In the post-George Floyd period of unrest, Democratic municipal mayors continue to gripe about the outrageous costs associated with police overtime and the pitiful recruitment rates. The “progressive” Left, however, is the one who created this Frankenstein monster. Leftist activists have consistently attacked police enforcement over the past two years and pursued legislation to defund and delegitimize them. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many people are retiring or emigrating to the suburbs from unfriendly locales.
The same mayors and city council members who voted to cut police budgets are changing their minds and taking fast action to raise money now that the enormity of the harm the Left has wreaked is becoming clear. It is no accident that their change of heart had place in a crucial midterm election year. President Joe Biden, for instance, is advocating for increased spending for the police. This is puzzling, especially considering that he last year delivered an offensive speech at the Police Week memorial service, when he opted to draw attention to police abuses and wrongdoing rather than the sacrifices made by officers.
However, not because of any animosity against the police, the Republican Party is also somewhat to blame for this predicament. They chose not to run competitive candidates for city council and mayoral campaigns instead, abandoning cities and their officers decades ago. By default, the GOP has effectively given the Democratic Party control of the cities. The socioeconomic degradation of once-vibrant metropolitan areas, which is most apparent in their increasing crime and poverty rates, has been exacerbated by decades of Republican political indifference and negligence toward the cities.
These same localities frequently employ many cops who receive overtime compensation in the six figures. In a single year, many policemen put in more than 500 hours of overtime. Due to the exhaustion it has caused, both the officers’ safety and the safety of the people they serve are now clearly at stake.
One of the effects of the enormous migration of cops from dangerous metropolitan areas is the growth in demands for overtime. Any person who can leave—through retirement or a transfer to another department—is doing so. Who is harmed, then? The main casualties are the elderly, children, and working poor.
To decrease overtime expenditures and stress on the thin blue line, it is clear that the best course of action is to hire and train additional police officers. But the number of people applying to work with the police has drastically decreased during the last two years. Many young individuals who would have been interested in taking the test and going through the thorough background investigation required for employment have seen how cities all throughout the country have done little to help their officers. Without a dramatic shift in direction and attitude, these potential recruits could leave and never look back.
Respect for our police forces starts with those in power of the purse strings and the language used by city hall. As long as activist demagogues who openly oppose police are allowed to run unopposed and unchallenged for these posts, nothing will change. We can’t afford to stand by and watch while public figures openly denigrate the work of law enforcement.
Maybe this year’s midterm elections will produce leaders who can assist to change the situation. The other option is for our neighborhoods to continue to be destroyed slowly.