Use Your Vote to Support Police
Primary elections show the pulse of the nation. Along with voting for Presidential candidates, many states also put local ballot initiatives and referenda on the ballot. These local votes have a big impact on your local area, including local police departments.
This guide offers a quick introduction to the most important issues and relevant electoral battles that will impact police in the years to come.
Protecting the Second Amendment
An ongoing but highly-localized topic in the upcoming election will deal directly with the Second Amendment and every Law Enforcement officer’s obligation to defend it.
Over the past year, many states have faced legal battles on this issue: certain politicians want to hinder our citizen’s rights to protect themselves. Often, this is done in the name of safety – a deep irony, as most criminals rarely bother with legal weapons. Notable examples include:
- Michigan’s Red Flag Gun Law: these “extreme risk protection orders” allow any individual to petition a court to remove firearms from people they consider threatening. Although the wording in the law attempts to sound police friendly, these protection orders are vague enough that they can be easily applied to anyone, including active-duty police. In addition, they may be unconstitutional.
- Illinois’ attempted ban on assault weapons (the Protect Illinois Communities Act). Passed in the wake of the Highland Park shooting, this law put law enforcement officers in a difficult position. Theoretically, it would make it easier to keep people safe – but at the cost of an essential liberty.
- States that have tried to implement “safe havens” from these federal bans have faced repeated judicial attacks. For example, Missouri passed a “Second Amendment Preservation Act” that voided any laws that infringed on the Second Amendment within the state. However, in March 2023, a U.S. judge ruled it unconstitutional, as it contradicted Federal Law – even if said law violated larger federal principles.
Are Sheriffs Mandated to Defend Our Constitution?
The frequent attacks on Gun Rights and other essential liberties have awakened a new sense of purpose for many American Sheriffs. As elected officials, many local sheriffs feel compelled to stand up and take a more active political stance against these attacks.
A good example? The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), was founded in 2009. For participants in this movement, Sheriffs can and have the responsibility to refuse to enforce laws that are deemed unconstitutional, as part of a larger organized effort to resist government overreach.
Sheriffs are now under attack by local politicians who seek to take control of the local Sheriff’s Department by making the Sheriff an appointed position, rather than an elected position. This transfers power from voters to local politicians to control the local Sheriff’s office. This has already happened in King County, WA, and this movement is spreading throughout the country.
The Anti-Police Movement and the Spiraling Crime Rates: Coincidence?
Whether it hides behind the defense of some lives, or behind the slogan of “defunding,” the anti-police movement has been a key recurring topic in the American news cycle for the past 8 years.
Its relentless attacks on police officers and agencies have now fallen out of favor with large sections of the population. However, many local politicians still pander to anti-police voices whenever they face criticism.
For citizens and criminals, this may look like:
- Continuous budget cuts for local police departments
- No approval for new equipment, precinct maintenance, or hazard pay
- Strict regulations and red tape for everyday operations
- Instituting “Police Oversight Boards” to breathe down on the necks of already overworked and under-appreciated officers
These efforts to “reimagine law enforcement” around a political ideal have already been noted by the FBI: since 2020, murder rates increased by almost 30% around the country. The number of police officers killed or injured in the line of duty also rose sharply.
Ready to Enact Change?
Keep Your Focus Local
Federal politicians spread their attention between a myriad of topics and agendas.
Ultimately, your local police department depends on the “small” budget tweaks decided on local ballot initiatives, and on the decisions taken by local politicians. The local Sheriff may not have the backing from a national campaign team, but they can make or break your local area’s sense of safety.
The vote may be on the same day, but it will be up to YOU to know what’s what. Stay informed. Vote. And encourage your friends and family to vote.