My father was a police officer. My grandfather was a police officer. There’s a proud history of Campbell men who have sworn to serve and protect and still, when I reached adolescence, my father made me swear to him that I would not be a police officer.
Don’t get me wrong- he would have been proud of me. It’s a noble profession and while both my father and I lament the militarization of police departments on a policy level, we both full-heartedly support the profession and the brave men and women in the field.
My father implored me to steer clear of the shield because he knew what policing had become; all at once, police are supposed to serve as servers, protectors, social justice warriors and super-human judges of character and intent. Your duty is scrutinized by a world with cell phone cameras and a race-obsessed media that presupposes that any loss of black lives by police is the product of a racist vendetta.
In an instant, an officer’s life can change. “Is this sketched-out man I just pulled-over reaching for his registration or a gun?” “Is that a toy gun being aimed at me or is it real?” “Is this man charging at me going to kill me? Do I kill him first?”
*Ding* times up. Don’t react quick enough and you’re dead. Make a split-second decision, and you must now explain to a media-connected world of armchair quarterbacks why you drew your weapon and fired. In an instant, all these computations must occur and lives will hang in the balance. Guess wrong, and you can end up on trial.
It’s not hard to see why ol’ Dad gave me words of warning. It’s an impossible situation.
Apparently, this problem has become so bad that even the leftiest-of-the-left can see the problem with a timid police force.
Chicago Mayor and former Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel has declared that the recent uptick in crime in Chicago is due to police officers second-guessing themselves when dealing with crime.
Earlier this month, Emanuel attended a meeting in Washington, D.C., with other mayors and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Emanuel claimed that police officers have gone “fetal” when dealing with crime on the streets because nobody wants to be the next Darren Wilson- a police officer who’s acts of self-defense ignited a racial storm of disharmony and has resulted in a widening of racial divides all around the country.
“We have allowed our Police Department to get fetal, and it is having a direct consequence. They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact,” Emanuel said.
“What happened post-Baltimore, what happened post-Ferguson is having an impact,” Emanuel noted. “And I still believe recent events over the last year or 18 months have had an impact. And officers will tell you that. And I tried to speak up for the good officers that are doing community policing that make up the men and women of the Chicago Police Department.”
Emanuel recounted that officers have told him that they are hesitant to dare to do their jobs.
“Officers themselves are telling me about how the news over the last 15 months impacted their instincts: Do they stop or do they keep driving?” Emanuel claimed. “When I stop here, is it going to be my career on the line? And that’s an honest conversation. And all of us who want officers to be proactive, to be able to do community policing in a proactive way, have to encourage them, so it’s not their job on the line or that judgment call all the time that if they stop, this could be a career-ender.”
This is hardly surprising; law and order requires police officers and it’s clear that any interactions can be heavily scrutinized with the least bit of provocation.
Uncertainty in the field will not only cost police officers their lives, but such apprehensiveness creates an environment where crime is left to rise as police are justifiably timid about conducting the duties required of the job.
If even a far-left extremist like Rahm Emanuel can see the consequences of timidity within police forces, it’s clear that America needs to change how our cities are being policed.