POLICE Magazine

AUG 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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8 POLICE AUGUST 2019 THERE'S A FUNNY SIGN YOU WILL SEE IN A LOT OF AMERICAN OFFICES. It reads: "The Beatings Will Continue Until Mo- rale Improves" and is underscored with a skull and cross- bones. e humor is based on the fact that any employer or manager knows that abuse is not a way to improve any- one's morale. But it seems to be wisdom that was never passed on to the people who employ law enforcement officers. By that I don't mean chiefs and sheriffs. I mean the mayors and councils and supervisors and citizen commissions and even the public. And here's a warning to those folks: Your thin blue line between society and chaos is fraying. Heck, even using that term "thin blue line" or displaying any outward support for law enforcement is now consid- ered racist. Last month in York, ME, a family of police sur- vivors set out a in Blue Line flag on their street. And the York Diversity Forum (I kid you not) got triggered and said because the flag was displayed by some white supremacist know- nothings in Charlottesville back in 2017 that it was a racist symbol. I have multiple things to say about that to the York Diversity Forum. 1. Your town is about 98% white, so best get working on that diversity. 2. Hundreds of different flags were carried on the streets of Charlottesville during that mess, including Old Glory herself. 3. e argument that being a law enforce- ment officer and supporting law enforcement makes you a white supremacist must come as some surprise to African- American cops. en there's the water attacks. (And let's not call them "dousings" or "soakings" or any other euphemism. ese are attacks.) ey started in New York City with groups of teenagers and young men throwing buckets of water on uniformed officers. ey have spread to other loca- tions. What convinced these idiots that they could do this without any repercussions? I have no scientific proof, but I believe it was the anti-police sentiment expressed by City Hall. e targeted cops retreated from the attacks because they knew any action they took would be punished. is is not a criticism of the officers because they were in a no-win situation. But there should have been some arrests on the scene, even if that triggered a riot. Sometimes, you have to take a stand, even if it makes things worse in the short run. With such disrespect and lack of support expressed to- ward officers, is it any wonder that we have a shortage of police in many of America's largest cities? Case in point, Seattle. e Emerald City government is not just having a hard time hiring new cops; they're losing the ones they have. So, like a lot of employers dealing with an exodus of their workforce, the city conducted exit inter- views with its officers who were moving on. A local public radio station (KUOW) acquired the in- terviews through a public records request and published them. In the interviews, departing officers blasted the city for "hyper-aggressive oversight," "an increasingly spineless legal system," and for having a city council that "sucks." e city council sucks according to at least one officer because Councilmember Kshama Sawant literally called a police shooting a "murder" without wait- ing for an investigation. In a separate mayor's survey of 76 officers only six said they would recommend the department to a loved one. One said, "e culture is toxic, morale is low, and you can make just about the same amount of money at other departments." Not every officer's comment from the interviews or the mayor's survey was negative. One praised the department for its training that was "the best in the country." Others expressed great affection and admiration for their fellow officers and love for the city and its population. But one of the more telling comments was: "It is hard sometimes to stay positive when some days it feels like some people of Seattle don't want you there." Your soaking wet colleagues in New York City know how you feel. As do a lot of officers nationwide. Police morale is becoming a nationwide crisis, especial- ly in big cities. And that has the potential of leaving these agencies with extreme shortages of officers. Which may be the goal of many of the people slandering officers as white supremacists and murderers. ey want the police to stand down or even go away. Word of warning to those folks: You may not like the results. Verbal and physical attacks on officers are taking a toll on the officers and on the nation's safety. DAVID GRIFFITH David.Griffith@PoliceMag.com NYPD cops retreated from the attacks because they knew any action they took would be punished. KILLING POLICE MORALE EDITORIAL PHOTO: KELLY BRACKEN

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