If there's one thing that the science fiction of our youth taught us, it's that the future will be almost comedically tough, meaning that lawmen of the future will have to be even tougher just to get the job done.

Just as the 1980s predicted that all futures were most likely dystopian (Unless they were Star Trek), they also brought the idea that the sheriffs of the future would most likely take those "fascist pig" comments to heart and start modeling themselves as leather-wearing, faceless figures with a love for violence and a distaste for personal freedoms. Anti-authoritarian zeitgeist, or something more sinister? Consider the evidence:

Judge Dredd (1977)
Appears in... The comic strip that's appeared in 2000AD, his own series, and the we-only-wish-we-could-forget-it movie.
Would you describe him as personable? Not exactly. Cloned from a former high-ranking official of Mega-City One, Joe Dredd's life is focused on one thing and one thing only: The Law. And if you're unclear on what that may entail, Dredd - or any number of his fellow Judges - will be happy to help teach you. Preferably by arresting you for ignorance and letting you work it out yourself in jail.
Does he have special weapons or vehicles? Oh yes. Primarily, his suped-up ride the Lawmaker, and his multiple-bullet-firing (including heat-seeking and armor-piercing) Lawgiver gun.
What about a fascistic outfit?

Yes. Although we're not sure about the knee-pads.

Plexus Rangers (1983)
Appears in... Howard Chaykin's wonderful American Flagg comic.
Would you describe them as personable? Definitely - Almost all of Chaykin's corporate cops policing the United States while taking orders from the Mars-based Plex HQ are, in their own ways, charming. Corrupt, selfish and lacking in most redeeming values, yes, but definitely charming.
Does he have special weapons or vehicles? Nope. Use of subliminal advertising and robot cops aside, the Plexus Rangers are pretty old-school. There's a talking cat, though. Does that count?
What about a fascistic outfit?



Justice Peace (1986)
Appears in... Various Marvel comics, whenever they need a time-traveling hard-ass from the future.
Would you describe him as personable? Yes - as long as you can prove that you're not a criminal. Coming from the World War VIII-era of Future Earth, Special Agent of the Federal Police Force Peace - regular beat Brooklynopolis - will stop at nothing to get his man. Not even time-travel to make sure that the crime doesn't even happen in the first place.
Does he have special weapons or vehicles? He's got a time-traveling flying bike called the Hopsikyl. That's got to count for something, right?
What about a fascistic outfit?


Um... No? But then again, it's was mid-1980s Marvel Comics.

Robocop (1987)
Appears in... The eponymous movies, comics and cartoon series.
Would you describe him as personable? If it was backwards day, sure. Poor Alex Murphy may have been gunned down in the course of duty on the streets of Detroit, but OCP - clearly fans of The Six Million Dollar Man - had the technology to rebuild him... except for that whole "personality" thing. But are you surprised, considering the four Directives he had, making decisions for him?
Does he have special weapons or vehicles? His whole body is a special weapon.
What about a fascistic outfit?


Not really. It was more functional than stylish, for one thing...

Marshal Law (1987)
Appears in... The comic book.
Would you describe him as personable? Depending on your taste for schizophrenic, sadistic, war-flashbacking psychopaths, potentially. When he's not the unstoppable, S&M-flavored superhero-killer Law, veteran supersoldier Joe Gilmore is almost an upstanding citizen of the wonderfully-named San Futuro. Problem is, he's normally the unstoppable, S&M-flavored superhero killer.
Does he have special weapons or vehicles? Given to carrying around (and using, of course) guns as big as Kevin O'Neill's imagination could make them, the better question may be "does he have any normal weapons?"...
What about a fascistic outfit?


Almost ridiculously so.

It wasn't all doom and gloom - After all, there were some cuddlier examples of future police forces based in older, more optimistic fantasies of tomorrow - but the storm trooper ideal that dominated more than a decade of SF policing remains a strong one (Consider the non-Tom Cruise cops of Minority Report), even if we're more likely to see robots taking over the world than police officers in mainstream SF these days. Here's hoping that those who try and imagine real futures of law enforcement are a bit more imaginative - and a little less enamored of the idea of living in Mega-City One.