Politics & Policy

Barr Backs Police over ‘Social-Justice’ DAs and ‘Progressive’ Judges in Op-Ed

Police officers stand in formation on the street outside a funeral service in Jersey City, New Jersey, (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Attorney General William Barr wrote a Monday op-ed in the New York Post criticizing “a deficit of respect” for police in society, taking aim at “social-justice” DAs and “progressive judges” for playing politics and making policing harder.

“There is no tougher job in the country than serving as a law-enforcement officer,” Barr wrote. “Every morning, officers across the country get up, kiss their loved ones and put on their protective vests. They head out on patrol never knowing what threats and trials they will face. And their families endure restless nights, so we can sleep peacefully.”

Earlier this month, the attorney general drew criticism for comments given in a speech at the Department of Justice in which he said that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” Many progressive activists interpreted the comment as a veiled insult directed at racial minorities.

In a wide-ranging interview with NBC News last week, Barr clarified that context of his remarks involved the “crisis” of police understaffing in a full-employment economy, not the silencing of legitimate criticism against police.

“As the jobs get tougher — you know, we’re seeing a very high suicide rate among police — and I’m saying that we have to focus on this and start valuing the people serve us as police officers,” Bar said. “Show them support and respect, just the way we show our military forces, or else we’re not going to be able to attract people into this profession, and we’re not going to end up with police forces.”

Barr reinforce his stance in the op-ed, saying that “as the demands being placed on police have become more intense, recruiting and retaining high-caliber officers have become a nationwide challenge.”

“Here is the stark reality: Without a serious focus on officer ­retention and recruitment, including a renewed appreciation for our men and women in blue, there won’t be enough police officers to protect us,” Barr stated.

In November, Barr sent a letter to state supreme courts in Washington and Oregon directives that prohibit immigration officials from detaining illegal immigrants in and around state courthouses, writing that “we should all agree that public safety should be of paramount concern.”

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