I am watching sometimes in stunned disbelief as police executives order front line officers to participate with state governors, local mayors and administration officials as they use the heavy hand of government in enforcing questionable rules concerning the coronavirus. It’s a game of Russian Roulette. Often times it doesn’t end well.
Law enforcement officers have only one remaining support group in the United States of America and it is the law abiding public. This profession has experienced over the past five years an unprecedented onslaught of hate and physical attack from cop hating groups like ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter. A host of politicians have chimed in with their support of these insidious bastards by trying to appease them and their calls to defund the police through massive budget cuts and other measure such as prohibiting the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other less lethal options to keep themselves safe while fulfilling their obligation of protecting life and property.
Cities such as Seattle, Minneapolis, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee and Los Angeles have already gone ahead and reduced the size of their police budgets. The NYPD had their budget slashed by one billion dollars. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett reduced the size of the police department by cutting 125 police positions. Los Angeles elected local officials approved a $150 million public safety budget reduction. Every one of these cities are cutting police budgets as the violent street crime is rising precipitously. And citizens are noticing and pleading for more police help. In Minneapolis a citizen group filed a lawsuit against the city for not fulfilling the city’s obligation to keep them safe per the city charter. A judge recently ruled that the suit can go forward after the city asked for a dismissal. That is a good sign.
With that being said, you can understand my disbelief that law enforcement executives are ordering front line officers to be the bad guys in government’s attempt to use a pandemic to enforce questionable at best edicts that many find intrusive, offensive and a violation of their constitutional liberties. An Ohio woman was tased and arrest for refusing to wear a mask and then refusing to leave a stadium. In Oregon, a woman was arrested at a Walmart for refusing to wear a mask and then refusing to leave the store. A man in Maryland was arrested at a polling place for trying to vote without wearing a mask. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has ordered police officers to go along with city health officials to be the enforcers of outrageous COVID rules.
My advice and recommendation is that police not insert themselves into this fray. There is no upside. The cooperative relationship that remains with the law abiding public currently hangs by a thread. Once we lose them then we are finished. Law enforcement executives are always touting that they cannot succeed with the help of the public. Why then be the brutes in closing down a business for example when onerous capacity restrictions could very well mean the end for them? Most small businesses are operating on the margins to begin with and what about the employees who have to be let go due to business falling off? People are hurting all across America right now. Where is the compassion? Why would this profession allow itself to be used in this fashion? The public will long remember how we treated them when they needed understanding. I would not blame them if when moving forward and we need their help to say, get some dangerous person into custody or be a witness in some incident, if they turned their backs on us and refused to help.
When framing the Constitution that would limit government authority over people the Founding Fathers particularly spoke of people being secure in their houses, papers and personal effects against unreasonable searches and seizure without a warrant. It’s called the Fourth Amendment. Now
Governors and Mayors are ordering state administrators backed by law enforcement to do home inspections to check for compliance on the limits of how many people can be in a home at one time and to check if they are wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart. Some have even set up hotlines that encourage people to rat out their neighbors if they suspect someone has invited too many people over for whatever reason. This is untenable in a constitutional republic and the very thing the Founders feared.
This is why I am recommending that law enforcement stand down here. They do have discretion on how to handle these situations if they are called to the scene. Here is a chance for this profession to let the same government cutting police budgets to be pushed back against. Officers can demonstrate whose side they are on in this unprecedented time period by standing with individual freedom loving citizens. They should in a very public way, tell government officials, they are on their own. Abandon those politicians like they abandoned law enforcement.