Cops Are the Good Guys

3,781,298 Views
Apr 16, 2018

Are cops perfect? Of course not. And no one should expect them to be. But every single day, under the most difficult conditions, the police protect us from the bad guys. In other words, they do their job and they do it well. Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke makes it very clear: cops are not the problem.

Most high-publicity incidents of police killings, including Michael Brown and Eric Garner, happened because the suspect failed to comply.

  • When Officer Darren Wilson told Michael Brown to get out of the middle of the street in Ferguson, Missouri, Brown refused to comply.View Source
  • When officers in Baltimore told Freddie Gray to stop resisting arrest, he refused to comply.View Source
  • When officers in New York City told Eric Garner to stop resisting arrest, he refused to comply.View Source
  • When incidents become political, they can harm the community they are trying to help by defunding the police, which does nothing to address the crime and problems of non-compliance.View Source

The idea that a law-abiding citizen has to fear the police is a destructive lie that only ends up hurting communities that need police most.

  • Police are there to stop crime, not harass law-abiding citizens. Crime has been on the decline as police practices have advanced since the 1960s.View Source
  • When fear of the police becomes irrational due to high profile events being distorted publicly, departments can face defunding, which makes communities less safe.View Source
  • In 2014, more than 990 people were killed in police use-of-force incidents.View Source
  • According to a Johns Hopkins study, medical errors were estimated to have killed over 250,000 people in 2013.View Source
  • WATCH: Sheriff David Clarke on the importance of respect for police officersView Source

The murder rates in impoverished neighborhoods are going up because lawful, aggressive policing is going down.

  • Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute calls the increase in crime due to defunding of the police “The Ferguson Effect.”View Source
  • Cops go where the higher crime rates are. When they aren’t allowed to do this to avoid charges of racism, these places become less safe.View Source
  • Baltimore suffered over 300 murders in 2017, a new record. This comes as the police patrol presence has backed off in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.View Source
  • WATCH: “Failed Liberal Policies Cause Riots” – Sheriff David ClarkeView Source

The police aren’t the ones hurting minority communities. Radical politicians and activists are by discouraging effective policing.

  • The police didn’t create the failed urban policies that have increased income inequality.View Source
  • Democrats have ruled America’s big cities for decades, but urban and poor environments haven’t gotten much better. In fact, many have gotten worse.View Source
  • The view that the police should back off is the view of the politicians and activists, not necessarily the view of the community.View Source
  • The police aren’t responsible for fatherless homes, failing schools, and bad lifestyle choices.View Source
  • Related reading: “Why We Should Respect Law Enforcement” – The Huffington PostView Source

Police are essential to maintaining a civilized society. Having more of them around makes us more safe, not less. 

  • Cops are essential to maintaining a civilized society, and having them around makes us more safe, not less.View Source
  • Most high-profile police shooting cases could have been avoided if the suspect had complied with officer commands.View Source
  • Even if you disagree with the police’s actions, these disagreements should be decided in court and not acted on in rage and disrespect.View Source
  • Respect for cops is at a near record high in America: 76% have a “great deal” of respect for police officers.View Source

Communities are only made less safe the more they are told to fear the police.

  • When fear of the police becomes irrational due to high profile events being twisted by politicians, activists, and the media, departments can face defunding, which makes communities less safe.View Source
  • In 2014, more than 990 people were killed in police use-of-force incidents.View Source
  • According to a Johns Hopkins study, medical errors were estimated to have killed over 250,000 people in 2013.View Source
  • Related reading: “Cops Count, Police Matter: Preventing Crime and Disorder in the 21st Century” – Former NYC Police Commissioner William BrattonView Source

The leftist myth of “systemic racism” within law enforcement only ends up making minority communities less safe.

  • Former NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton on the myth of systemic racism among police: “The damage that is being created among American police forces in terms of their morale, the damage to the potential building of relationships among the public and the neighborhoods that need us most by that broad-brush implication that American policing is fundamentally racially biased is wrong.”View Source
  • Related reading: “The “Ferguson Effect”: Restricting Law Enforcement’s Ability to Protect Americans” – Hans von Spakovsky and Brad SchlozmanView Source
  • Related video: “Are the Police Racist?” – Heather Mac DonaldView Source

Cops go where the higher crime rates are. When they aren’t allowed to do this to avoid charges of racism, these places become less safe. 

  • Cops go where the higher crime rates are. When they aren’t allowed to do this to avoid charges of racism, these places become less safe.View Source
  • Following the riots and political pressure over the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore experienced what happens if police presence is dialed back: in 2017, the city suffered a dramatic increase in murders.View Source
  • Related reading: “Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America” – Sheriff David ClarkeView Source

For over 39 years, I was a police officer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For 15 of those years, I was the Sheriff of Milwaukee County. I’ve done everything you can do as cop—from walking the beat, to investigating murder, to running the agency. I’ve met a lot of cops—of every race, ethnicity and background.

Here’s what I can tell you:

Cops are not perfect.

That’s not a news flash. But this might be: They don’t have to be perfect. They have to be excellent.

And most officers reach excellence every single day, and often under very difficult circumstances—circumstances you can’t imagine, and wouldn’t want to if you could.

Perfection is an unattainable goal. Cops are ordinary human beings. Like everyone else—lawyers, surgeons and baseball players—they make mistakes. But no profession works harder to correct its mistakes. You can mark social progress by the improvements made by police departments over the last 50 years. Today, police are more professional, better educated, and better trained than at any time in their history.

You wouldn’t know it, though, if you listened to self-serving, self-righteous politicians and activists. In their version of history, the police are the villains of the story, not its heroes. Like everything else this crowd does, they’ve got it all backwards.

The police aren’t the problem. The politicians and activists are.

The police didn’t create the failed urban policies that have locked people into generational poverty.

The police aren’t responsible for fatherless homes, failing schools, and bad lifestyle choices.

And they sure as hell aren’t responsible for the lack of respect shown to police officers. It is this lack of respect for authority, fostered over decades by the progressive left and its fear-the-police narrative, that has led to the needless deaths of so many young black men.

When Officer Darren Wilson told Michael Brown to get out of the middle of the street in Ferguson, Missouri, did Brown comply? No. When officers in Baltimore told Freddie Gray to stop resisting arrest, did he comply? No. When officers in New York City told Eric Garner to stop resisting arrest, did he comply? No.

Here’s a useful tip—if you want avoid a bad outcome with a police officer, follow this simple rule:

When a cop gives you a lawful command, obey it—even if you disagree. Whatever problem you are experiencing is not going to be settled on the street. People with complaints need to use the process established for that purpose. Though cops don’t have the final say, they do in that moment. How you react can be a matter of life or death.

But the idea that a law-abiding citizen has to fear the police is a terrible and destructive lie. Let’s get some perspective.

In 2014, 990 people were killed in police use-of-force incidents. Does that sound like a lot? Did you know that, according to a Johns Hopkins study, that same year, medical errors killed 250,000 people? Yet activists aren’t marching in the streets, demanding that the medical profession be reformed. Why not?

Why is it that the people who protect you from the bad guys—and I’ve seen these bad guys close up—are the subject of distrust and anger?

Why is it that groups like Black Lives Matter—I call them Black Lies Matter because it’s based on the falsehood that police represent a danger to black people—are celebrated by the media and politicians?

All this is taking its toll on cops and, even more tragically, on the law-abiding citizens in the neighborhoods that most need a strong police presence. The murder rates in these neighborhoods are going up because lawful, aggressive policing is going down.

Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has explained why. She calls it “The Ferguson Effect.” And it’s real. It’s also common sense. Why, police officers reason, put your career at risk, if 30 seconds of smartphone video taken out of context can destroy it?

Here’s the truth: Police aren’t afraid of walking the streets or being shot by random criminals. They’re afraid of being involved in an incident that would label them forever as trigger-happy racists.

Are there bad cops? I know first-hand that there are—I’ve had to fire them.

But the overwhelming majority are good, decent men and women, concerned about the law-abiding citizens in the communities they serve and are willing to put their lives on the line to protect them.

Those who try to convince you, either out of ignorance or out of some ideological agenda, that the police are the enemy—those are the people you should fear.

Run from them.

Not the cops.

I’m Sheriff David Clarke for Prager University.

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