Police are Less Safe Under Obama

As an increasing number of officers are assassinated for the law and order symbolism of their uniforms, the White House contemplates the need for officer implicit bias training.

M Jon Adler 32 1

While the White House peddles fatal falsehoods that fewer officers have been killed under the Obama administration, the statistics prove otherwise. After a homicidal racist assassinated five officers in Dallas, the White House released a July 9 email with the subject line: "WP Wonkblog: Police are safer under Obama than they have been in decades." I'm not sure what "Police" the White House and blog author Christopher Ingraham were referring to, but their assertion certainly doesn't apply to law enforcement officers serving in the United States.

The blog referenced statistics regarding all causes of police fatalities to reach its false conclusion that officers are safer under Obama. It included statistics reflecting a reduction in vehicular related deaths. Nonetheless, Ingraham wrote, "Intentional attacks on police officers are at historically low levels under President Obama." Ingraham references ambush attacks against officers and contends the "numbers are a little murkier." He goes on to state, "These (ambushes) are generally rare, with the number of officers dying in these attacks each year in the single or double digits." And his next sentence is the grand contradiction of his blog's false title: "But they (ambushes) have become slightly more common."

Slightly? Here's a slice of historical truth. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 64 law enforcement officers were fatally ambushed in the eight years of President George W. Bush's administration. As of July 17, 94 officers have been fatally ambushed under President Obama's ongoing eight years of office.

Delving further into the NLEOMF statistics, we learn that seven officers were fatally ambushed by what is described as "pre-meditated entrapment," aka "assassination," from 2006 to 2010. From 2011 to July 17, 38 officers were killed by pre-meditated entrapment. The statistics make fatally clear that assassination attacks against law enforcement officers are on the rise under the Obama administration.

Undeterred by statistical evidence, the White House released another email on August 16 which stated, in part, "Since 2009, President Obama has made it a priority to provide local law enforcement with the tools necessary to protect the public while ensuring their own safety and wellness." Does the White House define "tools" as implicit bias training and naloxone?

So far 94 officers have been fatally ambushed during his administration, and the best Obama can do is direct officers to look at themselves in the mirror and assess their propensity for implicit bias.

While the White House peddles a puzzling proclamation that officers are safer under President Obama, I wonder if they think the same is true for those living in low-income areas in his hometown of Chicago. According to statistics released by the Chicago Police Department that compare crime data from 2015 to 2016, homicides are up 43%, shootings are up 48%, and sexual assaults are up 20%. On a broader scale, crime data shows that shootings and homicides are on the rise in several major cities. This doesn't strike me as a boasting point for the White House. Who exactly is safer under the Obama administration?

As an increasing number of officers are assassinated for the law and order symbolism of their uniforms and violent crime spirals out of control in big-city, low-income neighborhoods, the White House contemplates the need for officer implicit bias training. If we raised a magic wand and eliminated all traces of implicit or overt racism from law enforcement, it wouldn't reduce the rising level of violence or the escalating body count. 

The sad truth is that neither cops nor citizens, especially those in low-income neighborhoods, are safer under the Obama administration. The administration has not put forth any action plan to aggressively deal with these issues. Furthermore, the sale and trafficking of drugs continue to destroy all hope in low-income neighborhoods, yet the Obama administration continues to fixate almost exclusively on banning firearms. Sadly, the White House remains baffled as to why education is abandoned in low-income neighborhoods. Children from broken homes, forced into gangs, and getting high on drugs, are not going to seek out higher education.

In law enforcement, we live by the mantra of officer safety first. Perhaps the White House might remember that mantra, instead of making false claims that officers are safer under the Obama administration.

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