Posted by Yoda and Dauntless Don | Posted in Counter Terrorism, Crime, Escalating Crime, Home, Law Enforcement, Magnified View, News Analysis, Personal Security, Police Cuts, Politics, Security, Strategies for Survival, Tactics and Training, Tactics and Training | Posted on 12-05-2015
New York Post- The death of yet another NYPD officer, killed in the line of duty after an incident this weekend, offers more proof that police officers across America are under siege.
They are under fire in the streets, in the media, in their own departments and from political leaders.
Understandably, their frustration has never been higher. In precinct locker rooms, police association meeting halls and whispered conversations between partners, the topic is the same: de-policing — that is, the conscious decision by cops to provide only minimum service.
The persecution of Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson for justifiably killing a man who attempted to take his weapon and shoot him was the first in a devastating chain of events touching the lives of police in ways that could have far-reaching consequences.
That situation was followed by Eric Garner’s death while resisting arrest in Staten Island.
Now in Baltimore, six officers’ careers — and lives — are imploding as they face trial for the death of career criminal Freddie Gray.
These events have convinced law enforcement officers the threats to them have changed dramatically.
Not only are their lives in jeopardy every time they make a stop, but when they are forced to take a combative suspect into custody, they face the possibility of prosecution.
The dangers of policing are increasing due to the false narrative that cops are racists, indiscriminately killing minority youths.
This is advanced by political leaders, negative media coverage and “activists” hungering for their 15 minutes of fame. It’s exacerbated by the abuse of social media.
That was illustrated by the recent events in Baltimore, when high school students were directed via social media to attack police, causing injuries to multiple officers.
The kids were emboldened by the apparent stand-down orders of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.
Concerned about overzealous prosecution or runaway civil liability, cops are understandably considering a logical option: de-policing. They’ll handle calls, write a ticket or two — but do nothing proactive.
It’s self-preservation from a physical, legal and administrative standpoint in an environment where police careers and lives appear to be expendable.
De-policing has occurred before within a few agencies but never on a national scale.
We saw a brief glimpse of it in New York after the killings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, when the city saw a huge drop in “officer-initiated activity” and a resulting increase in violent crime.
Proactive policing is the standard by which good police supervisors, administrators and even the officers themselves judge the effectiveness and competency of police service.
Anybody can be “an empty suit” — a term police use for a cop who’s merely killing time until retirement. The pride that goes along with “policing with honor” is what generally motivates the vast majority of America’s police to do more.
It’s the desire to actively pursue criminal elements and to serve and protect neighborhoods that motivates much of law enforcement.
Undermine that pride and make them the enemy because of personal or political agendas and you will create a perfect storm that leads to de-policing.
Let’s face: Any time an officer is required to use force, there is a possibility of injury or death, whether to the suspect or the officer.
Last year 126 officers were killed, and an astonishing 50,000 were physically assaulted by combative suspects. Many were severely injured and permanently disabled and will suffer for the rest of their lives.
For that reason, police are trained to use “the force necessary to effect the arrest” — and sometimes that means injuries occur.
To then prosecute officers for using force when an inadvertent serious injury or death occurs is to display a gross disregard for the basic rights of our police — and to cripple law enforcement.
Our nation stands at a crossroads. De-policing would deal a win to thugs, vigilantes and criminal opportunism. The public must stand against the conditions that force cops to consider such a radical move.
Our belief in “justice for all” is what prevents tyranny and anarchy. Acknowledging that cops deserve justice and respect, no less than criminals do, will preserve a system that, while imperfect, keeps Americans safe. It’s time we defended the shield.
Police Lt. Randy Sutton (Ret.) is the national spokesman for the American Council on Public Safety, a 33-year law enforcement veteran and author. www.defendingtheshield.org/