What Next

Policing for Profit

Inside a town where law enforcement sees citizens as dollar signs.


Episode Notes

Over the last few years, a sleepy Southern town has seen its arrest rate grow more than 1,100 percent. It’s not because of a spike in crime in Brookside, Alabama; instead, the town’s law enforcement has adopted a policing-for-profit model that treats citizens as revenue generators and cracks down on them accordingly. In turn, some residents enter debt spirals as the town’s police force rakes in more cash, with no signs of this stopping anytime soon.

Guest: John Archibald, columnist for AL.com and the Birmingham News.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz, and Carmel Delshad.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.