In America, law enforcement officers, not the outlaws, control the streets. Sadly, that is not true in so many other countries around the world. We cannot allow the radical left activists and Antifa terrorists to succeed in bringing those same failures here.
They are in full attack mode, demanding that America “defund the police” so as to strike a blow against the bogeyman that their own false narrative has created. We must not be stampeded into such reckless and destructive action. This would cause permanent damage to the rule of law and our police departments.
Let’s be clear: George Floyd’s death was a terrible tragedy. From what we know, it looks like there was clearly police misconduct there. The officers have all been fired, charges have been brought, and now we let due process work to produce justice.
But to say that those acts mean the whole profession of policing is racist and beyond repair is not only dishonest, it’s downright dangerous.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has already committed to slashing $150 million from the LAPD’s budget, referred to the police as “killers,” and turned his back on the officers who have kept the city from literally going up in flames.
In Minneapolis, city council president Jeremiah Ellison, the son of the state attorney general, tweeted that they plan “to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.” He has also openly declared his “official” support for the Antifa terrorists.
Over in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has so hamstrung NYPD efforts to secure the city that Governor Cuomo openly considered removing him from office.
Sadly, police morale continues to be pummeled as agitators like Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar suggest we “disband the police.” That type of rhetoric has consequences as law officers no longer trust the leaders who are supposed to have their backs.
The truth is that these anti-police crusades are built on a foundation of lies. The vast majority of law officers are neither bullies nor bigots. Out of sight of selectively-edited viral clips, they are selfless heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the innocent every day.
Residents of America’s most struggling, crime-ridden neighborhoods overwhelmingly want more police, not less. A staggering 68% of residents in Chicago’s Southside want the police to spend more time in their neighborhood — only 5% want the police around less. And the trend holds true in inner-city neighborhoods across the country.
Of course we can do better. But not by giving these riotous thugs and leftist radicals what they want.
In most jurisdictions, the men and women who defend us from violent criminals earn below-average incomes while working long hours in a dangerous job. They must make split-second decisions, and often face endless public scrutiny for those tough calls. Police forces across the country need the resources to recruit, retain, and train officers of the highest quality and yes, hold them accountable — rewarding the exemplars and disciplining those who would betray the public trust.
While the vast majority of Americans support and count on the police, the recent and terrible trend of demonization of law enforcement must be reversed. The recent riots have already taken the lives of police officers in cold blood, while hundreds have been brutally assaulted with bricks, firearms, and automobiles.
Last year, more than one-in-10 law enforcement personnel were attacked. Almost 59,000 officers were violently assaulted on the job in 2018. Over 18,000 officers needed medical attention. That is a 22% increase in total assaults on police since 2014. Our nation simply cannot sit idly by as this anti-police sentiment is fanned by those with nefarious agendas.
Calling to defund the police is not some provocative college essay. It instigates real-world violence against police and, if enacted, would devastate the vulnerable communities that police defend and aid on a daily basis.
To return to healthy and strong police-community relations, we need more, well-trained, fully-supported police, not less. Such officers have high morale and tend to earn the respect of their communities, creating a virtuous cycle of trust.
These radical anti-police activists do not speak for the average citizen. And they certainly don’t speak for the minority communities who would be hit the hardest by the dangerous ideas being spewed for cheap political points.
Let us remember: good policing is the solution, not the problem. We must wake up, stand up, and speak up – for our communities, our country and our law enforcement officers.
Jeff Sessions has served as a U.S. Senator and Attorney General and is a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama