At first, I suspect the police won't be crazy about this new "public service website." Long term, perhaps "officer rating" could encourage the police to reach out to their communities, and encourage American police to behave less aloofly, to be less standoffish. And that can only be a good thing.
Because individual officer ratings could most easily be skewed, I suspect the real value of such professional rating services is in the aggregate. RateMyCop could provide maps of US states and counties with the highest and worst rated police forces, and these could be compared with various crime statistics and information about officer pay. This could encourage the emulation of best practices. Online student ratings of classroom teachers ratings could similarly be useful in the aggregate. There is, in fact, a website called RateMyTeachers.com.* (Of course, the best known such services is designed for college students and called RateMyProfessors.com)
*Incidentally, RateMyTeachers reports: "We currently know of 967 schools and 181 school districts blocking RateMyTeachers. . . ."
Update: I've been reading police officer reactions to the RateMyCop, and it seems the site raises very serious safety concerns among the officers:
- "I would urge each of you to contact your agency and association/union in an effort to get the site shut down to protect officers nationwide."
- "Bad deal. Just sent the link to my command to see if they can have someone look into it more. My entire 1,000+ officer departent is listed."
- "Looks like a shopping center for cop killers to me. Pick a name that sounds good then go pick off the officer. That site is nothing more than a disaster waiting to happen."
- "My Sheriff has turned it over to the County Attorney’s Office. We don’t want our names on a public list. I have gone through great measures to keep my information private. I have had people in custody that have given me threats and told me where I live and the color of my house. I really don’t wan’t my name all over the internet for just anybody to look at."