Bring Back the Fear
When did the police become America’s punching bags? I mean that literally, as well as figuratively. Was there a defining moment? Or did our country gradually morph into a society where the authority of Law enforcement officers has eroded to the point where even grade school children no longer fear consequences from confrontations with the police?
Now I know that merely using the word “fear” in a conversation about law-enforcement is in and of itself politically incorrect. I mean, after all, if one was to listen to all of the political rhetoric coming from Senators, Congressman, Governors, Mayors, and all assorted others who consider themselves experts in law-enforcement and community relationships, the police should work tirelessly and relentlessly to reform themselves into a kinder and gentler culture. Every discussion concerning Violence and law-enforcement always and inevitably will center around the fault. Whose fault? I will give you just one guess, of course, the fault of the police.
Let’s take a short walk down memory lane. Remember just a few years ago, when everyone from the media to the former President of the United States Barack Obama was crying out for body-worn cameras to be issued to every police officer in the United States. Why? To protect the public from those mean old bullies, the police.
The word “reform” was the rallying cry for politicians, the media, and social justice warriors. So, quite literally, millions and millions of dollars have been spent on equipping law-enforcement officers across the United States with body-worn cameras. But I wonder if you had noticed this? When was the last time you heard these demands for body-worn cameras? The answer is you probably haven’t. Why? The answer is also simple. The reality is that the use of body-worn cameras has revealed that law enforcement officers act appropriately, not using force unnecessarily, and have shown that it is the police who need to be protected from the public.
Once again, I mean this both physically in terms of assaults against them and the thousands of frivolous and concocted complaints filed against them for everything from excessive force to sexual assault. Yes, the evidence is quite clear. The vast majority of law-enforcement officers in this country do their jobs as they are expected to do.
Yet the war against cops continues not only unabated but is accelerating. Every single day a law enforcement officer puts on his uniform and goes out on patrol, they are quite literally putting their lives on the line. The murder rate against officers continues. Officers’ being shot happen almost daily in this country, and physical assaults have become commonplace. The critical question here is, why?
I am going to relate my theory, and I am going to describe my solution. I am pretty sure that the international Association of Chiefs of police won’t be adopting it. As to my theory of why? Because all of the “reforms” the law enforcement has been called upon to make have been all too successful.
All of the mandatory training in de-escalation techniques, Sensitivity Training, Implicit Bias, and Community Relations combined with law enforcement administration’s heavy-handed disciplinary processes relating to the use of force have sufficiently intimidated working cops into becoming minimally aggressive to survive the political environment. Some refer to this as de-policing, and that is an accurate characterization. It is merely a matter of survival, not necessarily physical survival, but political survival.
What does this look like to your average American? It means less proactive police work. It means fewer car stops looking for criminals. It means fewer pedestrian stops looking for guns, drugs, and fugitives. It means fewer physical encounters; getting out of the patrol car less; it means taking fewer risks as in ‘you’ll never get in trouble for the car stop you don’t make.’
In other words, it means the bad guys are winning. When the police are afraid to do their job, Not because of the physical dangers but because of the political risks, society becomes a dangerous place.
I told you before that I also had a solution. Everything that I just talked about concerning the factors of de-policing empowers criminality, civil unrest, violence, and injustice. Why? Because when people figure out that there are no consequences for their actions, the reality is that the ugliness of human nature is unleashed.
Robbers find it easier to rob, thieves find it easier to steal, drug dealers deal drugs with impunity, and our very society becomes threatened. I believe it is time to ‘bring back the fear.’ Fear of consequences first and foremost, and that includes the fear of the police. Does that sound harsh? Well, I believe that a little fear is healthy. I think fear is a deterrent to criminality. I think that someone should be fearful of putting their hands on a Law Enforcement Officer. I believe that someone should be afraid of pulling a gun on a Cop. I think that someone should be fearful of becoming argumentative and disrespectful to a Police Officer and resisting arrest.
I served as a Police Officer for 34 years, and I will tell you this as sure as I’m sitting here, I lived the rule that if you try to hurt me, I will hurt you back. If you try to kill me, I’m going to kill you first. Simple. Those are the rules of the road.
It is time for police leadership to stop surrendering to political whims and fantasies. Law-enforcement Is often messy, law enforcement is often ugly, and law-enforcement is always dangerous. It is the responsibility of political leaders. It is the responsibility of law-enforcement leaders to make the playing field as safe as possible for the men and women who serve in our nation’s law-enforcement agencies.
That means understanding that law enforcement officers will need to use force, including deadly force, to accomplish their mission and safeguard their own lives. And no amount of political correctness should stand in the way of allowing our country’s police to do with they are paid to do; to serve and protect. That includes protecting themselves.