Lewis Morris / Dec. 10, 2019

Blue Lives Matter — Even in Democrat Cities

Yet Seattle provides a case study in how disrespect for cops yields undesirable results.

The holidays are a busy time for everyone, especially police officers. This time of year often experiences an uptick in crime in large cities, and urban police departments must be prepared to handle the situation. Unfortunately, several cities are having trouble addressing the need for more officers on the street.

Seattle is one such city with a police department that is woefully understaffed. The city government maintains that there are 722 officers on patrol, but it turns out the actual number of cops on the beat is 472.

“Seven hundred would be a start, but we would need to probably be 800 or 900 for a city of this size to provide the services that are needed throughout the city,” Seattle Police Officer’s Guild president Kevin Stuckey said.

This low number of officers seriously impedes the city’s ability to respond to 911 calls and cover the neighborhoods most in need of a police presence. A recent recruitment drive to boost numbers failed miserably, producing a net gain of only 16 new officers in 2019. Since 1970, Seattle has tripled in size, but has added only 300 officers to the department.

The reason for poor recruitment and retention is referred to as the “Seattle mentality.” The police department doesn’t have the support of the city government and many in the minority community.

The council has directed the department to ignore going after certain crimes, and it has discouraged officers from enforcing the law with the homeless population. Negative comments about police from the city council have also hurt morale in the department.

Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and dozens of other Democrat-run cities across the country are experiencing rising crime rates. And all for the same reason — a systemic lack of support for law enforcement that flows directly from city hall and the media.

Democrats have declared war on the police, and we have Barack Obama to blame. Far from being the racial uniter he was marketed to be, Obama spent his eight years in office stoking the flames of racial division. He never missed an opportunity to degrade law enforcement, and the sycophantic Leftmedia ate up every word of it.

High-profile incidents like those of Eric Garner in New York, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and Michael Brown in Ferguson were all built on lies perpetuated by race hustlers like Al Sharpton and the national news media. In all three cases, the suspects were dangerous individuals committing crimes and they were resisting (or attacking) police. We were led to believe, though, that these men were arbitrarily singled out because of their race.

Brown’s death in Missouri led to two very troubling developments. The first was the establishment of Black Lives Matter, which is basically a hate group that stirs mistrust and hatred of law enforcement. Several cop killings across the country can be linked to people who have claimed to be part of this movement.

The second problem is the “Ferguson Effect,” the term given to reduced police activity in certain neighborhoods as cops aim to protect themselves from being charged as racists — or worse, being killed in the line of duty — in cities that do not support their work.

The losers in this battle are the very neighborhoods that Black Lives Matter claims don’t need cops. Black-on-black crime outnumbers white-on-black crime by many orders of magnitude. Black cops also shoot black suspects at a higher rate than white cops. Yet these facts are buried by the media because they don’t fit the narrative of a racist nation.

Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to this problem. Attorney General William Barr spoke last week about the tough work that cops perform and the respect they have earned from the public — while also warning about a distinct lack of respect in certain quarters. As night follows day, leftists immediately attacked his speech as racist.

Yet the core of Barr’s words ring true. “The American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law-enforcement officers. … And if communities don’t give that support and respect, they may find themselves without the police protection they need.” That’s not the “threat” leftists want you to think it is; it’s the reality of lower police recruitment and morale.

If you don’t believe this to be the case, just ask Seattle.

Update 12/11: Barr elaborated on his comments in an interview Tuesday, saying:

“We’re in a crisis right now; it’s not something that has been adequately covered by the media, but we’re in a full employment economy. And one of the toughest jobs we have in the country is policing. And it’s getting tougher and tougher, these are the points I was making in that recent more abbreviated version.”

“So it’s very hard to recruit people these days in this full employment economy for these tough jobs,” Barr continued. “That’s why virtually every police force in the country is way under strength. They have vacancies. As the jobs get tougher, we’re seeing a very high suicide rate now among police and I’m saying that we have to focus on this and start valuing the people who serve us as police officers and show them support and respect, just the way we do our military forces. Or else, we’re not going to be able to attract people into this profession and we’re not going to end up with police forces. That was my point.”

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