Not even the fantastical, twisted literary worlds invented by Lewis Carroll aka Charles Dodgson prepared me for the rabbit hole the Democrats opened on Sunday with their strident claim that the policing crisis unfolding in Democrat-controlled cities is the fault of Republicans.
Yep. The Democrats who have been championing “Defund” the police since George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose last year are now having second thoughts as murders and gun violence become a common experience in the predominantly black neighborhoods comprising New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
In tandem with the explosion of violence that was detonated by Democrat leaders denouncing the police as fascist thugs, senior police officers are voting with their feet and saying good-bye to the job.
The Police Executive Research Forum is out with an important new study documenting the exodus. Here are the key findings:
On average, agencies are currently filling only 93% of the authorized number of positions available.
Among the responding agencies as a whole, fewer new officers were hired, and resignations and retirements increased in the 2020-2021 period, compared to the previous year.
HIRING: The reduction in hiring was relatively modest, with a 5% overall decrease in the hiring rate among responding departments. Smaller agencies actually saw an increase in hiring, while larger departments experienced dramatic reductions.
RESIGNATIONS: Increases in resignations were more significant. Agencies reported an overall 18% increase in the resignation rate in 2020-21, compared to 2019-20.
RETIREMENTS: Increases in retirements were even larger. Among all responding police departments, there was a 45% increase in the retirement rate. (In small departments, a small number of retirements may result in a high percentage increase in the retirement rate. But even in the largest agencies, with 500 or more officers, the retirement rate increased by 27%.)
The survey does not mention specific cities, but you need only look at the responses to appreciate that the police departments in the large urban areas are bailing out at an unprecedented rate. The situation is made worse because the police in those big cities are having trouble recruiting new officers.
This creates several serious problems. First, there are not enough officers to respond in a timely manner to an emergency call. Second, new officers will not have enough veterans to mentor them. Mentoring is a critical and under appreciated factor. A new cop fresh out of the academy still has a lot to learn when it comes to working on the streets in high crime areas. Learning how to recognize a dangerous developing situation is something a new officer garners from watching and listening to a senior officer who has been on the job for some years. Experience is invaluable, and that is what police departments across the nation are hemorrhaging.
The comments from the survey respondents are chilling:
“My department is getting younger as my experienced personnel retire/resign and are replaced with new officers. We are struggling to keep up with salaries for neighboring larger departments who are recruiting my experienced officers.”
“We have seen an approximate 40% reduction in applicant packets this last fiscal year. In addition, we are seeing fewer ‘above average’ candidates. The current rhetoric and negativity surrounding law enforcement is having a negative impact on the number and quality of applicants we recruit.”
“Applications have decreased dramatically, making hiring extremely difficult. And our officers have fatigue from working long shifts and covering backfill slots to supplement staffing.”
“We’ve had a more than 50% reduction in the number of applicants for the recruit academy, from an average of 450 per year, to only 205 in 2020. And we’ve seen a 100% reduction in qualified lateral recruits, with zero hired in 2020, compared to an average of 3 to 4 annually since 2008.”
I chatted with a new friend yesterday. He’s been with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for 21 years. Even here in this section of police friendly Florida, he said the County is having trouble filling new training classes. In addition, the physical and intellectual standards are being lowered. Previous candidates were required to run a mile and a half. That is no longer on the books.
When police are no longer readily available to help enforce the law and maintain order, it should not come as a shock that those communities become less safe.
There is another factor hurting the police. In many communities, they have been used as shock troops to enforce mask wearing and social distancing. However, that type of enforcement has been very inconsistent. If you are a Black Lives Matter protestor or an Antifa thug, you are usually left alone to go about your business of sowing mayhem. If you are a Christian wanting to attend church or a patron at a restaurant, it is likely that you were subjected to some sort of coercion by the police.
This has been a real problem in England:
COPS will go into Brits’ homes and break up Christmas family gatherings if they break lockdown rules, a police chief has warned.
David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC), said officers will investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive season.
But we have seen it here in America as well, particularly in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. That kind of double standard does not sit well with patriots and has made populations normally sympathetic to the police much less so.
This problem is not going away. The best thing you can do is ensure you have a firearm to protect yourself and your family. Most importantly, take the time to get properly trained on how to use that firearm. The worst thing you can do is buy a pistol and not have the first clue on how to load it or how to clear a stoppage.
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