It is not well known outside of family circles, but I married into a long history of law enforcement. My wife’s grandfather was the San Pete County Sherriff for ages, back in the day. My father-in-law and his brother were the cornerstones of the Provo City Police Detective Department for over twenty-five years. My oldest daughter married the son of a notable career Orem City officer. In our family, ethical law enforcement and the people that participate in it are personal. When we hear some of the absolute insanity circulating around policing in blue cities and states, it is cause for serious concern. It is literally a road to anarchy.
In any free and functional state, effective law enforcement is a cornerstone of those freedoms. Boundaries for civil and criminal actions must be clear and consistently enforced, or the system breaks down quickly. Corrupting the legal system, the politicians, courts, or the officers empowered to bring perpetrators to justice all have a deleterious effect on confidence in the system and incent the wrong elements. Without this consistency, you have a failing state. Historical examples of this abound, and we need only look south of the border with Mexico, where narco-cartels openly rule and even the Mexican Army (much less local gendarmerie) fear to confront them.
This begs the question of why blue cities and states are attempting to defund or eliminate their police. Mayor DeBlasio and New York City are prime examples. Cutting police budgets, eliminating entire departments, hamstringing active officers as to their enforcement methodologies, eliminating bail laws, or prosecuting citizens who are forced to defend themselves when policing is unavailable are not kind and civil actions. They are actions that embolden criminal elements, and the results reflect it. Crime, especially violent crime, is now skyrocketing in a number of these places where leaders are creating a lax enforcement environment. Career officers are leaving or retiring in unprecedented numbers. This is all bad news.
Anyone who has spent time in or around law enforcement knows exactly the results such as policies engender. They will break down civil order, create an environment where crime flourishes, and eventually render communities unlivable. Perhaps it is no coincidence that lifelong city dwellers in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere are moving out, literally fleeing to the suburbs and country, in record numbers. And counter to the left’s erroneous arguments for compassion, it is the poorest elements of their communities that will suffer the most.
This issue is a dividing line between functional states and failing states. Utah stands among the exemplary states with a governor and attorney general who stand behind their chiefs and officers. Utah has a long history of excellent law enforcement, on both local levels and on a statewide basis. There are always examples of bad apples, but the great, great majority of law personnel simply want to make a difference in their communities. They take on such stressful (and underpaid) careers for those very reasons. There are rich and proud traditions in families that center on this ethic of service.
Our nation needs to learn from this example and remember the time when a local police officer was a friend to their community. It still is so here and can be that way elsewhere. But it starts with leadership. De Blasio and others of their ilk should be impeached for dereliction of duty. Their policies directly endanger their citizens and should not be tolerated. It could be argued that people like DeBlasio, a self-declared Marxist, actually intend to sow chaos, a position unthinkable just a short time ago.
In contrast, local leaders who enforce good policing should be recognized and rewarded, as should those brave men and women who put it all on the line as first responders. If we allow a tolerance of such insane policy, without consistent support for proper law enforcement, unbridled anarchy waits in the wings. We are already beginning to see scenes of citizens attacking police in their local communities in some of these affected cities. This is entirely unacceptable. History teaches an indisputable lesson on this and we should be listening closely to history’s clarion voice.