The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Not Worth the Cardboard It's Printed On?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (a/k/a The Stimulus Money) includes funding for the COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP).  In brief, the CHRP makes available up to $1 billion for the hiring and rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers.

Just in time, perhaps, to forestall (semi-)serious consideration of the "cardboard coppers" being deployed in the UK.  As Dave Barry says, I'm not making this up.  Thirteen police forces in England and Wales have purchased more than $28,000 worth of life-sized police-like cutouts which have been placed at gas stations to deter drive offs, as well as in retail locations to discourage shoplifting.  One likeness in the town of Belper was credited with reducing thefts--until somebody stole it.

While a police spokesperson claimed that "shops love having them, we rotate them around businesses," man-on-the-street comments run along the lines of "They are all mad, I tell you.  Completely raving mad." and "With pubs going under at an alarming rate, I think this is a good idea.  People will have something to throw their redundant darts at again."

Cutouts of this sort can be found on the Internet, ranging from the $31.88 econo model through a $189 premium model (volume discount pricing available) to a $795 fiberglass Figurine Cop Statue.  In an almost certainly fruitless attempt to act responsibly, I have not embedded links to these vendors and will provide URLs only to persons with a vaguely legitimate interest in such things!

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