When Legislators Endorse the Breaking of Laws

By Jim Glennon  |   Aug 24, 2020

Legislators in both the state and federal governments exist to represent the people. In theory, they hold these positions to pass laws and protect the tenets of the Constitution.

The legal decrees they envision, propose, debate, and enact should only become laws if they benefit the citizenry and are designed to keep people safe from negligent and criminal behavior while upholding the framework of the Constitution. 

In a nutshell, their political purpose is to create laws and defend the constitution.

If we want our society to endure and evolve, those laws must be enforced. Our constitutional principles must be protected. Therefore, people are hired and made responsible for this enforcement and protection.

Those people are the police.

To sum it all up: The legislature enacts laws and the police enforce them. Pretty simple?

Not anymore.

Legislators Who Hate the Law

Over the past several years and almost daily, many legislators have openly, unabashedly, advocated for people to disobey the laws they themselves had passed. Essentially encouraging people to commit crimes.

And in doing this, they defy the oaths they took when they were sworn into elected office.

They do this not only with impunity and with backing from many in the media, but in some cases they do it with permission from the people they represent—they very same people who will suffer the consequences of said recreant behavior.

To add to the absurdity, these politicians regularly demonize the police—the ones who primarily exist to enforce the laws these very same people enact.

They refer to the law enforcement officers using vile names. They slander their collective character. They describe them as immoral curators of unethical systems that, paradoxically, the legislators themselves created and have overseen. Some of their oversight having lengths of two, three, four, and even five decades.

They ignore the fact that they themselves are the ones who have consistently denied their police agencies the funds necessary to train officers adequately. In essence, waiving away training that would have professionalized the rank and file and limited the kind of mistakes which result in injuries and a loss of trust within communities.

Instead, these politicians point to the police and create a fictional narrative. They highlight illegal use-of-force events—which are statistically quite rare—in order to brand the police as society’s evil antagonist. Why?

So they can position themselves as the righteous protagonist; the protector of the innocent. The true champions of justice.

Yet, at the same time, these very politicians are contributing to the deconstruction of a system that was designed to enforce the law, uphold order and ensure justice.

They are the ones who manage cities and states which have seen their crime rates climb higher and higher. People being gunned down and robbed in record numbers week after week, month after month.

Like clockwork, after yet another gruesome weekend of murder and mayhem, politicians and prosecutors will conduct their Monday morning press conferences. They’ll deliver angst-filled speeches through clenched teeth, accompanied by angry facial expressions and raised voices. They’ll pound their podiums while declaring that they have had enough with the senseless killings and violence in their neighborhoods. They will assure us—unequivocally—that there will be law and order.

Starting now, they will no longer allow such criminality to continue on their city’s streets!

But…

…in reality, they will do the exact opposite.

In these very same press conferences, they excuse or deny obvious criminal behavior, shifting blame to the police. At best, they send mixed messages to the criminals. At worst, they openly encourage lawbreakers to break more laws.

They do all of this while ignoring the fact that they themselves reside over the systems which participate in corruptible leniency practices for those who break, bash, terrorize, and rob.

They eliminate bail requirements for even the most grievous repeat offenders. They accept plea deals which equate to no more than a slap on the wrist. They drop felony charges at unconscionable rates. They reject enhancement opportunities for firearm violations. They dismiss “nonviolent” criminal charges wholesale.

I mean, what’s the big deal about smashing through store windows, stealing every item in the shop, setting the place on fire, or pointing a gun at a cop? It wasn’t real violence. Besides, society’s ills made them do it. 

If questioned, they again turn their attention to the real enemy: the police. Yes, the true cause of discontent in this country. They promise to defund, restructure, and downsize in order to reimagine public safety—all while the violent crime rate soars to heights we haven’t seen in over 30 years.

The sad but ironically interesting thing about these politicians is that their doubletalk and hypocrisy is incredibly obvious. Scores of these same legislators rallied for more police on the street and championed the robust enforcement of laws just a few years ago. Some of them made these types of remarks just months ago.

Where We Are Today

The police are stuck in the middle. They’re needed while being assailed.

They are expected to handle all of society’s problems perfectly. They are tasked with keeping law and order while many in the legislative branch embolden the lawless and financially cripple their police departments.  

A lot of people who know me personally have heard my warnings about this for years: Politicians disparaging the police profession while contributing to a deficiency in training—combined with a lack of true leadership in the command ranks and an absence of overall investment in police agencies—is a recipe for disaster. 

In 2014, before the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, Missouri, I wrote an article titled Stop Working. In it, I advised people who are not in law enforcement that the constant demonization of the police would have an obvious consequence: less proactivity on the part of the harder-working cops and fewer recruits to fill the ranks. Both would result in a significant uptick in crime and violence. More people would die.

I’m not that smart, but you could see it coming from a mile away if you were paying attention.

It’s here today.

I keep hearing about the silent majority, and I know they exist. They are the same ones who support the Constitution, laws, order, and the police. I know they exist because the latest polls say they do. Most people don’t want to defund the police; a clear majority have confidence in and respect for their police. And significant portions, especially in higher-crime areas, want the same or more of a police presence.

It’s time for that majority to become less silent. The media won’t accurately report the truth, and our politicians only seem to respond to the loudest of voices—no matter how unreasonable and counterproductive to safety they may be.

So, consider starting to speak up. What if we all stayed quiet about this?

Imagine what will be the consequences.

Would you want to live in that world?

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Jim Glennon
Lt. Jim Glennon (ret.) is the owner and lead instructor for Calibre Press. He is a third-generation LEO, retired from the Lombard, Ill. PD after 29 years of service. Rising to the rank of lieutenant, he commanded both patrol and the Investigations Unit. In 1998, he was selected as the first Commander of Investigations for the newly formed DuPage County Major Crimes (Homicide) Task Force. He has a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Law Enforcement Justice Administration, is the author of the book Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement.