Law & the Courts

Take Time to Honor Our Police on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

New York Police Department graduation ceremony, December 29, 2015. (Andrew Burton/Getty)

On Thursday evening, Edward Archer approached Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett and proceeded to shoot at him 13 times. Friday morning, he professed to have done so in the name of Islam, and it’s reported that he has pledged his allegiance to ISIS.

This violent attempt to murder a law-enforcement officer is in keeping with ISIS’s ongoing effort to attack those whose job it is to keep America safe, as we have seen in Fort Hood, Boston, and Chattanooga.

Yet in the wake of another attack in the name of radical Islamic terrorism, it is unfortunate that we have already seen so many officials bow down to political correctness rather than recognize the existential threat of radical Islamic terrorism to our very way of life.

We must defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and that starts by calling it by its name. And we must stand with law enforcement against those who seek to do us harm.

The same night that Officer Hartnett was shot in Philadelphia, terrorist suspects were arrested in Sacramento and Houston with the help of state and local law enforcement. These events underscore just how essential our officers are in keeping Americans safe and free.

Law enforcement forms a thin but powerful line protecting us not just from violent criminals, but from terrorists on our own soil. In the case of Garland, Texas, Islamic terrorists could have taken unknown numbers of lives if it were not for the brave traffic officer who stopped their attempted attack.

We must thank every officer for their service, not make excuses for the terrorists trying to kill them. Saturday is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD). It is an opportunity to stand emphatically with our police forces and to express our gratitude for their bravery, especially in a national climate that has been hostile towards our men and women in blue.

#share#By contrast, not only does President Obama refuse to call radical Islamic terrorism by its name, he has also perpetrated a national movement to vilify the very officers who keep our communities safe from this threat. He has nominated an individual to a top Department of Justice post who had represented and lionized a cop killer, and in 2015, he said, “There are some police who aren’t doing the right thing.” He continued, “We can’t just leave this to the police,” suggesting that he should stand as the judge and jury in convicting police officers.

President Obama’s cynicism is echoed by Democratic leaders. In New York, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed a special prosecutor to examine cases in which a grand jury fails to indict an officer. Mayor Bill de Blasio has accused the NYPD of perpetuating “centuries of racism.”

This assault on law enforcement is reverberating throughout our cities. It’s being fueled by groups like Black Lives Matter, and it’s empowering the perpetrators and inviting danger into our neighborhoods. Rather than standing up for our law enforcement, top national leaders are feeding a false narrative that the police are not committed to protecting all Americans.

This is false. And the hostility must stop. The police must know they have the full support of the American people behind them as they risk their lives daily for our security.

The police must know they have the full support of the American people behind them as they risk their lives daily for our security.

If we don’t treat the threat to our police with the seriousness it deserves, we will not only be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks on our own soil, but we will reverse the enormous national strides we have taken over the past few decades to prevent crime. In the 1990s, when crime soared in American cities, New York City leadership launched an effort to crack down on crime. Through the “broken window” theory of fighting petty crimes, and by using the CompStat system to analyze crime data, many cities began to reverse the growing crime trend. The people who benefited the most were those in minority communities: More than 10,000 black and Hispanic males — who would have died if the crime rates for that decade had remained the same — are alive today. Blue lives protect black lives, and all lives.

Between 1992 and 2011, the nation’s overall level of violent crimes dropped by 38 percent. This reform was one of the most transformational and courageous achievements in our modern history, but it is now in jeopardy. As the Washington Post reported in November of 2015, Baltimore suffered over 300 homicides last year. Similar homicide statistics can be found in Milwaukee, St. Louis, New Orleans, Chicago, and cities across the country — reflecting a reversal of decades of progress.

I am reminded of the memorial service I attended a few months ago in my hometown of Houston for Deputy Darren Goforth, an officer who was shot while he was at a gas station. At the service, thousands of officers dressed in blue filled the sanctuary. Dr. Ed Young, the pastor of Second Baptist Church, powerfully observed that in the Old Testament the Levites, the priests, wore blue. And he drew from the Lord’s Prayer to describe the core mission of police, and in particular, one phrase in the Lord’s Prayer: “Deliver us from evil.” That is the mission statement of our police — to deliver us from evil in the most horrifying moments of our lives.

So today, and every day, let us stand unequivocally with the brave men and women of law enforcement and thank them for their service. And let’s ensure that we remain safe by honoring our blue heroes with the respect and gratitude they deserve.

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