The Police Aren’t Legally Obligated To Protect You
By Russ Kick
March 5, 2010
Without even thinking about it, we take it as a given that the police must protect each of us. That’s their whole reason for existence, right?
While this might be true in a few jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada, it is actually the exception, not the rule. In general, court decisions and state laws have held that cops don’t have to do a damn thing to help you when you’re in danger.
In the only book devoted exclusively to the subject, Dial 911 and Die, attorney Richard W. Stevens writes:
It was the most shocking thing I learned in law school. I was studying Torts in my first year at the University of San Diego School of Law, when I came upon the case of Hartzler v. City of San Jose. In that case I discovered the secret truth: the government owes no duty to protect individual citizens from criminal attack. Not only did the California courts hold to that rule, the California legislature had enacted a statute to make sure the courts couldn’t change the rule.