We must support our law enforcement professionals. [Opinion]

The United States has witnessed an increase in the rate of federal, state, and local law enforcement dying in the line of duty. Candidly, these were executions!

The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported some 59 law enforcement professionals were killed on duty in 2021. This is a 51% increase over the prior year and is unacceptable to the vast majority of Americans who support our law enforcement professionals.

All of these 59 were murdered. Recently, a Baltimore Police Officer, sitting in her patrol car, was executed by gunman who were out on bail. This officer was a mom and wife and was executed because she was willing to be a police officer.

These deaths destroy families and cast emotional impact on those who serve as a peace office or on the support staff. Peace Officers are a close-knit group. Most went through a mentally tough and physically challenging academy, are in training for a lengthy probation period, and many serve side by side with the same men and women.

As the Executive Officer at one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies, it was my honor to attend the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., for six consecutive years and another year as a chief of staff.

These ceremonies are unique — and a sobering reminder of the sacrifice of the 22,000 officers who have died in the line of duty here in the United States. These figures date back to 1786 when the first peace officer died while in the line of duty.

What is uniquely special about this Peace Officer Memorial Week in Washington, D.C. is the fact that the seated President of the United States meets with families who have lost a loved one at our nation’s Capitol and then addresses peace enforcement executives, sworn and support staff in local, regional, national, and state law enforcement.

Patrol cars from many cities, counties, and states are also present with peace officers on hand. A full week of ceremonies celebrating the lives and sacrifices of police professionals also transpires. It is a series of ceremonies and seminars that recognizes the sacrifices of the officers and, as important, provides support for families of the fallen. Similar ceremonies occur in most states, counties, and cities.

After a year that saw riots in many cities and law enforcement under attack in 2021, it is a relief that we aren’t laying to rest more peace officers.

Many left-leaning office holders cut funding, believe that social workers are the answer for societal issues, and that we must further hamper law enforcement with bailouts for all, and parole for the incarcerated.

That doesn’t work!  If it did, we wouldn’t have recorded assaults on 60,000 plus law enforcement personnel. Some 9,895 law enforcement agencies reported these figures to the FBI in 2021. These are also records and reflect poorly on Americans.

These are alarming numbers! Elected officials at every level from the President on down to city council, alderman, and city commissioners should be supporting our peace officers. That means adequate funding to meet the challenges faced by law enforcement professionals Protecting local communities, a state, and our nation.

Many young women and men wanted to serve as enforcement team members, However, record retirements and overzealous protection of convicted and alleged criminals is taking its toll on recruiting. You can’t blame these young men and women rethinking a career in public safety.

If you watched most cable and network news this past year, it’s open season for criticism of law enforcement. The ugly names and phrases aimed at them are unjustified and the vast majority are not true.

Yes, an infinitesimal number of officers have used force that is not within policy. Yes, improvement in policies is being addressed by federal, state, regional, and city law enforcement across the nation. Most law enforcement leaders and unions welcome changes that enhance public safety and policing.

We must support our law enforcement leaders. We must support our law enforcement professionals. We must also teach our children to respect those who serve. Trust must be restored in our law enforcement agencies. Peaceful protests are welcome and a fundamental right.

We are to a point in this country where we need a National Peace Officers Bill of Rights. What those laws may look like should be shaped by the public and peace officers who can work proactively to make Americans safe again.

If we want safer streets and communities, we must face the facts that a law enforcement community must have our appreciation, respect, and gratitude.

Attracting the present and future law enforcement professionals should be above political posturing and about protecting those who serve and those they serve.

To those serving, thank you. You are appreciated by the vast majority of Americans.




Image Sources

  • Officers attend funeral services for slain officer: Shutterstock