Another day, another situation that once again puts our police officers in peril. This week it was in Maryland, where a 24-year old man named David Linthicum allegedly shot two police officers, leaving one on life support as a result. A manhunt soon followed, with the suspect recently being taken into custody. And the thing is, the officers were just doing their job when they were shot. Someone had called them to report a potential suspect, and, when confronted, Linthicum shot them and went on the run. He was apprehended soon thereafter, where he surrendered peacefully.
But, honestly, this is a story I’m still hearing way too often – and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. We hear about police officers that are put into life-or-death scenarios because they didn’t have the proper equipment to keep them alive. And what’s to blame for it? You guessed it, “defund the police.”
I’ve discussed it in the past, but you may not understand what lingering effects have come from “defund the police” since it began in 2020. With the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA have called for officers to be punished, despite the fact that a majority of them serve a greater purpose in keeping people safe.
But these riots managed to convince key politicians out there to slash budgets, in the hopes of bringing balance back and keeping everyone happy. Only…it didn’t.
Fast forward nearly three years after Floyd’s death, and it’s chaos. Thousands of officers have left their post during this time frame. Some left willingly, unable to cope with the mental strain coming from the lack of support by citizens and their local government alike. Others were fired unfairly, like the 2,000 officers and public workers cast out by New York City after they refused to take a COVID vaccine that they knew very little about.
It’s also gotten worse for some. Some lost their lives, including a few in Chicago that felt suicide was the only answer. Think about it. The “defund the police” budgets were slashed so badly that they couldn’t receive mental support for what their job was doing to them. It’s an outright shame, because, with the right amount of funding, those officers might still be alive.
But there’s more. As a result of this budget slashing, we’re putting police on the streets when they aren’t clearly prepared for duty. Just look at what happened in Memphis, when five completely unprofessional officers took the life of young Tyre Nichols. It just doesn’t make sense at all.
What’s more, even with rising crime rates and the disarray from what’s happening with the police, there are still out there who believe that defunding the police was the right move. Seriously? Leaving them ill-equipped to handle life-threatening situations? Not giving them the support they require in order to keep doing their job efficiently? How in the world do you consider this the right move?
Now it’s come down to more officers coming under attack, like the two shot in Maryland, with one still on life support. I’m right there with his family and friends, keeping prayers for him to pull through so he can return to them in one piece.
But enough is enough. Congress has a “fund the police” bill, which President Biden continues to trumpet but does very little on. It’s time to finally pass it. It’s time to give our officers the support they deserve, especially in these dire times. It’s time to fund the kind of training that will prepare new ones for the road ahead. It’s time to provide gear and mental health for those that truly need it, before it’s too late. And it’s time to shut up the critics who believe that “defund the police” was the right move. Again, it wasn’t.
We need to do this. For the officers we’ve lost. For the officers we can’t get back. For the ones still holding on to the idea that their job matters.
Because, damn it, it does.
Michael Letts is the Founder, President, and CEO of InVest USA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. He also has over 30 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, hence his pro-police stance for his brothers and sisters in blue. Those interested in learning more about Letts can visit his official website here.