The death of George Floyd was a watershed moment in our country which created a vortex of racial tensions, civil unrest, and anti-police sentiment amongst a sector of our society. Beyond the ensuing violence and destruction which engulfed many of our cities, is the presence of an insidious movement to villainize our police forces and political leaders calling for their dismantling. These recent events and the radical political evolution of people in power underscore the importance of this year’s elections on people in uniform in this country. To coincide with the choices we will soon be faced with at the ballot box, we have developed a Voter Guide highlighting the issues we believe are most important to our Law Enforcement Communities.
The demand of a minority, but powerful, segment of our country is gaining increasing traction with local leaders to defund our police and increase oversight over departments. But the legacy of Government Oversight in many jurisdictions, has been one of wasted money and officers who were left powerless against the force of government bureaucracy. Government oversight boards have unilateral power to arbitrarily terminate police officials on baseless grounds, as demonstrated by the recent firing of Chief Anne Kirkpatrick by the Oakland Police Commission. As reported by KPIX5, a SF Bay Area CBS affiliate, Chief Kirkpatrick was fired in February “without cause.”
One of the reasons given for Kirkpatrick’s termination was the failure to reach court ordered reforms dating back to 2003-but Kirkpatrick had only been on the job for 3 years. Instead, argued Kirkpatrick in an OP-ED for The East Bay Times, that the true lack of progress was due to the appointed government monitor, Robert Warshaw himself, who had little personal incentive to see the department succeed:
“The reason the Oakland Police Department remains “out of compliance” with the federal monitoring is not its officers or its policies and procedures. Rather, it is because Warshaw, the monitor himself, who earns a million dollars a year from Oakland taxpayers, has no incentive to see those reforms succeed.
Worse, the ever-changing mountain of bureaucracy he has instituted takes police officers off the streets and keeps them behind desks filling out forms and looking at hours of video, putting public safety at risk.”
Adding weight to Kirkpatrick’s position is that of Oakland City Councilman, Noel Gallo, who also contends that the board is indeed a burden on Oakland taxpayers an obstacle for the Police Department. In a letter to U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick, Gallo wrote the following:
“Each year the tasks have been changing, creating a lack of consistency for the operation of the Police Department and I believe has contributed to one of the reasons that Oakland has had ten police chiefs since 2003.”
“If it takes 17 years to get out of a federal consent decree or reform a police agency and waste taxpayers millions of dollars there is something definitely wrong with the oversight!”
This year it is essential to vote for candidates and policies that do not increase the bureaucratic stranglehold over our police departments, but for those who will put the safety of our communities before their political and personal interests.
One of the other defining issues of our time for not only police officers, but for the entire country is the debate around illegal immigration and Sanctuary Cities. Putting aside the status of those who come here illegally from the civic/political standpoint, it should be obvious to every American that shielding those illegal aliens who commit crimes in our country is an unjustifiable betrayal to not only our police officers, but to all American citizens who have the right to live in a safe community.
While there are unfortunately countless cases across the country which demonstrate the absurdity of Sanctuary City laws, the case of Rocky Jones and his killing by an illegal alien remains an especially poignant one. According to YourCentralValley.com, the death of Rocky Jones came amidst what Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux referred to as a “reign of terror.” According to the report, “Gustavo Garcia, an undocumented immigrant with a violent criminal past, committed a string of crimes including car-jacking, two murders, a high-speed chase and a shootout with law enforcement.” Rocky Jones’ brother, Jody, cites the state’s Sanctuary laws as the direct causes of his brother’s death:
“It destroyed our family,” Jones said.
The sanctuary law prevents local law enforcement from sharing information with federal immigration agents and helping them catch undocumented immigrants for deportation. Garcia had been arrested just days before.
“ICE sent a detainer to the Tulare County Sheriff’s department to hold him and they couldn’t honor it because of the new law, the sanctuary city laws. He was let go.”
Sanctuary laws in our country are creating a two-tiered justice system in which the law applies to citizens, but illegal aliens with criminal records are shielded for political reasons. It is essential to vote against those who would obstruct our law enforcement officers from upholding the law and leave the communities they police vulnerable to violent criminals.
Finally, the attack being brought on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans cannot be discounted. It is important to note that illegal gun crimes are often conflated with the lawful possession of firearms for both personal protection and sport. There are increasingly more and more efforts by some local and federal politicians to restrict citizen’s access to firearms, eliminate areas where they are permitted, and most alarmingly who can possess them. One of the most contentious issues surrounding this debate is the implementation of Red Flag Laws which allow plaintiffs to petition the court when they believe an individual presents an “extreme risk.”
While this law will undoubtedly result in cases where the court system is against civilians, there is also great cause for concern that it will be used to undermine the safety of police officers as well. One such case has already presented itself in the state of Colorado, which has instituted Red Flag Laws, where a county inmate filed an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” against Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams. Local 9News reported on the case, which was eventually thrown out by the judge because just cause wasn’t presented by the inmate. Sheriff Reams had this to say in response to the petition:
“It was a huge waste of my time, but I think it was an even bigger waste of the court’s time. I can’t imagine that the chief judge had to stop what he was doing because these cases became priority, and stop what he was doing and focus on something that was pretty much on face value, it was obvious that this wasn’t a valid red flag petition.”
Red Flag Laws will inevitably create an environment where the rights of law abiding citizens and law enforcement officers are unjustly scrutinized, and potentially at risk of being stripped of their 2nd Amendment Rights at the whims of disgruntled neighbors, family members, ideological politicians, and activists judges alike.
These are some of the most important issues facing our country and our law enforcement communities. As we draw closer to Election Day views on these issues are becoming increasingly ideological and there is no room for debate with radicalized segments of our country who are bent on undermining the police, weaponizing the legal system, and stripping the rights of American citizens in the name of Social Justice. There has never been a more important election for the state of our legal system, the officers who uphold it, and the citizens who live under it.
Our 2020 Voter Guide has reached all corners of our great nation! We were astounded and pleased by the coverage of our 2020 Voter Guide that we created to help citizens as they head to the polls in upcoming elections. Read more here.