Democrats spent the better part of two years marching and protesting against police departments after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in 2020. Prominent Democrats demanded that police budgets across the country be cut and even eliminated.
But when the 2020 election showed Democrats that the public wanted nothing to do with the “defund the police” movement, they began to backtrack furiously. In 2022, Democrats denied ever supporting defunding the police. But so many of them went on the record not only advocating for budget cuts for police but also demanding changes that have made the cops’ job more difficult and dangerous. More than a few Democrats lost after GOP attack ads aired in key congressional districts showing Democrats claiming to be supportive of Black Lives Matter and cutting spending on public safety.
Lost in all this political back-and-forth was the effect of the “defund the police” movement on the officers themselves. It wasn’t just money being taken from police departments. It was an attitude shift from the public — encouraged and abetted by Democratic politicians — that made a police officer’s life a living hell.
Some of the brightest, most talented, most dedicated young officers have abandoned big-city police forces and even left law enforcement altogether because of the attitude change of the American people.
A 2021 survey showed that police departments nationwide saw resignations jump by 18 percent—and retirements by 45 percent—over the previous year, with hiring decreasing by five percent. The Los Angeles Police Department has been losing 50 officers a month to retirement, more than the city can replace with recruits. Oakland lost about seven per month in 2021, with the number of officers sinking below the city’s legally mandated minimum.
The list goes on: Chicago has lost more cops than it has in two decades. New Orleans is backfilling its shortfall of officers with civilians. New York is losing more police officers than it has since such figures began being recorded. Minneapolis and Baltimore have similar stories. St. Louis—one of the most dangerous cities in America—has lost so many cops that there’s a seven-foot-tall, 10-foot-wide pile of uniforms from outgoing officers at police headquarters called “Mount Exodus.”
Lt. Tracy McCray, head of the San Francisco police union, mourns the loss of some of these young officers where 50 of the department’s best quit in favor of working in smaller, less violent suburban police departments.
“That was a lot of talent for us,” McCray said. “They were great, bright new cops. A couple of them were born and raised in the city.” They were black cops, Latino cops — the sort of cops the “defund the police” advocates wanted on the force. “All of their roots they had here,” she said. “They just up and left.”
A 2020 poll showed that only 7% of current police officers would recommend that their kids go into law enforcement, citing a “lack of respect for the profession” among the general public.
“Suddenly, everyone is telling us how to do our jobs. They’re saying we’re biased, racist, only want to hurt black and brown communities,” said McCray, who is black. “These officers worked in these communities, were invested in these communities. Suddenly, people who don’t know us are saying you’re this, you’re that.”
Now, it’s not just that you might have done something wrong. It can be just as bad for simply doing your job.
“When I was a cop, we were afraid we might mess up and get in trouble,” said Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “But you had to do something wrong. Now cops are getting in trouble for doing exactly what they’re supposed to do.”
I can’t see how cops who leave the force can be blamed for doing so. Nor is it a surprise that violent crime is rising as the double whammy of weak, woke prosecutors allowing violent criminals to walk without bail or serve ludicrously short prison sentences combined with police who either don’t care or are paralyzed into sitting back and not being proactive due to a lack of support by their superiors and the politicians in city hall.
“If you’re a cop, you’re like, ‘Ok, well, I guess I’m not going to put myself in situations where that’s likely to occur. So I’m not going to go make traffic stops in places and of people that I think might likely be carrying firearms, because I don’t want to have to get that decision right. That’s too hard,” said officer Brian Lande, a former Richmond, Calif., police officer who left the city for friendlier climes.
As long as politicians can score political points, activists can get noticed, and organizations can raise money all off railing against “racist” police or screaming about “police brutality,” disrespecting law enforcement will be a profitable game.