I've picked up a volume of Sherlock Holmes lately, and one thing that strikes me is Holmes'--OK really Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's--disdain for the intellect of the police. It's hard to turn the page without a cheap shot being taken at Scotland Yard, really.
In other words, choosing peace officers for brute force, rather than for the ability to outsmart the criminal world, isn't just a phenomenon of the LAPD or New London, Connecticut. It isn't limited to officers threatening McDonald's workers because their McDouble is coming too slowly.
No, it's apparently an old tradition of substituting intimidation for thought, and I would suggest that it has a lot to do with the fact that most homicides aren't solved these days. In too many cases (read; most big city police departments), the system is designed to prevent smart people from working there, and therefore it's designed to prevent the hard cases from being cracked.
And if it's scary to you to contemplate a lack of intellect among the officers in places like New London (or Detroit, or Chicago, or elsewhere), contemplate the fact that to become a chief of police, one must first become an officer. In other words, to reach the highest ranks of many police departments, you must first prove your mediocrity.
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