Travis Yates has authored an angry and ominous post on the Law Officer website. He is a Doctoral Student in Strategic Leadership, a graduate of the FBI National Academy and a police commander. Titled “America, We Are Leaving,” his article expresses his disgust at the abuse being focused on police in the wake of the George Floyd incident, and vows to leave law enforcement as a result. He writes,
From chiefs to sheriffs to politicians, no one has our back. Now, the little we have, we are told they are going to defund us or even abolish us. Citizens with a political agenda will reign over us and all you have to do is wake up and put on a uniform to be a racist.
This weekend I received death threats for just doing my job. It would have been outrageous a decade ago and made national news.
Now, it’s just a Monday.
There will be more threats, more accusations of racism and more lies told about us.I used to talk cops out of leaving the job. Now I’m encouraging them.
The essay concludes with a threat and a warning…
You aren’t going to have to abolish the police, we won’t be around for it.
And while I know, most Americans still appreciate us, it’s not enough and the risk is too high. Those of you that say thank you or buy the occasional meal, it means everything.But those of you that were silent while the slow turning of the knives in our backs happened by thugs and cowards, this is on you.
Your belief in hashtags and memes over the truth has and will create an environment in your community that you will never expect. If you think Minneapolis will turn into Mogadishu and that is far from you, it’s coming.
And when it does, remember what your complicity did.
This is the America that you made.
I do find myself wondering why anyone would continue to want to be in law enforcement when the culture, politicians and then news media vilify them to this extent for not only serving the public in a vital job but also a dangerous one. The accumulated effect of insults and attacks, from Minneapolis announcing that it was defunding its police department, to Maven publishing dropping a pro-police website, to such gratuitous nods to police hate, like the cancellation of the TV show “Cops” and LEGO absurdly refusing to promote its products with tiny police figures, has to be having an effect. The question is how long the effects will last, and how serious they will be.
The anti-police actions and rhetoric are, after all, bigotry. If one is a police officer, American culture, its leaders and opinion-makers, are accepting and enabling the lie that this means one is violent, dangerous, and racist. It is easy to dismiss Yates’ article as an emotional outburst, portending nothing.
I wonder if that is wise.
Here’s a poll.
28 thoughts on “A Cop’s Lament…and Threat (Plus A Poll)”
I was just thinking about how police officers must feel when I read about one who had been suspended for giving the middle finger to protestors. Not necessarily because the suspension was wrong, but because of how unfairly the psychic deck is stacked against them. Protestors can insult them in the most dehumanizing, degrading, and emasculating ways imaginable. They can taunt, incite, and belittle cops to their faces, hoping the police will retaliate. And any lack of restraint on the part of the police will result in lawsuits, punishment, and complete societal rejection. You’d need a heart of gold and a constitution of iron not to go crazy being a cop in a city full of angry progressives.
It is also true that bad cops can get away with far more than they should, especially in cities with powerful public employee unions (by which I mean Democrat cities.) Both of these things can be true at once, and I personally, were I the GOP, push for abolition of police unions as a practical solution that the Black Lives Matter movement hopefully is looking for (assuming that they aren’t just a cynical fundraising arm for the Democrat party, happily perpetuating the problem and having no intention of ever solving it.)
I’ve wondered how the police can handle the abuse, both physical and emotional, that they deal with every day, even under normal circumstances.
That incident in Buffalo, for example with the 75 year old who was pushed over. I’m not saying the cop was right to push him at all. But if I put myself in the cops shoes, I’m in full riot gear, I’ve been ordered to move in formation to clear the street, there’s chaos all around me, both in the immediate vicinity and in the whole country, with protestors nearby yelling insults at me. I’m under constant scrutiny, with my every move being recorded by multiple cell phones, and I’m probably exhausted from dealing with several days of this. And now this guy is not just in my way but in my face, saying god knows what to me and preventing me from doing my job. It would take constant personal vigilance to avoid making a single slip up that could earn me jail time and death threats for me, my family, and my dog on social media.
I’m a teacher, and on occasion I’ve had to deal with students yelling insults in my face, and a couple of occurances of actual assault/battery. I’m aware of doing the calculus in my head: if I hit this student, or even say the wrong thing, I’ll lose my job and possibly go to jail, but on the other hand…
Furtunately, I’ve been centered enough that I’ve always come down on the right side of that decision. But I’ve been lucky in that I’m not faced with this often: a few times a year (at most) for the verbal abuse, a handful of times over a 20+ year career for the assault/battery. I can’t imagine having to deal with this many times every day.
I don’t know what the answer is to today’s problems. Maybe cutting back on union power would work. Maybe getting unions to be more willing to let bad cops go. Maybe we could find a way to move away from the militarization of police departments that’s been complained about in recent years. I’ve heard others suggest we move towards a more “European” style of policing, whatever that means. I just hope we can find some path forward. I think given the current state of affairs, turning the US into Mogadishu isn’t outside the realm of possibilty.
A few months ago, I watched a few videos of former police officers talking about why they quit. They discussed many people quitting over attitudes like the ones expressed above. However, these particular officers quit because they would no longer work with the new crop of officers.
In today’s environment, who wants to be a police officer? The answer seems to be: not the kind of people YOU want to be police officers. Decent, hardworking people who can make decent decisions in the heat of the moment can get jobs anywhere. They don’t need to put up with this.
One officer talked about being upset with the quality of the new officers, so he got on the committee overseeing police training. They had a screening test to determine if someone was a suitable candidate to become a police officer. The old cutoff for rejection was 75%. The new cutoff was 35%. They just couldn’t find quality people. He quit because he didn’t want to trust his life to these people.
We got the officers who killed George Floyd because we insisted cops were racist and evil. That drove many of the good cops away and hindered the recruitment of more. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
Kind of a scary thought, but I hope we aren’t there yet. Or I’m wrong, and George Floyd was 9/11 in reverse.
Well at twelve votes, everyone seems to think this is a bad omen…
I am not sure that the Toronto G20 police car fire of 2010 fits the post but it is an arresting picture. This event and the associated private property destruction was antifa / rioter for hire and not very representative of the (Canadian) public. Moreover there were equally embarrassing policing stories re: brutality – https://nationalpost.com/news/police-violated-civil-rights-acted-illegally-says-scathing-report-on-g20-summit
You’re not sure how the photo of a burning police car fits the post about a police officer who feels his profession is abused and maligned?
My take away of the comment and his letter is that this sentiment of abuse, etc. is new yet the 10 year old photo shows it is not new. The old photo also illustrates that policing is just damn hard and has been for a very long time.
Damn hard it is, but most city leaders have supported the police up until very recently. The current situation where leaders no longer support them began around the same time we elected our first biracial president (who identifies as black).
Now, correlation does not imply causation, and this case is no different — the Left has been moving in this direction for a long time, but usually only on the fringe. Now the fringe has become the mainstream.
I know that what I offer here is anecdotal (and therefore criticized by some).
What this officer writes breaks my heart. I know my ex (a retired police sergeant) very well. We were married 24 years. I know his heart. I know the work he did. I know the programs he created and implemented starting from a place of nothing. I know the fellow police families we hung with and I know their hearts; the work they did, the neighborhoods they worked so hard with which to build trust, the tears they shed over lives they couldn’t save, the elderly they comforted, the bikes they fixed because the chain had come off, the calm they restored in the ER when bad news was delivered. This is my experience having been a police wife.
I also work as an actress in crisis intervention training; helping departments train their officers in how to handle members of the community who are in the midst of a mental health crisis. I see their faces when they look into my eyes while I rant and rave and cuss them out. I see their faces when they look to their fellow officers for help because they so desperately want to make the situation right. They want to learn, they want to be better, they want to be there for their community.
Are some officers cut from a different cloth? Yes – and for both good and bad. One night, my husband told me he was going to be late. There was a sniper on a roof top taking shots at civilians on the street. He came home later that evening to tell me that one of the SWAT guys had taken out the sniper. Shot from a building across the way, the sniper was found dead on the hotel floor, a cigarette still smoldering in his mouth. There was a part of me that was mortified. How could the SWAT guy calmly ride the elevator in the building across the parking lot, fully outfitted in SWAT gear, ready to take aim, knowing full well what he had to do? He knew he was about to take a life. How does one do that?!? How?? I’m not made from that cloth. But this officer was. And thank God.
Not too long after taking out a deadly threat, I’m sure that officer was back on the street helping a six year old with his bike because the chain had come off. (And before some people come in here and tell me it’s sentimentalism, I watched just a thing happen.)
Tour de force, and from the heart; a powerful message!
Thanks, Paul. That’s very kind. I just wish that people could see life from the viewpoint of an officer: the good, the bad, the ugly, the tragic, the frustrating, the delights and belly laughs, the beautifully human and the heartbreak – a day of all that is life is this country.
But we don’t. We see one cop, attended by rookies, a man who didn’t deserve to lose his life over the crime he apparently committed, recorded on a cell phone and for which Rome burns.
Perfect comment. Enlightening and heartfelt.
And incredibly apropos to the subject matter at hand.
I don’t know how widespread this will be, but it’ll be the good cops we’ll lose. The bad ones may not think they’re doing anything wrong — or, as has been seen forever, there are certain people who enjoy abusing others.
That’s a recipe for widespread vigilantism.
When does vigilantism become “community policing?”
Be careful what you ask for, Leftists. You might just get it.
Just wait until some gangbanger guns down some kids in front of a school during a drive-by.
Then we will find out if these same people say only cops should have assault weapons.
An alternate ending to johnburger2013’s recent clerk/robber/response team story (with much less effort employed):
Unnoticed by robber, there is a shopper in the store accompanied by her armed and armored relative/friend/hireling whose day it is to be her assigned security when leaving the house. Security has noticed robber, and when robber pulls pistol, security pulls trigger. If clerk is able, shopper completes her purchases, and she and security leave the premises.
Life without police goes on…for some
When they demand taking police out of schools agree and advise them we will reinstate corporeal punishment instead of arresting them. See how that flys.
I’ll bet my head that the single vote for “We don’t need police” came from a deranged Marshall facebook friend.
Everyone that isn’t, thank their Lucky Stars they aren’t a CHICAGO RESIDENT/a>.
An except from a leaked…um…spirited phone exchange:
15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez: “We can’t expect our police, and I don’t fault them at all, to be able to control this. Half our neighborhoods are already obliterated. It’s too late. Once they’re done looting and rioting and whatever’s going to happen tonight, God help us, what happens when they start going after residents? Going into the neighborhoods? Once they start trying to break down people’s doors, if they think they’ve got something. We know that people are here to antagonize and incite, and you’ve got them all pumped tonight, today. They’re not going to go to bed at 8 o’clock. They’re going to turn their focus on the neighborhoods. I’ve got gang-bangers with AK-47s walking around right now, just waiting to settle some scores. What are we going to do, and what do we tell residents, other than good faith people stand up? It’s not going to be enough. It’s not something you ignore. This is a question that I have.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot: “I think you’re 100% full of shit, is what I think.”
Alderman Lopez: “Fuck you, then! Who are you to tell me I’m full of shit? Maybe you should come out and see what’s going on.”
Mayor Lightfoot: “If you think we’re not ready, and we stood by and let the neighborhoods go up, there’s nothing intelligent that I could say to you. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I understand you want to preen…”
Alderman Lopez: “Mayor, you need to check your fucking attitude. That’s what you need to do.”
Yikes! But I’m siding with Lopez!
The transcript doesn’t do that exchange justice. Lopez was animated and frustrated. Lightfoot was arrogant and condescending. It was a beautiful thing to behold because it clearly demonstrated the cultural divide between law and order (Lopez) and chaos and anarchy (Lightfoot).
I keep seeing stories that Biden is way up in the polls and that Trump is going to take a pounding in November. Trump needs to come out strongly in support of law enforcement, try to tamp tensions and stop tweeting stupid things about a 75 year old man being an antifa plant to gin up anti-police sentiment. Trump also needs to speak directly to race relations – dangerous place for him, to be sure. But he needs to reach out to legitimate leaders in the Black community and open a dialog toward addressing their concerns. Otherwise, he is going to pay dearly with the Black community in November.
On a side note, my wife and I watched a CBS special on Tuesday night hosted by Oprah’s galpal Gayle King*. It was called ‘Justice For All’. Clearly it was intended to bolster Biden’s run for President and hit Trump and Trump voters. Here is a link to the special, if you can watch it with out pulling your retinas out of your eyes:
My long-suffering wife sat mystified by what she was watching and hearing. My wife was born and raised in México and doesn’t have much regard for politicians or police there. Here, though, she has great respect for the nation’s traditions of law and order and due process. At one point during the show, she lost her patience and demanded, “When did they put this together? It looks like they had all of this pre-prepared, just waiting for the right to time to use it!” Then, she yelled at me for allowing CBS to broadcast such a biased show. I had to hide under my model train table for a few hours to let that anger cool down. Turns out it worked to her benefit. She made a pound cake for the constables who patrol our neighborhood. They were happy and I didn’t get hurt.
Ed. Note *: How did she get that gig and how does she keep that gig at CBS? She is not all that bright.
“How did she get that gig and how does she keep that gig at CBS? She is not all that bright.”
That’s a bit of rhetorical sarcasm, right?
Yep. As rhetorical as they come.
Super good guy I knew was a cop for eight years and got out when he realized he was opening his own front door with his gun in his hand.
That was 20 years ago, when the world was far less nuts than it is now.
That letter is prophecy.
BB, I gotta tell you, many times, when there is a knock on my door, I answer with a 1911 in my hand. Scares the hell out of my granddaughter, but she knows why and understands (mostly).
I don’t see the answer I would pick:
All of this is going down in the city at the core of our urban areas. Where rioting has already started, they act with impunity because the police response was already withdrawn by the city political leadership. They know they can run wild and no one is going to let the police do anything.
The antifa goons have tried moving out into suburbia and have even made a few forays into small towns. They’ve been soundly rejected. Where order hasn’t broken down, antifa goons try a few things first and wait to watch the response. They’ve gotten a harsh response. Particularly in small towns, they’ve been met by armed locals standing together with local law enforcement.
The defund police idiocy is only going to gain traction in the central city. All of these surrounding cities aren’t proposing this. The demoralized police are in the major cities. The police in the surrounding cities in the major metro areas aren’t feeling the same pressure. Move out of the large metro areas and it is even less.
There will be some overlapping impact on states leaning strongly blue, particularly ones where they have a strong intent to force their will on the entire state (See Virginia and the left coast). There will be some statewide measures, but the small towns will cling to their police like they cling to their guns.
What we on our way to seeing two Americas. One with the progressives on the way to becoming Somalia. I don’t think it is anywhere near as dire for the rest of us.
Given that the Left is increasingly demanding people pick sides and are quietly transitioning to threatening those who don’t pick the left with ominous slogans like “Silence is Violence” (here they are quietly saying, if you don’t speak up in support of you, we’ll consider it a threat to us and will react appropriately), then of course it makes sense for the beleaguered elements of society (like the police), begin making similar calls for people to take sides.
If there is a silent majority in this nation (and I’m beginning to think there’s an apathetic majority that doesn’t give a crap), that silent majority is going to have to start speaking up and actually voting out the totalitarians who tacitly support the civilization eaters.
My nephew, an NYPD officer in Bedford Stuyvesant, spent the past weeks guarding the tent hospitals that were never used in the “massive pandemic”. His wife, an RN was “furloughed” because there was not enough patient load which resulted from the presumption that no one else would need medical intervention for any other reason other than Covid-19. She worked in a cardiac care unit.
As a side gig, my nephew does real estate work. On his real-estate facebook, he received death threats against him, his wife, and three children because he was a “cop”.
As a concerned uncle, I advised him to sit in his patrol car. listen to his favorite Pandora station and turn off the dispatch radio until his 12-hour shift was ended.
Many years ago while doing a rotation t the Brooklyn State Psychiatric facility the supervisor continually reminded us that the only thing that separates us and protects us from the violent patients was that “we have the keys, DO NOT let them get the keys.”
Not only do they have the keys but they are actively been given the keys by the politicians, media and privately protected leftist elites. Regrading the insane situation in Seattle, if I was any kind of first responder I would not enter or approach the “autonomous” area unless the Mayor, the governor and the other politicoes together were leading the phalanx