So who’s looking forward to noon on Friday when Barack Obama leaves office once and for all? (I could probably pause here for several hours while our various readers weigh in.) The President has his fans and supporters to be sure, as demonstrated in the most recent polling, but there are plenty of other citizens who won’t be sorry to see the end of these two terms. One notable group in the latter category seems to be the nation’s police, at least in the opinion of the leader of one of the profession’s larger advocacy groups. The executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations pulled no punches this week in saying that as far as the cops are concerned, nobody will be terribly sad to see this guy heading off into retirement. (Daily Wire, emphasis added)
A leading voice for the nation’s police officers who has bluntly challenged President Obama for his lack of support for police, issued a truly blunt assessment of how police felt about Obama leaving 0ffice, snapping, “No one is sorry to see this guy go.”
Speaking to The Blaze, William J. Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said Johnson said Obama’s public statements have only offered “lip service” to the idea that targeting police officers is wrong, while he has demonstrated repeated support for groups that blame police for incidents involving minorities.
Johnson added that Obama’s actions have demoralized police, leading to a reticence among officers to become actively engaged with communities for fear of being unjustly accused. He offered this aphorism: “Don’t get involved, smile, wave, drive by.”
There’s one other quote from Johnson which is worth including and it has to do with the President’s history of “taking sides” in the public standoff between law enforcement and Black Lives Matter.
Johnson continued, “He knows what he’s doing. He’s aware who his audience is. In terms of violence against police, his audience was not police or survivors, his audience was leaders of Black Lives Matter, protesters and agitators. … He sent a clear message: ‘I’m on your side.’”
This is obviously a fairly antagonistic stance to take, but he’s certainly holding more than a few cards to support his position. You may recall the recent, exhaustive poll of law enforcement officers around the nation which found that nearly nine in ten cops felt that their jobs were both more dangerous and more difficult than eight years ago. Even more depressing is the perception that working in law enforcement was “no longer worth it” and a tendency to not tell their own kids that going into the police academy was a good career choice. These feelings were even more pronounced among cops in the nation’s large cities than in the suburban and rural precincts.
There have been other, less subtle signals which police officers have no doubt caught wind of. They’ve had to watch a very public and embarrassing battle take place in the press as elected legislators battled over a painting hanging within a stone’s throw of the halls where Congress meets. It’s a piece of “art” which depicts police officers as pigs who are oppressing African American residents in Ferguson.
That’s a telling bit of social commentary and it ties back into the interview with Johnson. He specifically calls out Ferguson and the response of the Obama administration in a matter where it was eventually revealed that the cop in question did nothing wrong.
Police have also sat by and watched two consecutive Attorneys General who seemed more interested in holding some sort of tribunal where the nation’s police officers were being investigated than figuring out why gangs are driving up the murder rates in major cities. None of these things happen in a vacuum and such policies flow down from the top. In short, it’s difficult not to place the credit or blame, depending how you view it, at the feet of the Oval Office occupant. The remaining question is whether things will change significantly under Trump or if he’ll fail to live up to the cop supporting speeches he gave on the trail.
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