By Steve Pomper
In the recent past, America has suffered (is suffering) from, first, “reform the police” and then “defund the police” activism. At least the defund the police folks are honest about their cop hate. They don’t pretend they just want to “fix” cops by creating rules that won’t allow them to do their jobs. The defunders (new Marvel villain group?) just hate cops and aren’t afraid to say it and show it.
Some more surreptitious supporters of the defund movement have prevaricated and employed euphemisms such as “reallocate police funds” to alternative community services. Still, defund the police, to any degree, has devastated law enforcement agencies and public safety in blue jurisdictions nationwide.
According to a great article by Michael Clements in The Epoch Times, “More than two years after activists pressed for the defunding of police departments across the nation over accusations of murder, brutality, and other crimes allegedly committed by a few in law enforcement, officers say the wounds are still present and painful.”
“‘If you want me to risk my life, it’s one thing to pay me, but it’s another to respect me,’ Dave Smith, a veteran police officer, law enforcement trainer, and public speaker, told The Epoch Times.”
The radical, anti-cop left constructed a mythology and then drew caricatures of police officers, which it then sold to the public. The mythology is about cops’ use of force (police brutality), particularly against minorities, including lethal force. However, as we’ve said repeatedly, no valid statistics exist back this up.
According to FBI stats, the number of “unarmed” black suspects killed by police annually barely cracks double digits. And even in most of those cases, the unarmed suspect is attempting to kill the police officer when he was shot.
None of this is new, but the frustrating part is, for the NPA and other pro-police organizations, it may as well be new. Rather than report accurately about cops, too many media outfits are okay with allowing the anti-cop myth to perpetuate.
My department (Seattle) was already known for violent leftist demonstrations way before Floyd and even before WTO in 1999. I recall, during the mid-90s, a group showed up at Seattle’s East Precinct (of CHOP/CHAZ infamy) to protest the U.S. Navy practice bombing in Puerto Rico. Regardless of your position on the issue, why show up at a police station?
So, in Seattle and many other American cities, officer morale began to withdraw back then, and since then it’s gone into full retreat. The NPA just wrote about Seattle officers’ leaked exit interview comments, which told their bleak story.
Some politicians argued they could attract cops with more money. But a majority of exiting officers said the money was not the issue. I know many cops who’ve gone to other agencies for less money. It’s often more about respect and trusting your superiors to have your back.
Cops have difficulty knowing who and what they are but not seeing that reality reflected back at them by a respectful public. Instead, officers are baffled when they hear anti-cop descriptions about them showing the great disconnect. As far as some are concerned, “ACAB” defines police officers.
For them, an isolated, controversial incident that happened hundreds or even thousands of miles away from other American cities was enough for activists and politicians to react as if it had occurred in their front yard.
What does what officers do in Minneapolis have to do with officers in Seattle, Portland, St. Louis, or Washington D.C.? Nothing at all. It makes zero sense unless you choose to pretend it makes sense. And a lot of people have. That’s why defund the police moved so quickly from Minneapolis to other cities.
In Seattle, it essentially forced a popular police chief to resign rather than fire 100 officers.
NPA national spokesperson retired Sgt. Betsy Smith told The Epoch Times, “We’ve had two and a half years of demonization,” which has led to massive short-staffing issues all over the nation.
Smith also noted, “Funding that has since been restored in many municipalities still has much to do in rebuilding the confidence many officers once had in their communities.”
Respect and trust go both ways. It’s hard for cops to trust people who so easily decide to disrespect them because some cop-hating community activists tell them to. And because they keep electing people who don’t respect cops.
Cops remember that before George Floyd, things weren’t perfect, but they were sure better than after.
Seattle Police on Riot Duty
Police veteran Dave Smith, Betsy’s husband and business partner said, “If you want me to risk my life, it’s one thing to pay me, but it’s another to respect me.”
As Clements wrote, “Chauvin’s conviction and sentencing did little to satisfy activists.” That’s because they will not be satisfied as long as the police exist. Defunders like BLM and Antifa don’t build; they just tear down what others have built.
That’s because BLM and Antifa don’t exist to compromise with reasonable people. They have a Marxist/anarchist ideology, and they want to defund the police out of existence. Some who just consider themselves police critics may be more willing to compromise, but their pretending that BLM and Antifa are a part of any possible cooperation only perpetuates the radical’s hate toward police.
Sgt. Smith emphasized most people want police protection. “The public needs to stand up and fight back. It’s a small minority of people who are in the defund the police movement.”
“The public can turn things around by getting involved, Betsy Smith said. She said voters must elect officials who enforce the law fairly and without political consideration and must not tolerate prosecutors who allow criminals to run free. They must make clear exactly what they expect from their government.”
“Tell your elected officials to put police back to work,” she said. Some people try to make the solution more complicated than Sgt. Smith’s notion, but it’s not. That is the solution.