Police Reform (10/10): Supporting Law Enforcement vs. the “War on Cops”

Support Your Local Sheriff” – The Movie

Support Your Local Sheriff” was an entertaining 1969 Western parody.  In the movie, James Garner played a gambler who was persuaded to take the job of sheriff in a crime-ridden mining town. Garner didn’t believe in violence, so he simply outwitted the dumb criminals.

For example, there weren’t bars on the jail cell.  So, he drew a chalk line and splattered blood-red paint on the jail floor outside the cell. He told the prisoners that that was the blood of the previous person who tried to cross the line. When the gang came to break the prisoner out of jail, they couldn’t believe that he was meekly sitting a cell with no bars.     

My previous articles on police reform focused on areas of training and improvement for the police.  However, meaningful and lasting police reform also depends on areas of training, education, improvement for the public.

Destroying Police Morale

The anti-police demonstrations, and the massive movement to “defund the police,” have created a crisis in law enforcement — a crisis of morale.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, a 5-star general, concluded, “Morale is the greatest single factor in successful wars.” Likewise, morale is the single greatest factor in effective and honorable law enforcement.

One police chief commented: “The vilification and the constant verbal battering of our profession has taken a huge toll on top of what they were expected to do with the protests and COVID. So, morale is very low right now.”

Ultimately, we are going to pay a heavy price for this constant criticism of police.  Talk of defunding police hurts morale and will make it hard to recruit and retain the best officers. No one wants to work in a job where they are not appreciated.

The War on Cops

Tragically, there is a “War on Cops.”

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During the 2020 protests, some members of BLM, Antifa, and other groups chanted:
-“Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.”
-“What do we want? Dead Cops! When to we want it? Now!
“Hope you f— die!”

Groups of protesters have posted signs:
-“Hold a barbeque, sprinkle Pigs Blood!”
-“All lives can’t matter until black lives matter. Kill all white cops.
-“More dead cops.

So far this year, 27 police officers have been murdered, an all time high.

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In the summer of 2020, a sniper in Dallas murdered 5 officers and wounded 7 others. The innocent victims are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.

The Department of Justice recently warned that Chicago gangs have started targeting police for execution. This year, 65 Chicago officers have been shot at.

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Cold Blooded Execution
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Injured Blood-soaked Deputies

In September 2020, two Los Angeles county deputies were ambushed and shot execution-style while they sat in their patrol car. The heroic young mother, after being shot in the jaw, face, and torso, administered life-saving first aid to her young partner. As the young officers fought for their lives, a crowd gathered outside the hospital. They chanted, “Hope you die!” The protesters tried to block ambulances and disrupt the emergency room. They threatened the injured deputies and their families. Armed guards had to be posted outside the deputies’ recovery rooms to protect them.

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Vigilante Threats
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This type of domestic terrorism and anarchy cannot be tolerated in a civilized society. If our leaders do not support the police in upholding and enforcing the Constitution and Rule of Law, they leave a vacuum that vigilantes and militias will try to fill. History has shown, that if justice is not satisfied, vigilantes and militias will exploit the growing rage. Then “heaven help us!”

The Pygmalion Effect

The Pygmalion Effect is the psychological phenomenon where high expectations lead to improved performance.

This is also called the Rosenthal Effect, named after psychologist Robert Rosenthal whose landmark study proved that school teachers’ expectations of their students affected the students’ performance. Our positive expectations become self-fulfilling.

Pygmalion” comes from the ancient Greek myth where a sculpture fell in love with his statue of a woman.  Because of his love, prayers, and expectations, the gods brought the statue to life, and it became his wife. The story of Pygmalion has been adapted to movies, novels, and plays.

The Pygmalion Effect is a matter of common sense. Positive reinforcement works.  People strive to live up to our expectations of them.

Pygmalion Effect in Career Development - IResearchNet

French philosopher, Blaise Pascal observed. “Treat a person as they are, and they will remain the same.  Treat them as what they can become, and they will become what they can become.

Charles Kettering, an American inventor declared, “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”

Dale Carnegie, Master of Marketing, and author of the mega best seller “How to Win Friends and Influence People” recommended, “Give others a great reputation to live up to.”

Thoughts and Quotes on the Pygmalion Effect:

  • People live up to our expectations of them.
  • Higher expectations influence performance.
  • Positive reinforcement can lead to positive results.
  • Those who expect more, get more.
  • Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for change.

The Pygmalion Effect is a vital ingredient in police reform. We must treat the police like we want them to be.  If we treat police like heroes, they will become heroic. If we treat them with respect, they will become respectful. The police need, and deserve, positive reinforcement to aid them in protecting and serving us.

The Golem Effect

The Golem Effect is the flipside of the Pygmalion Effect. The Golem Effect is the psychological phenomenon in which lower expectations lead to poorer performance.

Golem” is a mythological clay giant created to protect the Jewish residents of Prague. Over time, the benevolent giant turned into a violent monster and had to be destroyed.

Thoughts and Quotes on the Golem Effect

Football Genes. Does Your Child Have Them? - SmartSports
  • People live down to our expectations of them.
  • Low expectations undermine achievement.
  • The less you expect, the less you get.
  • If you expect someone to perform poorly, there is a high probability they won’t deliver better results.

We cannot expect police to act like heroes, if we treat them like zeroes.  We cannot expect police to be role models if we treat them with contempt.  If we treat them like criminals, they will act like criminals. If we treat them like enemies, they will act like enemies

The Forgotten Victims

Forgotten in all the demonstrations and discussions about “police reform,” “social justice” and “defunding the police,” are the true victims of crime. For example, people are protesting on behalf a few unjustified police killings while ignoring the 16,000+ men, women, and children, including 6,000+ African Americans, who are killed by criminals each year? Was Stalin right when he said that one death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is just a statistic?

In Praise of Police

Public service by the police entails great sacrifice.  Their demanding jobs takes a toll on their physical and mental health, spirituality, marriages, and family.

Police see more of the rotting underbelly of society in one year than most people see in a lifetime.  They risk life and limb to protect us.  I cannot think of a braver group of men and women. They perform countless acts of selfless service and heroism, often without recognition.

I personally know officers who were murdered in the line of duty.  They left behind spouses and children.  

I personally know a lot of officers who were injured and/or disabled in the line of duty.  These usually involved gun battles, fights, and getting hit and/or dragged by cars.  

Gratefully, the police protect us from truly evil and very dangerous people. 

(As a side note, I learned long ago not to share the graphic realistic details of the carnage caused by the sadistic psychopaths and sociopaths, the child torturers, and the depraved career criminals I have dealt with. Just knowing the gross facts is a heavy burden. Early in my career, I shared a few of these cases with family and friends, and they couldn’t sleep for weeks. The police deal with those horrors day in and day out. )

In Honor of Police Detectives

 Personally, the finest group of people I have ever associated with are police detectives.  They are bright, educated, and well-trained. They are experienced and mature. They lead balanced lives, and they have good outlook on life.  They are respectful. They dress, look, and act like true professionals. Some of these detectives are extraordinarily impressive individuals.

Detectives have contacted me at all hours, day and night, to review emergency search, arrest warrants, and domestic violence protective orders..  They have come to my home, church, gym, restaurant, and even the hospital. When I feel sorry for myself for being awakened at 3:00 am, I remember that the officers have been awake all night, and will continue to be awake, when I have gone back to bed.

Occasionally, homicide detectives have undergone intense cross-examination in my court all day long, for several days, only to work on new murder cases throughout the night. Sometimes, I have had to put on the record that the detective’s concentration and memory were impaired because of not having slept for days. During this time, their spouses, children, personal lives and health were completely neglected.  We could never pay them enough.

Conclusion

The purpose of the police is to protect our most fundamental rights — the rights to life, liberty, property, peace, and the pursuit of happiness. Without police protection, we are prey to murderers, rapists, robbers, arsonists, burglars, carjackers, thieves, spouse beaters, child molesters, kidnappers, and gangsters. Where would we be without the “thin blue line?

I remember a poignant victim impact statement. As the woman was being brutally raped and tortured, she was “given hope by the sweet sound of sirens.”

The selfless and noble police officers deserve our praise, not our condemnation.

We must to cease and desist using the ambiguous slogan, “Defund the police.”  The enemies of law enforcement lack the credibility to influence positive reform.  They are not seriously trying to improve and reform police; they are trying to tear them down. They are enabling the “war on cops.” In addition to the dying words slogan, “I can’t breathe,” we must remember the many officers’ last words, “tell my family I love them.”

The police will listen to their supporters.  They will not listen to their enemies.

The police represent all of us.  They are there to protect and serve all of us.

In the end, if we want real police reform, we must first “back the blue,” “back the badge,” and “support our local sheriff.”

(See” “Pygmalion Effect,” “Golem Effect,” Wikipedia; “Beleaguered and besieged, police try to come to grips,”www.washingtonpost.com › national › 2020/06/10; “Recognizing the True Cost of Low Police Morale,” David Cruickshand, http://www.policechiefmagazine.org; “Recent protests over police brutality and racism have hurt law enforcement morale,” L. Kent Wolgamott, Lincoln Journal Star, Neb. Jun 15th, 2020.)

Go to: http://www.londonediton.net for 160 prior posted articles. (They can be searched by topic, tags, or key words.)

3 thoughts on “Police Reform (10/10): Supporting Law Enforcement vs. the “War on Cops”

  1. Hugely important article, I think.
    I wonder if a best way to support our new centurion blue suits, is in-person face-to-face. I saw an occupied black & white outside our Home Depot, and stepped over and told the officer driver, “God bless you, we absolutely support you.” In person heart-to-heart may be more powerful than a hundred supportive Tweets on Twitter.

    Like

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