podcast hack

What Are the Police For, Anyway?

Freakonomics Radio, Stephen J. Dubner

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

In this September 2021 episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner examines the function of the police and how the U.S. police force has evolved over time, questioning whether redefining their role could lead to more effective, unbiased service.


What Are the Police For, Anyway?

What Are the Police For, Anyway?

by Freakonomics Radio


The United States has triple the rate of fatal police shootings of any other wealthy democracy, and civilian confidence in the police sits at only about 50%. But why is U.S. policing so drastically different from any other country in the world, and what can be done about it?

Freakonomics Radio is a podcast dedicated to unraveling the underexamined side to all social and economic topics. In this episode from September 2021, journalist and host Stephen Dubner unpacks what sets U.S. policing apart, and how it can return to its original mission of protection.

Dubner is joined by police officers from opposite sides of the Atlantic - Alex Murray of the London Metropolitan Police and Edwin Raymond from the NYPD, as well as Sarah Seo, professor of law at Columbia Law School. Together, the group runs through the cultural and institutional factors that make U.S. policing unique.

Favorite quote

I see policing as philanthropic. I definitely do. Our purpose is to serve citizens… If you were to say in two words, the mission of policing, I would say 'less victims'.

- Alex Murray

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