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“Defund the Police” Movement Taking Toll on Quality of Recruits

Posted on Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

Defund the Police

In a desperate bid to fill their ranks amid continued fallout from the “Defund the Police” movement, many police departments throughout the country are being forced to lower hiring standards, raising fears that negative and even deadly interactions between police and citizens could become more likely.

Late last month, Washington, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee testified that it could take a whole decade to get his department back to full strength. The department – which is currently 800 officers short of its staffing goal – was one of the most high-profile targets of the “Defund the Police” movement, and police work has been vilified by many radicals in the D.C. government.

Contee noted that because of the 2020 protests and the aggressive scrutiny police officers face daily, “it’s just not an attractive industry anymore.” After cutting $15 million from the city’s police budget in 2020, D.C. City Council members are so desperate to hire new cops that they’re offering a $20,000 signing bonus to recruits.

Other cities throughout the country – many of which also siphoned money away from law enforcement in 2020 and 2021 – have taken similar steps to attract new officers. But these measures have not been enough to offset the wave of resignations and early retirements plaguing departments large and small.

As a result, many departments have been forced to lower recruiting standards as well as offer lucrative sign-on incentives – a combination that has led to concerns about police quality.

A Wall Street Journal opinion piece last month from Jason Johnson, Baltimore’s deputy police commissioner from 2016 to 2018, notes that “a majority of departments are accepting recruits who admit to having used illegal drugs. Visible tattoos were once a no-no, but a third of departments now allow them. And many departments are granting exemptions to rules against hiring applicants with criminal convictions.”

Not all of the recent changes to recruiting requirements are bad. In Chicago, for example, the police department last year waived a college credit requirement for individuals who have two years of military or peace officer experience, or three years in corrections, social services, health care, trades, or education. Allowing this valuable life experience to act as a substitute for college led to 400 new applicants to the Chicago police department the same day the change was implemented.

Yet some other departments, including in cities like Philadelphia and New Orleans, have simply eliminated college credit requirements entirely without requiring applicants to have some sort of requisite background experience that indicates they likely have what it takes to do the job. As Johnson warns, “Police officers who can’t handle the physical and ethical rigors of the job risk achieving through their actions what the ‘defund the police’ movement never could by debasing the profession in the eyes of the American people.”

Americans have already seen instances of this playing out in a high-profile cases of police brutality. Four of the five officers involved in the tragic killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, in January had earned official reprimands during their careers. One of them was sued for beating an inmate while working as a prison guard in 2016.

The unintended consequence of these relaxed standards is that the chances of a negative interaction between a police officer and the community he or she is sworn to protect rises significantly. When fewer officers with fewer qualifications are policing larger areas with less support, mistakes, conflicts, tragedies, and disasters become more likely.

Johnson refers to this as the “deprofessionalization” of policing – another devastating and direct consequence of the Defund the Police movement.

During the 2020 George Floyd protests, left-wing activists asserted that the entire law enforcement profession did more harm than good and could easily be replaced. They stated as an immutable fact that if you cut police budgets and shifted the money into community outreach, you would eliminate any need for policing.

None of this turned out to be true. The few cities that did defund their police departments shifted the money into ill-defined social programs of questionable utility. Within a year, every one of these departments increased their budgets to pre-2020 levels.

Yet the damage could not be undone. Now, communities will be forced to reckon with the reality of fewer officers who are less experienced – creating a whole new host of challenges.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

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PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

The left is achieving the goals they set out to accomplish with the whole “defund the police” movement and the election of 100 Soros backed soft on crime District Attorneys around the country. Crime is up in all the Democrat run cities and states. Experienced police in those areas are retiring or leaving the profession far faster than new recruits can be bought in. That is even if they can find any qualified recruits for the open slots, which usually they can’t. So they lower the standards and get far less qualified people, which is itself a whole new problem to address.

In general, the public is less safe and the Democrat politicians are all pushing for “new solutions” that will only compound the already disastrous results of their bad policies. All of course requiring new bureaucratic programs and LOTS and LOTS of taxpayer dollars to implement (It’s always about more and more taxpayer money needed for the next magic fix), and which will solve NOTHING. In short, the Democrat erosion of the United States from within continues unabated, as the American people just continue to take it.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

No Police= Vigilante time, Death Wish
Arm selves, defend selves

Joseph
Joseph
1 year ago

The left ruins everything it touches. That said, the only departments that were smart about this shortage of officers were the ones to get rid of college requirements. I need a college degree in my physician, my lawyer, my dentist and things like that. I don’t need that in a police officer. I need common sense, discipline, good physical condition and people skills. As someone who retired from the profession I found the best street officers were veterans and non-veterans with good people skills & common sense, and the worst were college educated cops with no street experience or real world work experience. A criminal justice degree does not give you common sense. Just saying. MAGA

Rik
Rik
1 year ago

Defund the Police is just part of the Destruction of American Values! . . . America is soon to be about the loss of freedom and rights “guaranteed” to the average citizen and the installation of power to the wealthy top 1%.

Gina
Gina
1 year ago

George Soros corrupted Brazil and America, asunder. Brazil and America are falling apart

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

Soros and the democRATS are going to push us too far. They won’t like the results.

Carol
Carol
1 year ago

All this is meant to happen! I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory but either these leftist are stupid or playing a game to natch power! I think it’s the latter cuz leftist have been at this game for a long time and these tactics remind me of ones in history that succeeded in bringing down other governments. Not good for America! We need strong law enforcement that works for the communities they serve!

jelena polanka
jelena polanka
1 year ago

How many people die because of medical errors and wrong diagnoses etc. We still have hospitals and no one protesting against doctors That whole movement has one aim only and it has nothing to do with the safety of the public We all know that

George Washington's Admirer
George Washington's Admirer
1 year ago

Vive la difference ~ Ethics, ethical bearing, helpful positive attitude; with just a touch of humility. These qualities make a difference in law enforcement; as my Highway Patrolman Uncle taught. Minus swaggering, indifference, and rudeness. This is what my Uncle taught; from the State of Idaho. These qualities plus: horse sense, skill, being able to correctly size up a situation quickly and accurately. My Uncle taught Ethical Philosophy. When faced with a restaurant full of customers and a sniper; there has to be a quick accurate decision. He was faced with philosophical questions and real decision making. How attitudes have changed from the public as well. (Some of it due to negative propaganda from the mainstream media.) Or, what looks like a real policy implemented from the Marxist Bedfellows in conjunction with the socialist/demo set. Remember the late 1950’s with law enforcement heroes and movies like: ‘The FBI Story’ 1959 film starring Jimmy Stewart and Vera Miles? Federal Agent John Michael “Chip” Hardesty stars and narrates. This was a widely accepted and admired movie. The demonization of local police departments; has had an adverse effect on the acceptance of law enforcement on EVERY level. It has cast a dark shadow on the entire subject. This is probably why recruitment is down; and retirement is up. What are the answers? Its difficult to ascertain. However, a moderation, and narrowing of extremes might be part of the answer. Again, What Would President Washington say about his country? He said it: “All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency.” See; Our Founding Father President George Washington was very smart! May God Bless Us With Wisdom, Grace, and Love Of Our Country!

jocko
jocko
1 year ago

THAT IS PRECISELY WHAT THE CANCEROUS, ANTI-AMERICAN, LYING, CHEATNG, libs WANT, WHICH WILL LEAD TO A FEDERAL POLICE FORCE, MORE CORRUPT THAN OUR ONCE HONORABLE , fbi

Morbious
Morbious
1 year ago

This has all been deliberate. The left creates chaos until the public is willing to accept more radical‘solutions’ than they would prior to the chaos. In my blue city crime is out of control. The authorities know exactly who is committing them but instead (we have a soros prosecutor), the mayor and city council are attacking firearm owners. The dupes and dolts who vote dem applaud. Law abiding citizens are fleeing the city limits and driving up RE prices. Im waiting for the soros/obama/holder/biden plan to move section eight recipients into these areas. We’ll see if people fight then.

Al
Al
1 year ago

These liberal states and cities have reaped what they had sown, by defunding the Police. Now they have to suffer the consequences. These communities need to stop voting for any democrats. They have led you down a disastrous road that will take a very long time to repair.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.
Only FOOLS would want to Defund the Police like the FASCIST liberals do so they can keep criminals running free.
It’s the only way the FASCIST liberals can protect themselves from ALL the crimes they commit.
And you have their leader DICTATOR Beijing biden, Terrorist antifa, AOC, LOUDMOUTH Maxine Waters, SWAMP QUEEN pelosi, Communist harris, and Terrorist blm leading the charge to Defund the Police.
Yet, as usual, DICTATOR Beijing biden LIES and tries to blame the GOP just like he blames everyone else for his LOSER policies.
DEFUND WASHINGTON, D.C. and the ENTIRE Government is what should be DEFUNDED and start fresh with VERY SMALL Government.

pete
pete
1 year ago

police in large cities have always had detractors. Liberal idiots just opened the floodgates.

RCL
RCL
1 year ago

It serves us right! We stand around with our fingers up our noses, lament the BS running wild, and wonder why? Elect more AHs, ignore the deviance, crime, drugs, and other useless people syndrome, pay the price, and perhaps shut up! We let it go, now pay the price!

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