Policing expert Dennis Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, says neighborhood watch efforts can be positive but turn into problems when volunteers "decide that instead of supplementing law enforcement, they are going to replace law enforcement. Then you cross potentially into vigilantism."... Nichols says what his group is doing is "not vigilantism at all."Okay, I get why an academic might say it, and why the word carries emotional freight that would make someone want to deny it. But I never heard before that was the distinction. Vigilantes at their best, if I remember, could and did work with official law enforcement (when there was any), and hand their prisoners over to the courts for trial (when, again, there were any). The crowd in The Ox-Bow Incident turns evil, not when they decide to apprehend suspects in a murder, but when they follow a leader who decides that they're going to do their hanging on the spot - "because they don't think the courts are fast enough."
Armed Posse Patrols Timber Land in Sheriff's Place
Story from Oregon here, about citizens stepping up to do local police work. One part I do not get -
By Joseph W. on Wednesday, October 17, 2012