Police — be careful what you wish for

Published 11:01 am Friday, April 30, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The media is ignoring the serious shortage of police officers and people willing to take on that thankless job. I have been inquiring about the shortage of officers in local big city police departments and their inability to get applicants. These are the numbers I am coming up with.

Virginia Beach Police Department, nearly 150 officers short, being described as a critical shortage. Norfolk Police Department, over 100 officers short. The Portsmouth Police Department is 67 officers short. I don’t have solid numbers for Hampton, Newport News and Chesapeake but reliable sources in those departments say they are far under what they should be.

Much of what I am told they are scared to say publicly. Politicians and police chiefs deny — but I assure you the information is from very reliable sources.

Officers I personally know are retiring or getting other jobs as soon as possible. It is the communities of the people of color who will suffer the most from police persecution. Officers now stay out of certain areas because they do not feel they can try to enforce the law in them because if the wrong thing happens, or they make a mistake, they are thrown under the bus. Calling for ending Qualified Immunity that keeps officers from being personally sued is a disaster. Tell applicants if they make a mistake they can lose everything they have personally and see how many apply.

If the persecution of law enforcement continues, soon you may dial 911 and hear this, “An officer will respond in the order in which your call for help was received.” Think this can’t happen, just wait. Those who want to defund the police and prosecute the police say it is to help black and brown communities. However, they are enabling criminals to victimize the very communities they claim to help, the majority of these criminals do not victimize the mostly white suburbs.

I do not agree with officers doing things which are illegal and they should be taken out of the profession but the problem with these shortages is departments are forced to hire people they once would not have hired and keep people they once would have not kept, they have no one to replace them. As one police official recently told me, “if a new person who is not already vested in the profession applies, he already knows they are not smart enough to do the job because no one smart enough to do it, would.” Many people take this risk because they want to help humanity, but I would never recommend any young person get into this thankless dangerous profession.

Of all of the incidents being protested over the past several years, ask yourself two questions. In how many of these cases was the person injured or killed not breaking the law? In how many of these cases were the persons injured or killed disobeying the lawful commands of police officers? 

Of the 48 officers shot to death in 2020, I have seen no protest and even celebrations of their murders. These people are paid to enforce the law, not allow themselves to be seriously injured or killed.

To those that want the police to be afraid, defund them and have them fired and prosecuted for making an honest mistake at work, I say this — be careful what you wish for.

Volpe Boykin