There’s no hard data on the numbers of “corrupt” law enforcement officials and what that word even means. The word means different things to different people, so what constitutes a corrupt officer will somewhat be in the eye of the beholder.
It doesn’t take a lot of data, though, to believe there are police who misuse their authority. A quick Google scan of headlines present and past will tell you that.
But we can’t think the abolishment of law enforcement would be a good thing. Defunding the police was never going to work, was it?
I asked myself these questions in America’s summer of discontent in 2020.
There were a lot of headlines that summer. A lot of tragedy and suffering. Some of it involved policing that was, if not intentionally abusive, at least questionable.
But the story that stood out for me was the lawlessness that was tolerated in Seattle when police abandoned a stationhouse and protesters took over several downtown blocks in what they called the Capitol Hill Organized Protest – The CHOP.
I kept thinking, “What if I was a homeowner or a renter? What if I lived inside that area?”
Joe Pascual did. He lived next door to what had been Seattle’s East Precinct.
Protesters thrived in their private utopia until there was a shooting, then another and another, resulting in at least one death.
Seattle’s leadership allowed this. Jenny Durkan was the mayor then. She’s a Democrat, but that’s probably just a coincidence.
Given the fright of my Seattle memories, I read with interest recently that Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, also a Democrat, believes the District should consider different governing tactics with regard to its Metropolitan Police Department.
Washington, D.C. is experiencing a surge of violent crime, according to MPD statistics. In the first six months of 2023, homicides had reached their highest rate in more than 20 years, Bloomberg reported.
Bowser, who has been in office since 2015, says she wants to get tougher on crime.
“We have to reverse the policy environment in the city that, quite frankly, went haywire in the last three years,” she told reporters in October.
The Washington Post reported that the District’s police force has shrunk to its lowest level in 50 years.
Bowser was already on the record with her new “give police a chance” way of thinking when a prominent citizen within the district avoided becoming the latest crime statistic not because of the understaffed MPD but because she had a Secret Service detail.
The nation's capital is shining a light on the city's runaway crime because it involved an automobile break-in, the president's granddaughter, and a Secret Service agent who fired his sidearm.
Naomi Biden was not the target of attempted automobile theft but her Secret Service detail fired at least one shot at three people who had broken a window of an unmarked Secret Service car parked outside her home.
In a statement provided to The New York Times, the Secret Service said its “protectees” – no names provided – faced no threat.
If so, that apparently puts the protectees within a small number of Washington residents.
“Outside the capital complex itself, I think Washington D. C. is the wild, wild west," Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Georgia) said on Washington Watch. "It’s been almost impossible for the mayor to maintain any sort of law enforcement because you are seeing the consequences of their policies."
Numerous large American cities, often run by Democrats, have cut police funding but have hired expensive security details – mini versions of the Secret Service – to protect mayors and other city officials.
In some cases, there have been efforts to have social workers or healthcare workers respond to certain calls that were once handled by police.
The reality here is that someone has to say no.
Behavior has to have limits or bad behavior will infringe on others. Looking out for self above others is the natural instinct. It’s how we’re wired, and we’ve proven that since Eve said, “Yes, please, I will have a bit of that delicious apple.”
If looking out for others was a natural response we wouldn’t need almost 30 Bible passages encouraging us to do it.
Police say no. They set the limits we can’t set for ourselves. They look out for others when we don’t.
The police are also made up of us. They’re human. There will be bad police.
There should always be checks and balances in place. Right-minded – which means looking out for others, not self-interests or political gain – community oversight boards are not bad things.
But defunding the police is a language I don’t understand. How in the world could anyone believe a free society can remain free without boundaries?
Some of our largest cities have proven that we cannot.
Hopefully, Mayor Bowser and others can get those policies reversed and find ways to police the police without driving them out of existence.