In September, following the release of the final 2020 national crime statistics by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Secure 1776 published our post, “Truth and Consequences, 2020 Murders.” In 2020, America’s murder rate increased about 30 percent from 2019. Even though four weeks remain in 2021, as of 30 November, and compared to all of last year, the nation has already passed three key “truth and consequences” thresholds. First, more police officers have been ambushed. Second, more police officers have been hit by gunfire. Third, more police officers have been murdered. The truth, the nation, particularly in its urban areas continues to suffer from increased lawlessness. The nation’s police officers are among those suffering the consequences.
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National Fraternal Order of Police – Tracking Attacks on Police Officers
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, and it is comprised of 2,100 local lodges and more than 356,000 members. The National FOP Lodge coordinates the activities of the organization across the country. Among its many activities, the National FOP prepares a monthly report on attacks against America’s police officers. The report issued this week, covering the first eleven months of 2021, is disturbing.
As of 30 November, thus far in 2021, 314 law enforcement officers across the country have been struck by gunfire, resulting in the murders of 58 officers. In the first eleven months of this year, more police officers have been shot and killed by gunfire than in all of last year and 2019. The third “truth and consequences” statistic further reflects the damage that has been caused to the police-community relationship since the events in Minneapolis in May of 2020. Through November, 119 officers had been shot in 95 separate “ambush-style” attacks.
The most alarming element about an ambush is that the targeted officers are attacked without warning. Often the attacked officers are not even aware of their attackers prior to being fired upon. As compared to 2021, ambushes resulting in a police officer being shot are up 126% from 2020.
2020 and the Lawlessness that Lingers
During the height of the civil unrest in 2020, “ACAB” (all cops are bast**ds),or “all cops are bad,” was a popular rallying cry. The slogan was chanted and spray-painted on police vehicles, buildings, and pubic monuments in many cities. The slogan advanced an “us versus them” view of policing, with the police in the “them” group. The view declared the police to be illegitimate, which placed “them” outside the community of “us.” We encourage Secure 1776 followers to read our article, “The Importance of “Us:” The Failure of Being Cast as Them,” to learn more about the need for the police to be seen as being within the “community of us.”
Dividing the Police and Community:
When anarchists and others are able to co-opt community attitudes regarding police accountability, there should be great concern across the community. By creating a narrative that the police are “them,” the demonization process can seek to convince the community that the police are a threat. Such lays the foundation for deepening tensions between many in the community and the police, as well as demands for what Thomas Lemmer identified as “tragedy-free policing.” Anti-police activists have coupled an “or else” to the “tragedy-free policing” worldview and in so doing created an unattainable policing standard.
Tragedy-free policing is a dangerous worldview that holds the police should never take any actions that could cause harm, their actions should never use any force, and the police must act without ever making a mistake. Acceptance of this standard causes severe damage to the police-community relationship that is essential for public safety. Within the defining article on this topic, “Tragedy-Free Policing or Else: The Need for Critical Thinking,“ Lemmer provides a detailed analysis as to how this worldview is unreasonable. We encourage Secure 1776 followers to also read this article. The weakened level of public safety creates an environment where lawlessness follows. Lawless cities are violent places.
Some will seize upon the lawlessness that is created in this environment and directly attack police officers. When consequences are not addressed within the law, they play out in the streets.
In our 11 August post, “More Warning Signs: Chicago and Hadleyville,” we highlighted the shooting incident that stole the life of Chicago Police Officer Ella French, and left Officer Carlos Yanez, Jr. with life-altering permanent injuries. These officers were doing exactly what was asked of them. They were young officers actively honoring their oaths as police officers.
We continue to take note of a Chicago Sun-Times editorial on the morning after the murder of Officer French. The editorial was entitled: “Officer Ella French wore the insignia of the Chicago Police Department — but it did not keep her safe.” The editorial provided a clear warning to the city’s political power structure. Damaging the police-community relationship weakens public safety.
The community at-large must reject the divisions that place our nation’s police officers in greater jeopardy. This warning is sadly needed across the nation.
The Sights and Sounds of Sacrifice
Secure 1776 was among those assembled at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office in the hours after the murder of Officer French in August 2021. We continue to remind our readers that the sounds of Amazing Grace and the Lord’s Prayer are particularly impactful there. So too is the sight of a flag-draped body of a murdered police officer. We continue to thank and salute Officer French for her courage, service, and care for others. Always remember her, and all those law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) tracks the line-of-duty deaths of all officers from all causes. As of this posting 441 officers have died in the line of duty so far this year, up 14.8% from all of 2020. In total, ODMP has documented 25,344 officer deaths since the nation’s founding.
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