In writing about the Michael Brown and Freddie Gray cases, I’ve observed that the behavior of so-called leaders and social justice radicals–often one in the same–will ensure that police recruitment will become an exercise in futility and mediocrity. When the best and brightest see that not only will they will not have the daily support necessary to exercise reasonable and lawful discretion in doing their duty, but could easily find themselves prosecuted by unethical ideologues if they happen to arrest the wrong people, or do something routine during the wrong political climate, the best and brightest will no longer have the urge to become police officers.
This is a problem disturbing enough under the best of circumstances. Far too many police executives want their officers to be only so smart, for such people are easier to manipulate and less likely to argue about unreasonable, even dangerous, policies. During my police career, more than one police chief told me I was too smart to be a police officer. Those comments were intended—I think—as a sort of unintentional, backhanded compliment, but it was clear those men didn’t fully understand what they were saying about themselves or their agency.
It is becoming more and more unlikely that future police chiefs will ever have to render such a compliment, and if the officers in Baltimore are convicted, it will be even more unlikely. American policing will become a refuge for the dangerous, unqualified and uncaring, people who want to be police officers because it gives them power over others, precisely the kind of people no rational person wants to wield the authority of the modern centurion. Until this point, my observations—and one need not be an Oracle of Delphi to predict such things—have been primarily predictions. No longer:
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The St. Louis County Police Department says a difficult part of hiring about 30 officers needed to be fully staffed is finding quality applicants.
About 900 officers are working in St. Louis County, including municipalities that contract with the department, says recruitment officer Kevin Minor.
He says they are suffering from what they call the ‘Ferguson effect’ and a lack of trust, and many officers have chosen to go to the private sector.
It is not being lost on prospective police officers that former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson did everything right. He acted entirely within the law, doing exactly what we want competent police officers to do, yet was forced to spend tens of thousands in legal fees, lost his job, his career, and will spend the rest of his life essentially in hiding. These are the rewards offered for a lifetime of personal and familial sacrifice?
Trust will come back around,’ Minor says. ‘But there’s some things that need to be corrected by law enforcement and court systems and things like that. We understand that.’
And he says it’s not unique to the St. Louis region.
‘This ‘Ferguson effect’ is kind of like an atomic bomb,’ Minor says. ‘And it just affected the whole country because no one wants to deal with the scrutiny and the stresses that we’re dealing with now.’
Time heals everything, he says.