Before It’s Too Late

By Louis R. Avallone

It is impossible to forget, that just four days before last Christmas, two (2) New York City police officers were ambushed, and murdered, in their parked patrol car in Brooklyn. The murderer attributed his motive to revenge, and his cowardly act came only days after Al Sharpton led protesters through the streets of New York City chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!”

This ridiculous rhetoric is nonetheless resonating with a growing number of people in our country, despite the fact that these men and women voluntarily place their own lives in harm’s way to serve our communities, and protect our children, even though they may never get to see their own children again, in doing so. They wake up every morning knowing they will be subjected to cursing and screaming tantrums, including threats to their own safety, and outright challenges to their authority.

They go to work knowing that a police officer is killed every 58 hours in our country, leaving behind countless sons and daughters, and wives and husbands, who must now live their own lives without their loved ones, so that we might live better and safer lives, instead.

From Ferguson to Baltimore, police officers are increasingly being accused of racism and the use of excessive force. But are there bad police officers? Surely there are, just as there are bad plumbers, doctors, lawyers, dry cleaners, and teachers who all could do their jobs better. There’s no doubt.

Out of 800,000 police officers across the country, certainly there is some percentage of them who are racist, as well. There’s no doubt. Some who are too aggressive. Some who make very poor judgments. Again, there’s no doubt.

But an encounter with a police officer is not an opportunity to prove these points, or to become part of a YouTube video that documents your disrespect of authority.

As Franklin Graham put it, “If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back.”

The trouble is there’s a growing number of people who don’t get it, and are cooping up the cops, and driving them out of our communities, except in times of emergencies, when we ask them to place themselves between us and harm’s way. And unfortunately, it’s in our poorest neighborhoods –– that need police presence the most. Or to provide a father figure for those who have none, and to give hope to those who might have given up that there’s still good in our world.

Because it’s becoming easier and easier to sue police officers for even the most menial of interactions or infractions, community policing, or proactive policing, is declining. This was the practice of arresting offenders for less serious crimes, sending them to jail for a few days or weeks, which then interrupts the arrestees’ more serious criminal activities.

Proactive policing is credited in New York City with the largest crime drop on record, overwhelmingly in minority neighborhoods – and that is over the past 20 years.

As a result of this proactive policing, the prison population in New York has declined, while prison populations rise across the country. In fact, a recent study indicates that you can decrease incarceration, without increasing crime, by having more law enforcement, not less.

And yet liberals, like the mayor of Baltimore, believe the opposite. Remember, during the recent riots, she instructed the police to back off, and give space to “those who wished to destroy”. Incredible.

Again and again, the results of less law enforcement is deadly to the very communities who need it most. Gun violence is now up more than 60% in Baltimore, with 32 shootings just over Memorial Day weekend. And it’s spreading. In Milwaukee, homicides are up 180% this year, over the same period last year. Same in St. Louis, where shootings are up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%.

In Atlanta, murders are up 32%, and in Chicago, shootings are up 24% and homicides are up 17%. The list can go on and on. It’s epidemic, and the media reports of police misconduct claims are sending our police departments into virtual hibernation.

A lieutenant with the Los Angeles Police Department put it this way: “I get a lot of calls where the officers are basically telling me they’re going to roll up their windows, they’re going to answer the box — the radio calls — and they’re just going to go from call to call…and do their job. But other than that, they’re just going to shut down. They’re not going to do any proactive police work.”

And that’s not good for anyone. So, here is the bottom line: Without police, law and order, we have nothing. Police officers don’t deserve to be argued with, threatened, or called names. They deserve our respect, and if our nation is to flourish again, these good men and women must be invited back in our communities before it’s too late. As it is often said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

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