COLUMBIA, SC – As the State Law Enforcement Division reports that violent crimes are on the rise, police departments are seeing more officers leave the job because of low morale, according to reports.
South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Director Jackie Swindler says a third of recent academy graduates left their positions in 2020. In a typical year, Swindler says that number is closer to just seven percent, WCSC5 reported.
Swindler says that the low morale is a direct result of officers feeling underappreciated by their communities, in addition to the fear that interactions on the street may escalate quickly, opening up the officers to a slew of danger and criticism.
Amid falling morale, a third of new law enforcement academy grads left the job in 2020 ⬇ https://t.co/b4Udn4mz0E
— WMBF News (@wmbfnews) July 17, 2021
This comes as no surprise since many political figures turned their backs on officers, portraying them as the criminals, in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May of 2020.
For Columbia Deputy Police Chief Melron Kelly, policing is a calling, not a job. But it’s not always easy to serve.
“You have to have a heart of service,”
He went on to say:
“I think anytime you’re dealing with the public and the things that we see as officers it kind of affects you. I think it affects all departments. It really does.”
Swindler says almost every agency has openings.
He credits the openings on the grueling schedules that officers face, in addition to a desire for a higher paying job. Despite these two reasons, Swindler says that the biggest trends he is seeing is a lack of morale, and officers not wanting to open themselves up to unnecessary dangers.
“You seem to see people who have lack of patience and they get angry very quickly,”
“You see that in stores, you see that in road rages. But imagine seeing that in law enforcement, any interaction you have, you don’t know if it will go from cordial to all of a sudden argumentative and combative.”
Swindler says whenever someone gets angry and combative, an officer’s life is at risk.
Violent crime is rising at an alarming rate in South Carolina. This afternoon, SLED released its preliminary crime statistics report for 2020. https://t.co/7XlwItfwJs
— ABC Columbia (@abc_columbia) June 3, 2021
“You don’t want to expect that every encounter you have could be a violent encounter,”
Both Kelly and Swindler say protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis Police custody in May 2020 triggered indictment on all police officers in the eyes of some in the public who fear an interaction with law enforcement will become deadly, WCSC5 reported.
Both officers do say however, that the death of George Floyd did highlight the importance of de-escalation training in departments.
“It made us more conscious of how we were directing our officers and how we were policing communities to make sure we were not over-policing and still going in and enforcing the rules and making sure they had a voice in how we were policing,”
Like many departments across the country, Kelly says his department does have enough officers to keep communities safe. But the issue is that low morale and vacancies can lead to departments not being able to do more like community outreach and more frequent check ins.
Early retirements can also cause a problem through a loss of some institutional knowledge and specific expertise.
Law enforcement agencies most in need of new officers are county detention centers and smaller, more rural departments, according to reports.
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Retired police chief: Cops are leaving cities in droves – and they’re not coming back
July 16, 2021
The following editorial is written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
USA- The Biden administration and its sycophants in the media are touting his “too little too late” $350 billion “windfall” from the American Rescue plan as an effort to “put more police officers on the beat” after cities run by mayors from Biden’s party managed to defund the police in numerous cities across the country.
What Biden is in fact doing is offering money back to cities which removed money from police budgets, only to see crime explode in those same cities.
What Biden is doing is taking money from one pocket and putting it in the other after Democrats emptied that pocket in the first place. The administration is playing fast and loose with language, claiming that it was Republicans who wanted to defund the police, not Democrats which is absurd.
There are a number of problems with steering that $350 billion back toward cities that removed it from police budgets to begin with.
The most glaring issue is that while the crime explosion is going on now, any money directed toward police budgets will not result in any new police for around a year if not more.
After recruits attend a training academy, they then must go through a minimum of two-to-three-month field training program. In other words, even if an officer were hired tomorrow, they would not attain solo capacity status until late next spring.
All of this wasn’t lost on Heather MacDonald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The War on Cops.” MacDonald told Laura Ingraham on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” that Biden’s offer may be too little too late.
MacDonald told Ingraham that Democrats have a consistency problem and noted that Biden and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot “can try to refund the police all they want. They’re not going to be able to do it.”
She noted that police departments across the country are “in a recruiting crisis.” Not only are departments having difficulty in attracting new officers, but they’re also currently bleeding officers through either retirements or resignations.
“Retirements are up 45%, resignations are up 18% and police are telling everyone they know: ‘Don’t even think of joining this profession.’”
I served in law enforcement for over 31 years, including the last three as a chief of police. When I joined the police department in 1980, it was not because it had been my lifelong dream to be a cop.
What the job did have was a good salary, medical insurance, retirement and a stable source of employment. Back then, police officers were also respected.
Oh to be sure, we had our share of people who didn’t respect us, however by and large those were our “frequent flyers”—people who got arrested all the time, or people with alcohol courage. One thing we rarely if ever dealt with were people who simply hated us for who we were, by and large.
Moreover, kids had a healthy fear of police. It wasn’t fear from getting “beat up” or anything like that, it was that we represented authority and they respected that.
Ninety-nine times out of 100 if you told a child or teen to do something, they would do it, no questions asked. Of course there were some wise asses that acted tough in front of their peers, but overall we got respected.
Of course that respect had to be earned, and in the department, I worked in, a majority of us had that respect.
That is no longer the case. In fact, disrespect starts in some cases at five years old and continues up from there.
The disrespect for police goes all the way up to elected officials including some in Congress, who have referred to police as Gestapo, Nazi storm troopers and worse. Elected officials—all Democrats—have set the tone, depicting police as racist killers who set about hunting down minorities for the purposes of killing them.
So what has this rhetoric brought? Heather MacDonald can answer:
“Ambush assaults on officers is up 91% this year, officers are cursed at…resisted arrests…every time that they get out of their cars now on a regular basis. And so the Democrats are furiously backpedaling to try and present themselves as the pro-police party.”
It’s not going to work. It’s not going to fool the American public. And it’s not going to bring any real substance and law and order back to the city unless they start retracting their long history of anti-cop statements.”
MacDonald is right. The Biden administration and Democrats are not fooling the public, and they are sure as hell not fooling police officers.
MacDonald noted that what is being witnessed across the US is “anarchy” in the form of “slow-motion riots.”
“You have a breakdown in law and order, and much of this is in my opinion hate crimes,” she said, “but you’re not allowed to talk about it when there’s a certain race of the offender.”
She continued, “Anarchy is coming to our cities, thanks to the rhetoric of the Democrats, thanks to the constant impugning of the police by candidate Biden, now President Biden and it’s causing them to back off, and criminals and lowlifes now feel emboldened.”
According to a report on Fox News, a senior White House official who spoke to the outlet said that difficulties in recruiting new officers could be attributed in part to training academies being closed during the pandemic lockdowns. That may be partially true, but the primary reason is that police are leaving departments in droves.
Take a look at Louisville, Kentucky. As of June 23, Louisville hit a milestone—it’s 100th homicide of the year. Last year, they did not hit that number until August. Moreover, the department is down 241 sworn officers, according to KHOU as of June 23.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Ericka Shields believes the staffing shortage will only get worse, and the department’s police union agrees, saying it could take up to ten years to turn around staffing numbers. You want evidence that nobody wants to be a cop anymore? Louisville’s current recruit class, which usually has 48 recruits only has 15.
Louisville is of course where the shooting of Breonna Taylor took place during a botched no-knock warrant, a shooting which led to…what else, riots.
What about New York City, the country’s largest police department? Last year, the city saw an unprecedented 75% increase in the number of officers either retiring or just turning in their badge, fed up with the anti-police sentiment and no support from city leaders.
What did that equate to? 5,300 uniformed NYPD officers—15% of the entire force—either retired or resigned last year. One of the driving factors was the New York City Council’s decision in March to eliminate qualified immunity protections for officers.
New York and Louisville are not alone. Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Baltimore and others have seen a huge influx of retirements and/or resignations.
On Monday, Biden led a conga line of Democrat city officials and police administrators from Democrat-run cities, which have seen most of the vast increase in violent crime.
When looking at why police departments are having difficulty attracting new recruits, one cannot look past the anti-police rhetoric coming from the highest levels of government, along with a national move to eliminate qualified immunity, a program which is continuously lied about by politicians.
Qualified immunity by virtue of its name does not mean absolute immunity, such as what is given to prosecutors, judges, and elected officials, all of whom have days, weeks or months to make decisions.
Police officers are put in the position of having to make snap, split-second decisions, some of which are life and death decisions. Qualified immunity protects them as long as they act in a reasonable manner within the confines of the law.
Officers can still be held civilly (and criminally) liable if they deliberately violate someone’s civil rights, or (obviously) commit a crime. Qualified immunity protects police officers from frivolous lawsuits which could result in them losing their home, their pension and their ability to earn an income.
It also protects their families from the same. Yet we are told that qualified immunity empowers rogue cops.
Despite the Biden administration claiming the $350 billion will be used to “fund cops,” that is not necessarily true.
For example in New York City, their FY22 budget uses $44 million of American Rescue Plan funds for social programs, such as the existing “Cure Violence” and the “Crisis Management” system, increase community violence intervention models to mediate conflicts, and connect high-risk individuals to services.
The city also uses housing and employment as “anti-violence” measures, with $57 million going toward providing reentry to housing, with health care and employment counseling for those in the criminal justice system returning to the community.
The fact of the matter is right now appears to be a terrible time to be a police officer. Being a cop used to be an honorable profession, and while we all knew the risks of our job, we at least held out the belief that an overwhelming majority of the public supported us, and that political leaders had our backs.
I became a cop when Ronald Reagan was president, and we always knew that from the very highest leadership in the country, our leaders had our back. That continued under George H.W. Bush, through the Clinton years and under George W. Bush. That all changed in 2009 under Obama.
I was temporarily retired from being a cop for the first two years of the Obama administration, but something changed under Obama. The relationship between police and the ruling class, especially the White House changed, highlighted by the incident in Cambridge, Massachusetts when Obama spouted off without having any information or context that the “Cambridge police acted stupidly.”
The details of this case are not important, but the anti-police rhetoric continued, from Trayvon Martin (who wasn’t even killed by a cop) through Michael Brown and Freddy Gray in Baltimore.
There was a welcome pause under President Trump, and police never doubted that he had our backs. However the underpinnings of anti-police sentiment primarily from Democrats was always there. Of course, it all reached a fever pitch last year when George Floyd died in Minneapolis.
The point of all of this? Police are tired of being punching bags. They’re tired of being called racist killers. They’re tired of leaving their homes not knowing if they’ll ever see their husbands, wives, sons or daughters again, all for the “crime” of enforcing the law. Police also know that murders of police officers are heading toward record territory in 2021 and they don’t want to become a statistic.
Cops are tired of being used by these same politicians who want to defund them and emasculate them, who use them to enforce draconian, sometimes unconstitutional coronavirus restrictions, who sic police on their political enemies otherwise known as parents who are concerned about their children being indoctrinated in Marxist ideology known as Critical Race Theory.
Rural and suburban Americans support the police; they always have. Politicians using cops as political pawns to carry out their agenda against the very people who support them has to be being done in order to drive a wedge between those who typically support the police and our country’s police officers.
To what end? Honestly, I’m not sure. I surmise it’s in order to dehumanize cops to those who have always had their back and to cement the ruling class’s power.
For those officers who have their eyes wide open, being a cop is simply no longer the attractive career it used to be. Why put your life on the line for people who do not either appreciate what you do or in some cases even want you there? Why even when you do the right thing, your motives are questioned? Who would honestly want to do that?
We recently reported on the fact the Capitol Police are expanding across the country, opening field offices initially in Tampa, Florida and San Francisco, California. To what end?
- Defund the police- check
- Demoralize the police- check
- Dismantle the police- check
Federalized police department? The signs are all there. As police officers hang up their badges and their guns in cities across the United States, that may be what we end up with.
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Author: K. Winters
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