Americans need to keep their heads, look at police reform, but stand up for law enforcement. Not to support the police and enforce our laws invites anarchy, and political chaos. Appeals to disband, defund, and delegitimize police are patently dangerous – they make no sense.
Democrats who fail to condemn anti-police lawlessness, while mocking and blocking Black Republican Senator Tim Scott’s forward-leaning police reform bill, are playing with fire – literally. Without fully funded police, and legal protections for good officers, law vanishes.
When 600 members of New York’s anti-crime unit were disbanded last week, shootings skyrocketed the first day, 28 incidents, 38 victims. As 300 New York police recover from riot injuries, 600 seek retirement, a 49 percent jump. That phenomenon will spread, if not stopped.
In DC, career law enforcement officers are stripped by the DC Council of self-defense and non-lethal technologies, traditional means for keeping peace. Legal protections are removed, and federal agencies told not to help. What kind of madness is this? Who would want to stay on such a force? In an officer poll, 71 percent said they will leave if the measure becomes permanent. Where will that that leave DC police, a force already 52 percent Black and under pressure?
Nationally, only 16 percent of the public want to defund police, yet Democrats see this as a clever wedge issue. Truth is, they are wrong. However much we want a flawless police force, transparency, consequences for egregious behavior, more money for social programs, society does not function without law enforcement. However much we want equality, cutting police budgets will backfire. Who answers 911 calls? Social workers have no interest in that – just ask.
So, here we go – into a political season defined by anti-police protests, violent riots increasingly penetrated by radical leftists, documented Chinese ties, recycled members of the Weather Underground and former BLM – Black Liberation Movement. The trend is not good.
In cities like Portland, Oregon, 911 calls are mounting. In Atlanta, 911 calls are going unanswered. In New York, crime is spiking. This is what happens to professionalism, recruiting and retention when political leaders – like New York’s Democratic mayor, governor, and House members – fail to appreciate sacrifices made to protect them.
In cities across the United States, crime is surging, with police ambushes, reduced police budgets, and threats to qualified immunity – that is, discretion to act in self-defense without open-ended liability. By example, homicides in Los Angeles jumped 250 percent in a week.
So, what is the answer? The answer is not complicated. It does take calm, responsible leadership – and civic engagement. The answer is to remember rule of law is at risk. Only 900,000 police keep order for 326 million Americans. That ratio, one to 362, is challenging.
Needed are three things: Strong public support for local police, transparency and reform that does not devalue or defund the police, and a collective recollection that our republic is fragile.
On the first, let local officers know you respect them. Find a way to tell them. On the second, let congressional Democrats know you expect support for Senator Tim Scott’s reform bill, which is a big step forward – providing accountability, disincentives for no-knock warrants, linkage of grants to training, transparency on a national level to reduce prejudice. He sets a national commission to study how young Black men are affected by disparities in education and justice. Who can be against those objectives?
Finally, take a breath. The nation has gone through similar times, faced radical violence before, and we survived. The point is not to panic or postpone, but to step up, seeking responsible steps forward. Americans need to keep their heads, look to police reform, but stand up for the police. Without appreciation for law enforcement, crime and anarchy win.