If it were possible to make an accurate calculation of the evils which police regulations occasion, and of those which they prevent, the number of the former would, in all cases, exceed that of the latter.
—Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835) German Philosopher, Linguist, Statesman
A functioning police state needs no police.
—William S. Burroughs (1914–97) American Novelist, Poet, Short Story Writer, Painter
There is nothing more unaesthetic than a policeman.
—Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930) Scottish Writer
The art of the police is not to see what it is useless that it should see.
—Napoleon I (1769–1821) Emperor of France
You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch, therefore bear you the lantern.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
With their souls of patent leather, they come down the road. Hunched and nocturnal, where they breathe they impose, silence of dark rubber, and fear of fine sand.
—Federico Garcia Lorca (1898–1936) Spanish Poet
At one time my only wish was to be a police official. It seemed to me to be an occupation for my sleepless intriguing mind. I had the idea that there, among criminals, were people to fight: clever, vigorous, crafty fellows. Later I realized that it was good that I did not become one, for most police cases involve misery and wretchedness—not crimes and scandals.
—Soren Kierkegaard (1813–55) Danish Philosopher, Theologian
We now in the United States have more security guards for the rich than we have police services for the poor districts. If you’re looking for personal security, far better to move to the suburbs than to pay taxes in New York.
—John Kenneth Galbraith (1908–2006) Canadian-Born American Economist
I’m not against the police; I’m just afraid of them.
—Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980) British-born American Film Director, Film Producer
A really good detective never gets married.
—Raymond Chandler (1888–1959) American Novelist
He may be a very nice man. But I haven’t got the time to figure that out. All I know is, he’s got a uniform and a gun and I have to relate to him that way. That’s the only way to relate to him because one of us may have to die.
—James Baldwin (1924–87) American Novelist, Social Critic