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November 23, 2019, 2:00 PM

Opinion: Rising crime and police suicides no surprise in light of politicians' hypocrisy on law enforcement


As our congress continues their trek down the path of becoming known as the Do-Nothing Congress, the assault on our law enforcement continues. Every politician routinely proclaims their support for our first responders — but do their actions back up these claims?

Kyle S. Reyes observers in Law Enforcement Today that politicians are openly advocating for policies that will lead to more dead officers, politicization of police and attacking law enforcement in the media. Are these all contributing to the skyrocketing suicide rate among law enforcement?

The New York City Police Sergeants Benevolent Association placed the blame for a recent outbreak of assaults on police squarely on the shoulders of the Mayor and the NYPD commissioner for a failed “hands-off” de-escalation policy. While the Mayor was mocked in street posters for his absence as he campaigned for president, WPIX NY documented another police suicide, the ninth to this year and the seventh within two months. In September officers were faced with a “crowd calling for the murder of officers” after two police officers shot and killed a 39-year-old convicted felon when he opened fire on them, wounding one of them.

Pete Kotz reporting for CityPages in Minneapolis describes a business community frustrated with the city council, the media and the state for ignoring that “Minneapolis after dark is one of the most dangerous cities there is…” with “Packs of teens” looking for lone prey that won't fight back. Nick Givas writing for Fox News quoted Lt. Bob Kroll blaming the local Minneapolis politicians for emboldening criminals with a city council that ran for office on an anti-police agenda. He said criminals “don't fear any reprisal; They're not going to get prosecuted.”

KIRO 7 news in Seattle published a video of a group of people knocking items over and harassing employees in Bartell Drugs; not long after, the store announced it would be closing its downtown location because of crime. “I think we’re sweeping it under the rug. The city council, the mayor, the state, the judicial system, the community…” said Bartell’s CEO Kathi Lentzsch. Hana Kim of Seattle’s Channel 13 quoted Police Chief Carmen Best saying “We really need our support of our public officials.” Another officer said, “It is extremely frustrating to constantly hear nothing but attacks and second-guessing from Seattle City Council members who frequently make accusations based on their own biases and with no regard to fact.”

In the documentary “Seattle is Dying,” elected officials laugh in the face of constituents venting frustration. One person says: “Police have told us to vote you all out so they can do their job.”

This attack on law enforcement by those who assert their support for first responders is not confined to local governments. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), said she agreed with other lawmakers and then candidate — now Member of Congress — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, should be abolished. According to the ICE website “ICE is one of the primary federal agencies responsible for combating human trafficking.”

Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) of the City of New York summed it up: “The demonization, the anti-police rhetoric, the new laws and policies that undermine public safety — it all sends a clear message that cops on the street are effectively on our own … As a result, criminals feel emboldened to not only prey on the public, but to attack police officers as well.”

What benefit could our politicians possibly derive from their attacks on law enforcement in the media, limiting enforcement of the law and the resultant growth in civil anarchy?

The hypocrisy of their rhetoric — supporting first responders in one breath, disparaging them in the next — is clear.

Yet politicians continue to discourage enforcement of the laws; citizens continue to be victimized; human trafficking continues — and police suicides escalate.

What should voters think — especially when at the ballot box?

John M. DeMaggio is a retired Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General. He is also a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy, where he served in Naval Intelligence. The above is the opinion of the author and is not meant to reflect the opinion of the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Government.