Where Is the Outrage?

The president has had 16 opportunities since Jan. 1 to speak out against violence against police officers & yet not a word ...

By Michael A. Orticelle  |   Mar 2, 2016
President Obama must use the stature of his office to condemn the violence visited upon law enforcement officers with alarming frequency.

Many of my friends, both law enforcement and civilian, post to social media accounts critiques of President Obama for being absent in the national discussion surrounding law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. I think that every police officer would agree this is the case. The president has repeatedly remarked on events when African-Americans have been killed by law enforcement. But he’s mum when cops are killed, and this has contributed to the skewed view of law enforcement and use of force that our public seems to now hold.

In the past 16 weeks (Jan. 17 – March 1, 2016) we have lost 16 officers in the line of duty. Twelve of them were killed by gunfire, three were killed in vehicle accidents/assaults, and one died in a plane crash while searching for suspects. The average age of these officers is 29 and one young woman was killed on her first day on patrol. (For more, see this excellent article by Dale Stockton and visit www.ODMP.org).

Where is the outrage?

Every time an officer uses deadly force people gather, protest, and in some cases riot. Shouldn’t those same people be incensed that a police officer, an individual who has chosen to serve the community and keep them safe, is killed while performing that noble work? While the lack of presidential backing is unsettling, President Obama is too concerned about how the pundits will describe his legacy in the history books to worry about a 29-year-old police officer in Texas who is killed after two years on the job. Again: Where are the local politicians and community leaders who have a direct impact on the sensitivities of their constituents? Why are they not outraged?

Law enforcement across the country is concerned with gun violence. Proactive aggressive policing has a proven impact on the amount of gun violence that occurred in New York City and Chicago. Unfortunately, community leaders and politicians received pressure from their constituents that the police were only targeting minority neighborhoods, in particular African-American males. The “Stop and Frisk” policy in New York is credited with helping to drop the murder rate in NYC 35% between 2011 and 2013. When the policy was challenged by the ACLU, New York Civil Liberties Union, and the de Blasio administration in 2015, the number of stop and frisks went down by half from the previous year. Meanwhile the murder rate rose by 19.5%.

Jim Glennon, the owner of Calibre Press, wrote an article recently that discusses the changes in policies in the Chicago Police department, which is in effect causing officers to stop proactive policing tactics. The result: A clear increase in violent crime. If the police were to respond like firemen and only answer calls for service crime would likely increase because, whether ACLU or politicians like it or not, the police prevent crime by being proactive and engaging the pubic.

Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying: “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” The principle here is the safety of the community and the police sworn to protect the community.

It’s a Constitutional right. The Preamble of the Constitution (1789) states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Politicians take an oath similar to that of law enforcement, which includes a statement to defend the Constitution of the United States. Why then do they constantly violate their oath by undermining attempts by law enforcement to insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare of ALL the people they are supposed to be serving?

Every officer I have know in my 34 years in law enforcement (active and as an educator) would run into harm’s way to help a complete stranger. They are all heroes and have earned my respect. Every time I hear about an officer dying in the line of duty a piece of my heart is broken and I shed a tear. This article is not a Constitutional rights debate piece. I did not write this to endorse proactive policing. I simply want to know why society has decided that the police are expendable? How many officers have to be killed before society decides to teach everyone to help officers instead of curse them? Fighting the police is gong to end badly? To take responsibility for their own actions and quite blaming the police?

Politicians and community leaders need to “stand like a rock” on the issues of justice, domestic tranquility and promoting the general welfare of the community. They need to be outraged when an officer, the individuals they depend on to protect the communities they have been elected to serve, is killed doing his or her job.

Always honored; Never forgotten.