The murder of our peace officers shines a troubling light on the state of our society.

It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about the terrible trend in shootings and murders of our area’s peace officers — read that piece here.

Sadly, the trend has continued with the murder on Saturday evening of St. Croix County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaitie Leising, 29. Deputy Leising was responding in the early evening to a call of a possible drunk driver who had gone into a ditch. In the course of her response, the suspected drunk driver shot and killed Deputy Leising and then shot and killed himself. Read more about this case here.

Deputy Leising’s murder raises the number of shootings of peace officers in our region to ten (10), and murders to four (4) since January 23. To the casual observer of law enforcement, that number might not mean anything, but make no mistake, it is significant and alarming.

How did we get to this point? We got here precisely because our leadership failed to appropriately counter the absurd anti-police rhetoric that exploded after the death of George Floyd. Far too many politicians, as well as corporate, educational, medical, and religious leaders took the politically expedient opportunity to support calls to defund and reform policing without taking the time to consider the legitimacy of that call or the long-term impact it would have on the safety of our peace officer and the safety of society as a whole.

This poor leadership has sown the chaos we see in our streets in 2023 and has put our peace officers in an unprecedented position of vulnerability. Those in society who are prone to lawlessness and predatory behavior are unrestrained, and they know it.

What does it say about a society that is so quick to deify a career criminal who dies in a confrontation with the police, but seems to absorb 10 shootings and 4 murders of area peace officers with casual indifference? As a former peace officer, it is difficult to describe just how demoralizing that is.

We’ve seen enough marches, vandalism, and disfunction from those reacting on emotion over in-custody deaths. Peace officers will tell you they don’t want marches and chaos as a show of support for law enforcement. But what a positive development it would be if our governor, attorney general, mayors, lead prosecutors, university presidents, hospital administrators, and clergy routinely took the opportunity to stand in solidarity with our peace officers and made it clear to all that their support for law enforcement was unwavering.

With National Police Week coming up, there is no better time than the present to start.