Dallas Police Murders and What it Means for Law Enforcement

police funeral

Dallas police murders and what it means for law enforcement. Early observations. What we need to do.

Five police officers are dead, 6 hurt by a sniper in Dallas.

The shooter live streamed on Facebook the shooting of the 11 police officers near a protest over the recent killings by police of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castilein in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and elsewhere.

Crime in America will continue to run articles on this site regarding the murders of the Dallas police officers as well as reports on the police involved shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and elsewhere

The Impact:

We recently offered an article titled, “Don’t be A Cop?” at https://www.crimeinamerica.net/2016/06/29/dont-be-a-cop/ where we addressed the impact of police protests, the willingness of people to be police officers, and the resulting unprecedented rise in homicides and violent crime throughout the country.

From the article, “Anyone who follows criminal justice news on a daily basis knows that there are dozens of newspaper articles focusing on the problem of recruiting police officers.

As one commentator stated after the indictment of six police officers in Baltimore after riots pertaining to the Freddie Gray case, “Every wife and girlfriend, every husband and boyfriend is telling their loved one’s to get out of the Baltimore City Police Department, and to get out now.” Similar conversations are happening in other cities.

We note that Baltimore now has the largest growth in homicides of the cities measured by recent US Department of Justice funded data. Rising rates of homicides and violence are happening in cities throughout the country.”

This morning, as we receive the news of the Dallas homicides, that act of husbands and wives asking, “Is being a cop really worth it?” is being repeated throughout the country.

We note this morning that Dallas media (CBS local station) offered the following before the shootings, “The Dallas Police Association Says Low Pay, Morale Trigger Several Police Resignations. June was not a good month for staffing at the Dallas Police Department. The Dallas Police Association says nearly 50 officers resigned over the past month to take jobs in other North Texas cities.”

Also from this morning, “The number of police in mid-sized cities has decreased in recent years, and policing experts question whether the downward trend is tied to the heightened scrutiny of cops. The Baltimore, Maryland Police Department lost 171 officers from 2014 to 2015. In the same time period, Detroit’s officer-count dropped by 115.” REUTERS.

Why Others Don’t Write About This?

I fully understand that  there are endless racial, political or class considerations that cause many (most) of us to retreat into our corners. See new research from Pew at http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/06/27/on-views-of-race-and-inequality-blacks-and-whites-are-worlds-apart/, but race is just one factor in an issue loaded with endless interchangeable parts.

For some, the indictment of the officers in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray case was an unethical, illegal, crass move to make a political statement that completely disregarded human rights and the US Constitution.

For others, it’s a righteous proclamation of power to address and rectify endless inequities within our criminal justice system.

Rising rates of violent crime are linked by many commentators (including the head of the FBI) to cops not willing to take risks. The inference is that officers are sitting back while they contemplate new careers or transfers to police departments or communities where, they believe, their role is supported.

The animosity regarding the above statement will come from all sectors of society accusing me of ignoring one of the most pressing social problems of our time to others who will insist that cops aren’t “holding back.”

So What Do We Do?

We condemn the stupid or brutal actions of bad cops, and after being a police officer, I can assure you they they exist.

But are we willing to paint all police officers with a broad brush? It seems that we are. Citing recent statements from people in the entertainment industry condemning cops would take another 1,000 words.

Gallup reported in 2015 that public perceptions of police officers had reached its lowest point in 22 years.

So given the current climate, why would anyone be willing to be a police officer?

If people refuse to serve as officers or are reluctant to meaningfully engage in our cities, the consequences are enormous.

Time for a Conversation?

We always say after uncomfortable social problems that, “It’s an opportunity for a new conversation.”

Good luck with that. Once you get through the role of race and class, the proper function of a police officer, what you want cops to do, where you want them to do it, the part of the community in crime control (I thought that my criminological training stated that crime was principally a community, not a governmental responsibility), cops as warriors or guardians (we seem to insist that they be both) and endless other factors, the mud pit will be wide and inescapable.

What to Do?

For the moment, we refuse to use recent events as fodder for our own personal beliefs. As the Dallas Chief said this morning, “We don’t feel much support most days.” He also described police as the “Guardians of this great democracy.” Profound words during a difficult moment.

Beyond the raw emotions involving recent events in three cities,  police and community members in every major city need  to create a written understanding as to what they want from law enforcement. It’s time to act. It’s time for communities to decide what they want “while” understanding that their desires may have real consequences for their safety.

It’s time to put it in writing, and for cops to adhere to those principals.

Anything less is dysfunctional, bordering on cowardice.

It’s time to put it in writing.

Contact us at crimeinamerica@gmail.com. Media on deadline, use leonardsipes@gmail.com.


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