Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you might have heard something about police officers feeling they’re under attack.
If you go by the numbers, in terms of LODs and assaults on police officers, 2015 does not appear to be a particularly deadly year to be a police officer.
But officer fatalities alone are not driving the impression of increased hostility to police.
Another major factor is the fact that cops are easy and high-value targets politically.
Consider FBI Director James Comey and Chuck Rosenberg, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
They’ve been all over the place recently, talking about how cops are too scared to do their jobs.
They call it “The Ferguson Effect.”
There is exactly zero evidence that anything of the sort is taking place.
But when you’re the head of an agency with as many personnel issues, to name just one significant problem at the DEA, it’s always smart to run a bait-and-switch.
If you talk about how cops are terrified of getting out of their cruisers, reporters are far less likely to ask questions about federal scandals—and boy, are there a ton of them.
Or consider the presidential candidate commuters and public employees love to hate, Chris Christie.
This guy’s campaign is in deeper trouble than Jeb’s, and that’s really saying something.
So, what does a guy in that position do? He switches the subject to cops.
Christie tried and failed recently to use support for police, which is still there among a majority of Americans, to salvage his trainwreck of a campaign.
He wanted to declare a state holiday (read: no one gets the day off) called “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.”
“There’s a chill wind blowing through law enforcement in this country, where officers do not feel as appreciated or as safe as they need to,” Christie said.
That hustle has worked for decades, but it looks like law enforcement might be growing up a little, in terms of political sophistication.
Patrick Colligan, head of the NJ State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement that Christie’s announcement indicates he is “grasping at anything that might possibly give him a boost on our backs.”
Colligan said NJ police “have not felt appreciated by the governor since he took office” as the governor’s policies “have driven thousands of officers to retire, led to hundreds of officers being laid off, and left thousands of officers in danger in understaffed and underfunded departments.”
Colligan asserted there are “simple ways” Christie can show his appreciation for police. “We would appreciate Gov. Christie holding to the sacred trust promise he made when he was a candidate for governor in 2009 and meeting his obligation to fully fund the pension system,” he added.
If that exchange between a pol and a cop was a prizefight, it would be a 21-year-old-Mike Tyson-esque knockout in the first 30 seconds of round one.
Hopefully, this is a sign that the days when politicians can manipulate police and police organizations for their own political ends may be coming to a close.