Officer shortage is not surprising

Published 6:59 pm Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

The media are ignoring the serious shortage of police officers and people willing to take on that thankless job.

I have been inquiring about the shortage of officers in area big-city police departments and their inability to get applicants. Much of what I am told, they are scared to say publicly, and politicians and police chiefs deny, but I assure you it is the truth.

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This will only get worse. Officers I personally know are retiring or getting other jobs as soon as possible. The departments cannot get applicants, especially African American applicants.

Recruiters trying to get African American applicants are told that these young men and women would like to apply and help the community but suffer by being ridiculed by their peers for entering the profession.

Officers now stay out of certain areas because they do not feel they can try to enforce the law in them because if the wrong thing happens or, God forbid, they make a mistake, they are thrown under the bus. Democratic politicians’ calls for ending qualified immunity that keeps officers from being personally sued is a disaster.

If the persecution of law enforcement continues, soon you may dial 911 and hear this:
“An officer will respond in the order in which your call for help was received.” Think this can’t happen? Just wait.

I do not agree with officers doing things that are illegal, and they should be taken out of the profession. But the problem now with these shortages is departments are forced to hire people they once would not have hired and keep people they once would have not kept, because they have no one to replace them.

Of all of the incidents being protested over the past several years, ask yourself two questions: In how many of these cases was the person injured or killed not breaking the law? In how many of these cases were the persons injured or killed obeying the lawful commands of police officers? Of the 48 officers shot to death in 2020, I have seen no protest and even celebrations of their murders. These people are paid to enforce the law, not allow themselves to be seriously injured or killed.

To those who want the police to be afraid, defund them and have them fired and prosecuted for making an honest mistake at work, I say this: Be damn careful what you wish for.


Volpe Boykin