Eight years goes by pretty fast. Well, that’s if you exclude the select few million people with premium hikes on Obamacare, the families destroyed by illegal immigration, or conservative college students silenced by their peers.
One group that has seen time slow to a crawl since 2009 has been law enforcement. There have obviously been tensions between the police and the communities they serve. However, with social media and a news cycle moving faster than ever before, things have gotten worse.
This past year, we lost five officers in Dallas, and three more in Baton Rouge. The media held town halls, open discussions with the President, high-ranking members of minority communities, and activists. However, no one has bothered to explore the root of the problem. No one has tried to ask those that have been the most ignored throughout this never-ending story: the cops on the beat. A poll released earlier in January by Pew Research revealed that a whopping 93 percent of police officers are concerned about their safety on the job, and 72 percent are less willing to pull over or stop suspicious individuals.
John is a 21-year-old, who is beginning his transition into the NYPD Academy, with his older brother already on the force. Matt has been with the NYPD for six and a half years. Vin has spent the last five years patrolling Bergen County, NJ. While all three were enthusiastic Trump supporters, their concerns with life on the streets are just as valid. The following interview with Red Alert Politics reveals some of their concerns. Note: The names of the subjects have been changed to protect their identities.
Red Alert: How do you feel the more liberal views of police work either by the Obama administration or the public have affected the job?
Matt: They’ve tied our hands by making cops more hesitant to do the job they signed up for. Stopping people, black/white/Spanish/Asian alike, is a complaint waiting and you’ll have to worry about getting sued if you did something but explain it the wrong way to a civilian who understands nothing about police work but is allowed to discipline us (CCRB: Civilian Complaint Review Board).
As an aside, according to the CCRB’s report in September 2016, civilian complaints had increased by 12 percent in the first half of the year than the same time in 2015. The report states the time to mediate these cases has decreased from an average time of 145 days to 89 from the first half of 2015 to 2016.
Vin: Obama has caused a divide between the police and community, possibly the worst divide this country has ever seen. He doesn’t honor fallen police officers but rather honors criminals that were justly detained or killed. Obama has never given credit to the police. It was the police who were first on scene at Pulse and Sandy Hook Elementary and other events like that. It’s the police who handle countless calls like unresponsive people that need CPR, bad car accidents, burglar alarms, and domestic violence. It’s hard to wake up every day, put your life on the line, and not have the support of the president. Obama should worry about the thousands of criminals he’s protected rather than the men and woman in law enforcement. Obama leaving office will be one of the greatest days this country’s law enforcement has ever seen.
John: If we go to more liberal approaches, police officers will be in lose-lose situations. It certainly makes it harder for a police officer to do their job correctly, because no matter what the officer may do, the media, the public, and even President Obama made it out to be the police’s fault.
New York Post columnist John Podhoretz noted that Obama’s eulogy in Dallas had started off as unifying and healing until the subject of race came up. He preached that with the gun traffic in inner cities, it is easier for a poor kid in the ghetto to obtain a Glock than a book. He also said that racial bias hasn’t vanished even with all the progress that has been made. Nonetheless, if you read through Obama’s entire speech, there are plenty of points where he defends the role of law enforcement in America, including his “we ask the police to do too much” line. The memorial is a symbol of the pain many officers have felt over the last eight years and the politicization of a tragic event among their ranks.
However, even with the negative numbers shown by police towards the politics of the job, many have been open to changes within their departments, specifically when it comes to body cameras. The Pew poll showed that two of three cops polled have no issue wearing them, including Officer Vin.
“A lot of police departments now either have body cameras or cameras in their cars,” he told Red Alert. “I am very much in favor of these cameras because I know in most cases these cameras will show that the officer acted justly and appropriately. The cameras actually tend to help the police more so than criminals. It shows that the police acted the right way.”
According to The Daily Signal, that statement is true. Salt Lake City’s police department introduced cameras in 2012, and the data has shown that complaints of police force from citizens dropped in the city from 40 to 50 per year shortly before the cameras to 18 in 2015. San Diego’s police department had the same effect, though the use of force from their law enforcement increased 10 percent from 2014 to 2015.
So, the challenge now, as Donald Trump takes the Oath of Office, is to deliver on his campaign of law and order. He must continue to show compassion to the police all through his trials and journey over 18 months. Hopefully, he’ll be able to swing the morale of law enforcement from moments like the NYPD turning its back on Mayor Bill de Blasio to the sort of unification in the aftermath of 9/11, minus the tragedy.