Thomas Gallatin / Oct. 13, 2020

Top Cop Exits Have Cities Reeling

Leftist city leaders have forced out police chiefs in some of our largest cities.

Since anti-police protests and riots began to spread nationwide in early June, 18 police chiefs from America’s 69 largest cities have left their positions — either voluntarily or not. Given the ardently anti-cop sentiment roiling the nation, can anyone blame them?

What’s even more disturbing is the difficulty these cities are having in filling these positions. As Art Acevedo, Houston’s chief of police and president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, explained, “There’s a lot of folks that are hesitant when they see chiefs are getting beat up and getting thrown under the bus by their bosses.” Former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau perfectly captured the sentiments of many law enforcement professionals: “You couldn’t pay me enough to do the job.”

Clearly, Democrat-run cities are reaping what they’ve sown.

Both the public and politicians have set themselves against their own law enforcement, which has only exacerbated the issue. This reality was aptly demonstrated by the clash between Portland police and the city’s hard-left mayor, Ted Wheeler. When Wheeler knee-capped the city’s law enforcement by forbidding them from using tear gas on rioting crowds, the cops weren’t happy: “Police need all kinds of tools and resources to effectively respond to violence,” they said. To which an indignant Wheeler retorted, “[The bureau’s] decision to put out a press release questioning my direction was a serious breach of protocol and an inappropriate use of City communications resources. I made it clear, in no uncertain terms, to the Chief that this cannot happen again.”

With feckless and thin-skinned leadership like this, is it any wonder that so many law enforcement professionals are calling it quits?

Adding insult to injuring, Portland District Attorney Mike Schmidt has dismissed charges against nearly 70% of the individuals arrested during the more than 100 days of rioting in the city following George Floyd’s death. “If we leverage the full force of the criminal justice system on individuals who are peacefully protesting and demanding to be heard,” he disingenuously argued, “we will cause irreparable harm to them individually and to our society. The prosecution of people exercising their rights to free speech and assembly in a non-violent manner takes away from the limited resources that we have to prosecute serious crimes and to assist crime victims.”

When elected leaders fail to support their law enforcement professionals, they invite more lawlessness and crime. And when they throw their cops under the bus instead of honoring their commitment to serve and protect, they shouldn’t be surprised when no one steps up to become their next scapegoat.

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