashville, I have probably missed a few agencies, but for a city of 620,000 that is almost thirty different law enforcement agencies.

I am all for law and order and being safe. I like the fact that I am almost never in fear of being the victim of a crime. But sometimes, I have to wonder, has this gone too far? At what point do we have too many cops?

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