What if Firefighting and policing services were not monopolized by Towns Municipalities and States (herein referred to as government) but rather such services could be more efficiently provided by the private sector?
Town Managers and Government Officials in many small Towns have no idea of how to handle either their Police or Firefighters.
Firefighting has been a huge problem because most government fire departments consist of volunteers. If not treated well, or given incentives, it is obvious they will no longer have a fire department. That is what has happened to White Springs.
There are an estimated three (3) persons employed in private security for every public police officer also . Privatizing policing is not a fantasy and it is not just a luxury for the rich areas of a state. Notice, every time you go into a shopping mall, a department store, or amusement parks like Disney, you are being protected by people trying to maximize profit.
.All we need to imagine are those services (Fire and Policing) being provided on a larger scale by entrepreneurs and the competitive process. The government would provide the buildings and or vehicles (police cars/ trucks, etc) and all maintenance but would not provide the manpower which would be handled by the private sector. The private sector would also provide all equipment necessary for personnel and training as required, as well as health and workers compensation for personnel
Currently ambulatory services are in the private sector and doing well.
Fees and per hour services would be charged to the respective government entity for services rendered. All we need imagine are these services being provided on a larger scale. Precisely how these services would be provided would be determined by entrepreneurs and the competitive process.
Compared to the centralized, bureaucratic policing and firefighting units with which we are familiar, we would likely see far greater emphasis on prevention (rather than responding to crimes after they have occurred), de-escalation tactics with violence being used as a last resort (since entrepreneurs, rather than taxpayers, would be on the hook for civil damages), and much more accountability (because customers could take their business elsewhere).
Furthermore, such an institutional change could have wide appeal beyond only people who desire a smaller government.. Those who are concerned about the police’s respect for civil liberties and their treatment of minorities and the poor, but who are not necessarily in favor of smaller government, should appreciate the empowerment that competition and choice bring to the consumer Individuals. And communities would be able to terminate their contracts/fire police or firefighter services from one company and replace them with services from another company if they were dissatisfied. This would ensure high quality policing and firefighting than protests or federal consent degrees ever will.
The independent contractors (police and firefighters) would follow all requirements of their jobs and follow the law so there would not be decisions based upon politics instead of reason.
The government need not be in the business of the provision of policing and firefighting any more than it need be in the provision of toiletries. For those who believe a state is necessary to define “the rules of the game,” be a final decision-maker in legal disputes, and ensure individual rights are protected, a government monopoly on policing or firefighting is not only unnecessary but may even be counterproductive.
Just think how great it would be for the passionate and educated independent contractors to receive raises and benefits based upon their performance instead of being paid minimums by the government and being expected to do as little work as possible to avoid political conflicts.
I believe I read somewhere where military seals started a business of firefighting or policing. This type of entrepreneurship would be great for the military veterans who would find this type of work similar to their service with the country. It may save more lives and have less violence if the private sector handles the affairs. The violators could no longer blame the government and services would be provided with efficiency and quality control. After all, it would be the entrepreneurial entity who would handle all benefits and liabilities rather than the government leaving more insecurity for the taxed citizens. They merely would have to pay fees for services.
In fact our charter allows for fee based firefighters right now if we do not have the appropriate fire department and it would be great to not have political decisions made by those in power who do not have a clue of how to operate businesses. Many who are in office have never been in a business climate; some have always remained in some form of government; some are even liberate and mindless but by being on some board, it makes them feel they have succeeded in life.
With independent contractors handling the policing and firefighting elements, it would not matter if a council or board was mindless, as long as some Town Manager doesn’t start telling an independent company what to do, or we will end up in the same place as we are today; one or two showing up for a fire or a problem. Also, if a Town did not live up to their contractual obligations or caused problems for the police or firefighters, the entrepreneural entity could give a Town a termination notice for due cause.
With the correct business plan by entrepreneurs, there would be excellent availability for funds for a start up business.
Karin for the blog