Law Enforcement

“We want our government to protect us, to make sure something like 9/11 never happens again. We quickly moved to give law enforcement more power to do this. But that now begs the question, did we move to fast? Did we give too much power away? I don’t have the answer.”

Michael Connelly

Law Enforcement in 2050 is an often brutal affair, marked by swift judgements and harsh sentences. Since The Collapse, the powers of law enforcement agencies have only grown, and little things like the ‘right to privacy’ or ‘probable cause’ are things of the past – unless you happen to be a valued employee of one of the powerful megacorps. Since the resolution of the First Corporate War in 2031, certain powerful organizations, signatories of the Corporate Sovereignty Treaty, are no longer legally subject to the laws and regulations of their host nations and, instead, police themselves. Legally, a sovereign megacorporation’s building is considered an embassy, and valued employees are accorded the rights of a diplomatic mission. While technically a host nation may expel a sovereign megacorporation or even sieze its property through eminent domain, this possibility has only rarely occured – the primary example is that of the Canadian States, when they siezed Armatech’s Canadian facilities and nationalized them to form CanaArm.

The employees of a megacorporation are not saved from tyranny; all of the prominent megacorporations utilize their internal security officers to the same effect as standard police, but with potentially even harsher penalties and almost always more ubiquitous surveillance, if not enforcement. Areas dominated by the megacorporations are often patrolled solely by the hired security guards of the megacorps, local police unwelcome intruders into their domain. Some of these corporate enclaves are so extensive that some corporates never venture out into an area patrolled and governed by the local government.

On the other end of the scale from the corporate enclaves are the Combat Zones. Where the enclaves embrace order and strict governance, even if by the corporations, the Combat Zones revel in chaos and anarchy. The Zones are areas that have been siezed by heavily-armed gangs of criminals, in areas so poor, or so well-fortified or populated by gangs, that the local police forces can’t push them out. It isn’t uncommon for a police surveillance drone to be shot out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile within moments of entering a Combat Zone. Police dare not tread in a Combat Zone without the backing of dozens of their best friends outfitted in full-blown battle rattle, and preferably with heavy vehicular support. As such, laws and the local government have little to no meaning within a Combat Zone; the only thing that truly matters is ‘might makes right,’ and it isn’t uncommon for a particularly strong gang to ‘rule’ a Combat Zone as if they were local warlords.

The technologies of the mid-21st century have changed law enforcement almost as much as poliltics and economics. Today, unmanned drones patrol over almost every urban area at one point or another, and on-the-spot DNA sequencing has made identifying the criminals stupid enough to leave evidence behind a snap. Augmented reality HUDs, aucoustic sensors, verifier software, and the many, many cameras on any street corner make typical detective work a snap, while electrolasers and advanced body armor allow the police to nab suspects easier. Corporate security officers might even have advanced technology like forensic swarms, powered armor, and neuronic restraints. The smart criminal must adapt to the new reality; cover your tracks, slip away unnoticed, hack the surveillance feeds. And above all, don’t get caught. Crime may pay in the world of 2050, but prison doesn’t – and that’s why most of them have been shut down.

Punishment for a crime is no longer as simple as tossing the offender in jail, or even summary execution – though execution is still a preferred method of dealing with certain crimes. Nowadays, the bottom line rules and the corps have figured out that prison just isn’t where the money is. The most common punishment for low-level crimes such as theft is a hefty fine and ‘parole’ – but it isn’t the parole of the early 21st century. Instead, a dedicated computer implant is installed in the parolee’s brain – often by the lowest bidder. This Chaperone Implant observes and records the parolee’s every move, the dedicated AI running on the implant detecting whenever the parolee performs an illegal action or otherwise violate’s their parole. The Chaperone immediately informs higher authority of the infraction, and if the parolee persists in committing illegal actions, it begins stimulating the pain centers in the parolee’s brain, inflicting shear agony upon the parolee. Some parolees remain on parole for life, while for others the term might be only a few months or years – and for some, the conditions of the parole are extremely strict, including such requirements as ‘no sex’, ‘no close relationships with women’, or (in some jurisdictions) ‘no happiness’. Whenever the Chaperone Implant detects any of these things happening, it works through the neural interface to counter them. The most restrictive conditions are considered to be by far worse than prison.

Repeat offenders and those who commit more serious crimes can be sentenced to much more serious punishments. The primary punishment for murder, rape, kidnapping, and other severe felonies is ‘death of personality’. This punishment, invented by Rossum Universal Industries in the late 20s, utilizes neural reprogramming methods to completely wipe the subject’s memory and personality, leaving them a blank slate. The reprogramming then begins in earnest, slowly rebuilding and reshaping the citizen into a productive member of society. This process is extremely costly, however, and the bottom line is king. RUI has devised a business strategy that everyone is happy with; RUI pays the jurisdiction the criminal has been convicted in a nominal fee, and in return it gets to retain the ‘Slates’ as their own property, rather than returning them to society at large. These Slates are processed using specialized training methods and cybernetically augmented in order to fill whatever positions RUI has available in its Legions. RUI is able to command top dollar for the services of these Slates, renting them out to whichever organization or individual is willing to pay. In the past, these ‘Slates’ have been used as upper-class security, disposable grunts, sex slaves, laboratory workers, and everything in between.

Law Enforcement

Edgerunners Langy Langy