How will the upcoming election affect police officers, battle weary from endless riots and coping with many other challenges thanks to hostile political leaders? What can cops expect from a continued Trump/Pence or a new Biden/Harris administration?
The support for President Trump from rank-and-file cops and law enforcement association endorsements is massive, while former Vice President Biden’s police support is anemic. During the first debate, Biden could not name one example of a law enforcement organization backing him. Perhaps personal experience can offer a more visceral look at law enforcement’s future, depending on who is elected.
About a dozen years ago, Seattle’s social justice indoctrination of its police officers was accelerating. My partner and I worked patrol for the Seattle Police Department (SPD), serving at the East Precinct of future CHAZ/CHOP infamy.
Frustrated with the onslaught of leftist policies, we talked about lateralling to another agency. However, as bad as it was, we still weren’t ready to leave. We figured we’d had too much time invested to start over, and my partner hates change. Besides, how much worse could it get?
In 2014, I became eligible to retire but hung in for another six more months. But with the Obama/Holder/Durkan DOJ bogus consent decree inflicted on us in 2012, I pulled the pin 10 years earlier than planned. My partner managed another six years. But after 27 years and just a few years to retirement, he also left.
He accepted a lateral position with another agency—and took a pay cut—and had to sell the house he and his wife loved—and moved 85 miles away from family and friends. He says it was worth it to get out of Seattle (which could have been Portland, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.).
This anecdote provides a personal glimpse into the future of policing if voters continue to elect anti-police politicians. Some parts of Seattle look like a New Delhi slum. Businesses are fleeing, and crime is surging. With this political neglect occurring across the nation, if cities can’t keep veteran officers, how can they hope to recruit new officers?
And those recruits would need defensive tactics (DT) training. DT trainers teach officers specific tactics for various situations. Ideally, instructors base their training on force science research. But city leaders are increasingly basing police training on their “woke” sensibilities. The force doesn’t look good; I don’t like it; cops can’t use it.
Too often, only after officers use force as taught, city officials, community activists, and the media condemn them. They don’t like the images displayed on TV news of a continuous, four-second loop from a two-minute video. Today, officers use reasonable force and still get fired, or worse.
For example, a few years back, Seattle fired an officer for using “excessive force.” This was despite the department’s lead DT instructor affirming the officer had performed properly. Nevertheless, after “binding” arbitration, the city refused to reinstate the officer. Unsurprisingly, leftist judges upheld the city’s reneging on the arbitration agreement.
This unsupportive atmosphere will affect how departments train their officers going forward. For example, Joe Biden says cops should shoot suspects in the leg. Every cop knows how ignorant this comment is. I can foresee a time when veteran officers will not want to serve as DT instructors, even if agencies can manage to keep their veterans and recruit new officers.
With a presidential election hurtling toward us, after Tuesday, we should know what the future of American law enforcement may look like. Will America continue with a supportive President Trump who openly declares his respect and affection for cops? Or will a Biden administration emulate anti-cop blue governors and mayors and return to quasi-federalizing police agencies by inflicting more undeserved consent decrees?
Biden/Harris: During the last presidential debate, VP Joe Biden, about America’s future, ominously predicted, “We’re about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter….” It sounded like a promo for a Game of Thrones season-ending cliff-hanger. Still, the statement may be prescient in a way: It signals a descent into a dark age for law enforcement if Biden wins.
As former Communist Party USA presidential candidate Angela Davis said about Biden, after endorsing him, he “can be most effectively pressured.” For instance, when asked about his position on “defunding the police,” his campaign said, “Biden does not believe that police should be defunded.” However, later that month, when reporters asked him if money should be "redirected" away from cops, he replied, "Yes, absolutely." It seems the former VP feels strongly both ways.
Harris has an even worse record with cops. Having served as California’s attorney general, she worked directly with law enforcement. Yet, after Kenosha, WI, police shot sexual assault suspect Jacob Blake, Harris instinctively sided with Blake over the police and Blake’s victim. Harris even said she was proud of Blake. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that things could get even worse for cops under a biden/HARRIS administration.
Trump/Pence: Only a few images are necessary to see how much better off cops will be under President Trump and VP Pence. At his many campaign rallies, “Cops for Trump” t-shirts abound, and thin-blue-line flags are prominently displayed. And, recently, a video showed a police officer at a campaign rally calling out to President Trump as he walked past the crowd.
In the video, the officer asks if he can give his badge to the President. Then the cop adds, “I’m retiring in 12 days and my last act as a police officer, sir, is that I want to give you this on behalf of all the men and women who wear the badge who have your back because you have ours.” The President, obviously moved, graciously accepted the badge.
If this heartwarming gesture doesn’t show the stark differences police officers can expect, depending on which administration wins: Biden defunding the police vs. a police officer giving Trump his badge, nothing does.
Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith is a spokesperson for the National Police Association.