Law Enforcement Hiring, Retention, and Morale: What Can’t Continue, Won’t

Law Enforcement Hiring, Retention, and Morale: What Can’t Continue, Won’t

By Steve Pomper

Economist Herbert Stein (Ben Stein’s father) once said, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” That sounds good, but we have to ask: when? And what does “stop” mean? If the “something” is the degradation of law enforcement, then hopefully when means soon. But if “stop” means cease to function as traditional American law enforcement, that would be catastrophic.

But as with the current government-enabled invasion of millions of illegal immigrants and energy and economic policies brutalizing Americans, it appears the demeaning of law enforcement is also intentional.

And police hiring, retention, and morale are still critical issues. John Solomon’s Just the News recently featured an article which says, “As crime rates climb across the nation, police departments in several major U.S. cities are facing a crisis, namely, the inability to recruit new police officers. As a result, staffing shortages have led to increased overtime, thinly spread patrols, and a rise in crime rates.”

Paul Pazen, Denver police chief said, “We are holding things together with duct tape and chewing gum right now.”

Chief Pazen told Time magazine the short staffing is causing two-minutes longer response times when seconds matter. This when the city has seen an “increase in homicides, shootings and serious domestic violence cases.”

Oddly, some people are still asking, why the difficulty hiring new recruits, retaining veterans, and why is morale in the toilet?

For one thing law enforcement continues to be the only profession where many people accept blanket condemnation of all, for the actions of one or a few. Worse, the “controversial” incidents are more often than not either misjudged, negatively narrated, or entirely fabricated. 

Why else would cops in Boston, Atlanta, and Portland be held responsible for a single incident occurring in Minneapolis, over 1,000 miles away from those cities?

When was the last time public school teachers in Baltimore, Chicago, or Portland were held responsible for a teacher in Kenosha accused of assaulting a child? Where are the mass, violent, nationwide protests? Like cops, (most) teachers are public employees.

But teachers are among the darlings of the radical left. The powerful education unions need teachers to coerce the unions’ brand of neo-Marxism. Radical leftists only whip out that broad brush when they have an opportunity (or create one) to paint cops, not teachers, negatively.

By only targeting cops, of all public employees, the anti-police activist class can continue interfering with law enforcement. They can keep pushing for policies and laws camouflaged as “police reforms.” And, as we’ve seen in states like Washington, it inevitably leads to legislatures later repealing laws that jeopardize public safety—after much damage is done. And this also creates public confusion. Are the cops “broken” or not?

 This sentiment also applies to the federal consent decrees leftist government officials are handing out to local law enforcement agencies, as if from a Pez dispenser.

Recently, a Seattle cop made comments on an inadvertent body-worn video/audio recording that anti-cop factions have exploited to trash him. The recording only includes the officer’s half of a conversation and was primarily reported without the context or any explanation. When some context and an explanation were provided, the media immediately cast doubt on the veracity, and cop-haters dismissed them so they could maintain their fake outrage.

And there are other harmful effects on cops’ morale, retention, and hiring. Let’s say that one officer meant the horrible things he’s accused of saying. Well, there’s already talk about the feds leaving in place an over decade-long, bogus consent decree after recently teasing they might lift it. One of those who will reportedly make that decision will be U.S. DOJ Asst. AG for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke who is no friend to police officers.

According to Powerline blog, “Clarke grossly misled Senators during an exchange with Sen. Tom Cotton regarding Jacob Blake, who was shot by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Shortly after the shooting, Clarke stated on social media that Blake was unarmed. It is undisputed, however, that Blake had a knife.” [Jacob Blake link added]

Kristen Clarke, cop-hater chosen by Joe Biden to head “civil rights” enforcement at DOJ, which often targets law enforcement.

Clarke heads DOJ investigations into police “civil rights” violations—the rare true ones and the more common pretend kind. She and her ilk are more reasons for low morale and difficult retention and recruitment.

For example, Seattle has some 1,400 sworn officers (at full strength, but far fewer today). If anti-cop feds can make universal decisions when only a single, a couple, or a few officers are accused of wrongdoing, what chance do the cops have of ever getting out from under the leftist jackboots of the feds who have been effectively commandeering local law enforcement through these decrees?

There will always be “bad apples” and falsely accused good apples. This is especially true in law enforcement where cops are constantly accused of wrongdoing only to be exonerated after their persecutions. And governments rarely, if ever, hold accountable the people making the false accusations—especially when it’s government officials doing it.

The cycle, and viciousness, won’t end until everyone in the criminal justice system are doing their jobs. In too many jurisdictions, only the cops are doing their jobs: arresting criminals and tossing them in the pokey.

But after the arrest, an activist judge may release them with or without charges or, as in too many places now, with no bail. Or a Soros-styled prosecutor who refuses to prosecute even violent felons will set them free to prey on society—again.       

Recently, Jeff Simpson, president of the FOP Capital City Lodge #9 Columbus, Ohio, the fourth largest FOP lodge in America, posted on X (fka Twitter) a FOX News Media graphic with a quote by FOP national VP Joe Gamaldi, lamenting police shortages.

Amid poor police recruitment, retention, and “record-low morale, Gamaldi said, “We have seen politicians, some in media, activists, and grifters attempt to garner power and influence by demonizing and denigrating the noble profession of law enforcement.” He continued, “You combine that with the revolving door criminal justice system brought on by rogue DAs, activist judges and woke politicians, which allows criminals right back on the street after we risk our lives catching them, and it becomes pretty clear why no one is interested in taking the job.” 

Reflect on this point: “After we risk our lives catching them. Talk about adding insult to a possible life-ending injury? If you ever wonder why cops take these anti-cop policies and laws so personally, ask what is more personal than a person’s life.

Let’s say you’re a cop. You and your fellow officers risk life and limb to arrest dangerous criminals just to watch a perverted criminal justice system routinely set them free, so they can further prey on the public and hurt more cops. And the vicious cycle continues—as planned.