San Jose, CA has been forced to cancel entire academy classes, due to having too few recruits. Other agencies have done the same.
Cities like Leesburg, Virginia, Houston, Texas, Springfield, Missouri and many others have witnessed the number of applicants for police jobs has dwindled by 80% – 90%.
The number of new hires coming on isn’t keeping pace with force reductions due to retirements and cops moving to other agencies.
There has been publicity about Dallas hemorrhaging officers who are departing for better pay in neighboring departments.
Houston is terribly short. The chief says he needs 540 more cops, but it will take three years to bring them on. However, based on prevailing cop/citizen ratios, HPD actually needs 1,714 more cops. Yikes!
Cops are getting shot and killed just doing their jobs. Last year, there was a 56% increase of cops who were killed in firearm-related incidents. That’s a huge jump. If that weren’t bad enough, 21 of them were killed in ambush attacks.
Remember Dallas? In that one incident, twelve cops were shot; five died. They were protecting a Black Lives Matter protest.
We cannot forget the pressure on all cops that emanated from the blathering politicians and failed police leaders. Every time the life of a black person was taken by law enforcement, our nation’s leaders postured themselves with an attitude of, “Guilty until proven innocent” for the cop(s) involved.
The facts didn’t matter. Judgements were made before the body was cold. No need for an investigation here. “You’re guilty” was the message. Think it’s easy to live that down?
Think of Officer Darren Wilson formerly of Ferguson, Missouri PD.
Thugs are being celebrated and honored while cops have become the bad guys. If you’re a cop with young kids, imagine what it must be like to answer their questions about what is going on.
NERO FIDDLES, WHILE ROME BURNS
Think about being in the shoes of a cop in Ferguson after the tragic incident that cost Michael Brown his life.
A known thug in the community having a long record gets shot and killed. He was attacking a cop while trying to take the officer’s weapon. The cop is clean, hard-working and with an unblemished background.
Where do we (as a nation) place our support?
We sent representatives from Washington D.C. to the funeral of the thug and simultaneously announced a thorough investigation of the police department for possible wrongdoing.
If that weren’t ridiculous enough, a formerly respected agency (Police Executive Research Forum / PERF) produces a list of recommended changes to the use of force guidelines for cops. They suggest to the cops that if they face a dangerous, angry subject in a life-threatening situation, the cop should close his eyes, count to ten and then try to diffuse the situation verbally, without force.
Any reasonable person can only conclude that the law enforcement world has lost their collective minds. Everything which was down is now up and vice-versa.
If you have two brain-cells to rub together, you can conclude that this arena is no place for you. After all, you can make a lot more money with a lot less grief doing something else.
Who could blame you?
HOW CAN WE MAKE SENSE OF THIS
I hope and believe that the new administration in Washington is changing the tone of how our leaders treat law enforcement. At this point, the words sound good and we can hope that words will be supported over time with deeds.
A few days ago, I was introduced to a video by Colonel Richard Coleman (Ret) of the U.S. Marine Corps. CLICK HERE to see the video.
I encourage you to watch it. Col Coleman talked about a time in the early seventies when Marine recruiting had fallen dangerously low. Morale was low among the troops.
In that video, Coleman talks of the remedy at the time: standards were lowered in order to attract more volunteers. That turned out to be a very bad move. The sub-standard recruits didn’t perform well. As a group, those Marines drove the population of the brig to overflowing.
LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
The Marines were saved with new leaders, much like the changes law enforcement is undergoing now.
It was determined back then that the answer lay within. For cops, the solution to our problems do not rest with someone else. It will not arrive from an external source. It must be found within ourselves.
It is critical that each one of us – whether active, retired, separated or other – make a decision to love and respect law enforcement and our community.
We must commit to never accept failure as an outcome. We must decide that prevailing in every incident and situation is the only acceptable outcome.
Finally, we must commit – as a body – to making the necessary communal sacrifices required in order to succeed 100% of the time.
Think of the Marines, for a moment. They are regarded across the globe as the most lethal force anywhere. Winning is all they will accept.
So it must be with law enforcement.
It begins with each one of us seriously considering this question, “What is my purpose in this Brotherhood?”
We must conclude that our individual role is to ensure that the body, as a whole, succeeds on every front, every time.
We must be the best.
We must train and practice to ensure perfection in our skills.
We must know and live the rules.
We must conduct ourselves with honor.
We must take the utmost pride in ourselves and in the law enforcement body. We are cops. We always will be, ‘till the day we die.
DON’T WAIT FOR SOMEONE ELSE
This is NOT the time to lower standards. This is the time to raise them.
Now is the time for everyone to do their best. Every day. Every time.
Today is the day we must meet every challenge, head-on.
We are cops. Starting now: we never give up.
Stand tall and stand proud.
Starting now, we will move forward with humility, with confidence, with certainty and with focus.
We know the enemy.
We are focused on the singular goal: winning.
If we dig deep and become a group of men and women who are admired around the world, others will want to join us.
The days of staffing shortages will cease to exist.
We have a duty to uphold the honor of the badge.
We owe it to ourselves and to each other.
We owe it to today and more importantly, to tomorrow.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
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Thank you for taking the time to read this message and allowing me to share my story with you. I can be contacted with questions or input: jim@CopBlueblog.com