One Bad Police Officer Cannot and Should Not Taint All

Departments in key urban areas are losing law enforcement members because of reckless language and attitudes

Americans heard the phrases “militarized police force,” “police brutality,” and “racial profiling” all too often during the administration of President Barack Obama. These words were used to project the deviant actions of a single rogue police officer onto all of them.

The mainstream media and the Obama White House created a public relations nightmare for police departments across the country. Millions of Americans piled onto the narrative that we have a major problem with policing in America.

As a result of this reckless, un-American and illegitimate narrative, many police departments are now losing more officers than they can hire.

In Atlanta, where I live, a dire situation is developing. Another 23 Atlanta police officers have just resigned from the department. The city presently has 300 unfilled openings. That means 15 percent of our police force has evaporated.

In 2015, at the height of the Obama-era police-bashing crisis, the Atlanta police department recruited 214 officers. Last year, 114 were recruited. This means it would take nearly three years to fill the vacancies of the Atlanta police department if no other officers resign.

Other municipalities’ police departments throughout the Atlanta area have increased pay and are finding it a bit easier to recruit. Many of these departments are in more conservative districts where officers find the community far more supportive in the event of a tragedy or shooting than in the city of Atlanta.

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After years of abuse under Obama’s leadership, what officer is going to choose a smaller salary in a liberal-controlled city like Atlanta versus a larger salary in a more conservative and police-friendly district like its suburbs? After all, almost all of the police negativity is being peddled by liberals.

I’m not saying there aren’t some legitimate examples of police brutality or even abuse of power. I’m saying that liberal leadership has created a tragedy of declining safety resulting from officers becoming more cautious about their careers and duties.

It’s not just Atlanta. Cities like Houston have seen its “code-one call” response time increase by nearly 30 percent in recent years. This literally creates a life-or-death scenario because of their police shortages. Code-one calls in Houston are crimes involving shootings and robberies.

Cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Hartford and Baltimore have all experienced alarming statistical declines resulting from police shortages. In Dallas, they’ve lost nearly 1,000 officers in 18 months. “Priority four calls” (not life threatening) can take 18 hours for a police officer to respond.

The abusive and hidden agenda of many Obama-era bureaucrats has resulted in this country’s being less safe and more divided. It’s not uncommon to hear citizens decry our military or police as “getting paid to do their job,” or even calling them “whiners” for talking about the cultural abuse they now receive. The nature of such comments is to diminish the service and patriotism that is inherent within our police officers across the nation.

As a result, safer districts, in rural and suburban areas, are able to pay higher wages and keep their jurisdictions safer, while the most vulnerable and overtasked departments are struggling with accelerating attrition. Liberal leadership in larger cities, unwilling to admit the flaws in their arguments, has led to unsafe cities.

This catastrophe is the result of deception by the Obama White House. It’s a result of a newly formed, punitive-style government, which has become politically weaponized to generate more power from fear. In order to inject fear into and rally minority populations, an inflated narrative concerning police brutality in inner-city communities was used.

As a result, our nation is less safe, our people are more divided, and there is little appetite in liberal inner cities such as Atlanta, Dallas and Houston to “reward” police officers with more money and respect.

We are reaching a tipping point where many cities will be forced to drop entitlement and social programs in order to pay officers more. If not, these cities face higher taxes, significant security challenges, and new crime waves.

Liberal policy inherently creates the perception of short-term benefits without evidencing the substantial long-term and negative consequences. It will be hard for many to blame the lackluster leadership of Obama and his police rhetoric for this escalating crisis, because one of the main tenets of liberalism is to detach cause from effect.

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If we live in one of these afflicted metropolitan areas, we must be outspoken, resolute and involved to ensure the liberal leadership of the inner city is held accountable to this police crisis.

Even if you live outside of these areas, you must be vocal and involved as well. You will be financially responsible (as a taxpayer) for the restoration effort as police departments across the country fail. We must act now to restore the respect and support that police across America deserve.

I will pledge to speak out against rogue or criminal police activity. However, I will not conflate one bad police officer — as Obama did — onto the many patriotic ones that serve the streets of America and protect them with all their might.

Bryan Crabtree is the live afternoon host on Atlanta’s Biz 1190 from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays and again on AM 920 The Answer from 9 to 11 p.m. His real estate show with his wife, Mackenzie Crabtree, can be heard on Saturday at 9 a.m. on AM 920 The Answer and noon Sunday on Biz 1190. His “Crabtree Chronicle” (focusing on local Atlanta issues) is also heard during the day on AM 920 The Answer.

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