Our failure to quash the war on cops

Nine (9) peace officers have been shot and three (3) have died in our region since January 23.

  • January 23 — two McLeod County deputies were shot after knocking and being allowed entrance into a Winsted residence to effect an arrest.
  • January 24 — a White Bear Lake police officer was shot after knocking and being allowed entrance into a WBL apartment to effect an arrest.
  • April 8 — two western Wisconsin police officers were shot and killed during a traffic stop in Barron County.  Chetek Police Officer Emily Breidenbach and Cameron Police Officer Hunter Scheel both died as a result of their injuries.
  • April 10 — a Granite Falls police officer was shot during a knock and announce search warrant at a Granite Falls home.
  • April 15 — two Pope County deputies and a Starbuck police officer were shot in an apartment in Cyrus, where they had responded on a report of domestic assault.  Deputy Josh Owen died as a result of his injuries.

Minnesota peace officers have experienced a 165% increase in assaults over the past five years. What other profession would we allow to come under assault like this?  

Our peace officers are paying the price for our failure to reject the war on cops in recent years — a war that is often described in euphemistic terms that have helped garner support across many demographics.   

Make no mistake, the movement to defund, dismantle, deconstruct, and reform policing has undermined law enforcement and emboldened many to act violently towards those who serve our communities.

An atmosphere of lawlessness has won out. Morale in our law enforcement agencies has fallen, hundreds have resigned or retired well before they would have commonly done so, and few are lining up to take their places. The thin blue line that normally maintains order in our society is perilously thin and getting thinner.

There is an adage among carpenters that states, “Take care of your tools and your tools will take care of you.” We would be wise to wake up and begin demanding more of ourselves and of our elected leaders when it comes to taking care of our peace officers.

Peace officers need our support — now more than ever. Instead, as a society we sit back and let the profession take fire. 

We elect and re-elect politicians who damn the police when it’s politically expedient to do so. We allow revisionists to claim that the profession derived from slavery (it didn’t). We fail to reject when activists and politicians claim the profession is too militaristic, that it is biased, that officers can’t be trusted to enforce traffic laws or drug laws, and that no-knock warrants or grappling restraints must be prohibited. We trust too many police administrators who have bought into the narrative that police must be guardians, not warriors (as if developing skills to survive and a “will to live” is the problem).

We can pour all the money we want into police standards, training, recruitment, and retention efforts. It would pale in comparison to the effect that strong, unwavering support for law enforcement would have on the profession, and in turn on society.