Police unions have contributed to a cop culture that unleashes misconduct and rejects accountability, argues Adam Serwer of The Atlantic. They push officers to see themselves as warriors, the public as enemies, and the law as something that doesn't apply to them. Unions regularly argue that victims of police violence deserved it, and automatically defend any officer accused of misconduct. Their purpose is to defend their members at all costs, and they often succeed. For armed members of the state, this is an invitation to act with impunity, knowing that they won't face consequences. Police unions need to be dismantled to heal America's policing crisis.
Police unions serve a vital role to maintain cops' labor rights, writes Allison Schaber in the Star Tribune. Like for all employees, they ensure that officers can collectively bargain for better working conditions. Police need this right, as they are prohibited from striking, which workers in other industries can use to improve their conditions. It has become popular to blame unions for police misconduct, but this is down to individual departments and leaders themselves. Unions simply ensure a fair and neutral process during arbitration cases. Politicians dislike police unions because they form an independent and potentially critical voice. They serve an essential function.