Try to imagine you’re a police officer on foot patrol in a neighborhood with a high crime rate. Walking down the street you’re about to turn the corner but stop abruptly and remain still. You notice a short distance across the way what appear to be two young men acting suspiciously, they don’t notice you yet. Based on your years of experience, you sense something is wrong and judging by their mannerisms and body movements they may be armed.
You’re a professional, proud of your service to the city and community that has placed its trust in you, and that depends on your steadfast ability and skills. Yours are only the best of intentions, enforcing the law honorably, fairly, and judiciously, and maintaining the safety and security of the residents. There was a time when you would have approached the pair and performed your duty unquestionably and with dispatch. You would have asked questions, and with what you believe was a reasonable amount of certainty, performed a frisk.
But that was then; now you are the victim of derision, anger, and disrespect by the same people you pledged to protect. People no longer sanction your actions, and because you’re in the eye of a storm, swept up in what you believe is a malicious and contrived assault on you and law enforcement officers across the nation by leadership and a gaggle of radicals and malcontents. So you hesitate. You think of your family, their future and yours, and then that dreaded thought enters your mind - "but what if?" What do you do?
Do you step back out of sight, or make your presence known and just stand your ground, in both cases knowing full well that your decision to take no action might manifest itself someday in an innocent person victimized by one or both of these potential perpetrators. You should not have been put in this position of uncertainty, you feel inadequate, a failure, you question your own judgment and capacity to make the right decision, and think perhaps it’s time to not only step back, but for the good of the force and all concerned, just turn in your badge and move on.
Sadly, this scenario is in fact being played out on the streets of the cities across the nation. The reason for this tragic turn of events is that there is one essential element that most detractors and those seeking to impose draconian rules and restrictions on law enforcement officers fail to comprehend, the human factor, the loss of passion and vigor for the job, loyalty to the force, and an adversarial mindset toward those the police are sworn to protect.
You can quote and inject into the discussion all the crime statistics available, add in all the platitudes and inflammatory rhetoric, the protests and lootings, the political maneuverings and manipulations, and the interaction of law enforcement and communities, but it will do no good. If the men and women of the police lose faith and trust in their leaders, are the constant victims of derision and threats of lawsuits, they will lose heart and spirit. The cities will eventually succumb to a wave of crime and social upheaval, a manifestation of restricted and inadequate policing; it may not happen today or tomorrow but it will happen.
The fact is, it’s already happening in cities whose police force have had to go through re-programming in what has come to known as “unconscious bias.” In other words you may not think you’re biased, but deep down inside you’re a raving bigot. You just don’t know it yet. This psychological manipulation is being imposed as part of an effort being carried out by so-called experts who have never saved a life, walked a beat, chased down a suspect, made an arrest, and exchanged gunfire; it is not only outrageous, but dangerous. Over the past several years incidents of police deaths have increased. In 2015 two New York City officers were assassinated, and in 2016 five Dallas officers were murdered by a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.
For all their heroic efforts to save lives and apprehend the criminal, the men and women of police departments across the nation are on the edge, under siege, and under fire. They’re constantly being maligned, and are the targets of the grievance industry that accuses them of brutality and racism. They are accused of being the reason for the recent controversy of NFL players kneeling in defiance of the national anthem.
And yes, there will always be rogue cops that defy conventional systems and give the force a bad name, but they are few and far between. But, we will all rue the day if this war on law enforcement is not peacefully settled. All Americans who respect the police must stand up and speak out.