If the 2020s have taught us anything, it is that fortunes can change and change quickly.
After the George Floyd incident, a very vocal part of the American population made their voices heard. The occupation of a law enforcement officer, one that had traditionally been held in high regard … now wasn’t.
In many places, lack of support from political leaders made the job more difficult and sometimes downright impossible. Officers left departments in unprecedented numbers and replacements were not applying to take those positions.
Nationwide, law enforcement agencies are dealing with unprecedented low staffing levels and right now there is not a light at the end of the tunnel. Agencies and their officers are doing more with less, but there are limits to what can be accomplished with less people and less funding.
While that is what most of the country deals with, here in Texas, things are a bit different.
Unlike much of the nation, in South Texas people have a genuine appreciation for good law enforcement. We see it daily.
As I start my 21st year with the Jourdanton Police Department, it never ceases to amaze me to see the constant stream of doughnut deliveries to our office, local ranchers stopping to visit with us at a coffee shop or the retired neighborhood lady who waves at officers on patrol and never misses an opportunity to chat with them when they stop to see how things are on her street.
Why is that? Why do some departments have incredibly positive support and others do not? We could probably write a doctoral dissertation on that topic, but there are a few things that I know work …
In Jourdanton, we work to instill something I call “The Mother Standard.” I can’t claim credit as I stole the idea from the private sector, but at its core it drives the belief that we should treat every person we deal with the way we would want our own mother treated were she to find herself in that same situation. And generally speaking, it works.
When people call for the police, they don’t get to shop around, but we should be training our officers to perform as though that is an option. We should strive to work in the manner that if you had a choice of law enforcement agencies to help you with your situation, you would still choose ours.
In law enforcement, the public is our customer and when possible we need to make our best effort to deliver good customer service. Police officers are called upon to do things that a great many people cannot or will not do for themselves and sometimes that means doing things that don’t always look “Hollywood Perfect” on camera, as in the real world there is no pretty way to use force.
There is however, a never-ending array of opportunities to wear a badge and take care of our citizens.
If I have learned anything in my law enforcement career, it is that people typically reciprocate the treatment they are given. Whether it is the CEO of a company or a suspect we have arrested on numerous occasions, when respect is given, it is usually received in kind.
It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it works out that way in most cases. Our job is to catch criminals, prevent crime when possible and protect the community. It’s a tall order, but having open lines of communication with the public and local businesses means when a crisis hits, those foundations are already in place to find fast solutions and reach equitable outcomes.
The men and women who are signing up to be law enforcement officers in 2022 are facing challenges that us as veteran officers never dreamed of, and yet, they still willingly put on their badge and show up day after day to see society at its worst.
They are on one or more cameras during every public interaction and face more scrutiny than any previous generation of officer, yet they still willingly put on their badge and show up to try to help people on their worst day, and quite frankly as a profession, they are doing an excellent job. To me it is inspiring.
At a recent conference of police chief’s, we focused on what I consider to be a priority in our field of work today—growing the next generation of leaders.
Leaders that will not only wear a chief’s badge one day, but be frontline supervisors, lead investigative divisions and develop policy and protocols for officers who will take us through the 21st century, helping our officers grow while we simultaneously shape what our profession will look like in the coming decades. We cannot afford to fail.
There are over 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States and Texas has over 80,000 (over 10%!) of all of the officers in the nation. It is imperative that we find the balance between accountability and supporting those who keep chaos at bay on a daily basis.
Regardless of what agency you work for or how long you have been on the job, these men and women need to know that what they do matters. It matters to me, it matters to my family, and it matters to the 330,000,000 Americans who (whether they know it or not) benefit from law enforcement’s efforts.
As we start Police Week 2022, I want to personally thank you for what you do, for your dedication and for your sacrifices. May we never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and may we just as steadfastly support those who are still serving and protecting.
Enjoy your week; you have earned it!
FBI data shows murders of police officers are increasing worldwide since death of George Floyd
There has been a growing increase of law enforcement officers being intentionally murdered in the United States since the death of George Floyd.
It’s a concerning trend that is leaving those in the law enforcement community on edge.
"Your murder will not be in vain, and the violence must stop: Enough is enough," Ingram said.https://t.co/Wj8VbortNe
— Steve Hilton’s Rebel Base (@CARebelBase) February 6, 2022
The FBI, which keeps track of the line of duty deaths for police officers, has reported there were a total of 73 law enforcement officers intentionally murdered in 2021.
That number is almost 16 deaths higher than the average of officers killed in the last five years and 27 more than in all of 2020.
That is the highest number of police officers killed since 1995.
Of the 73 law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty, the FBI reports that 55 of them were killed by a gunman. That is an increase of 39 during the same time frame in 2019 and 2020.
The recent increase in violence towards police officers seems to coincide with the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Floyd, a criminal, was killed by a Minneapolis Police officer in a video captured on numerous video recordings which were played by mainstream media over and over again.
Watching an 11-year old child receive the Texas and US flag at her father’s funeral is soul-crushing. Her dad, @HCpct5 Cpl. Charles Galloway protected and served Harris Co. until his line-of-duty death on January 23rd. pic.twitter.com/D2IjDs9dlv
— Melissa Correa (@KHOUmelissa) February 1, 2022
That incident sparked a nationwide debate over the use of force and policing in general, with some areas of the country demanding the police departments get defunded.
Maria Haberfeld, the chair for the Department of Law, Police Sciences, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College, spoke to CNN about the incident:
“There is an overall climate now that is very anti-police, which adds a different angle to what used to happen periodically to police in the past years.
The anti-police climate would surge after a high-profile case, and usually after a month or so it would subside. But right now, we’re talking about over a year of high-profile, anti-police coverage.”
Patrick Yoes, the president for the Fraternal Order of Police, in December spoke to Fox News about the increasing risk towards police officers:
“There is no doubt that the recent erosion of respect for law enforcement has fueled more aggression towards police officers than what has been seen in previous years.
As violence continues to be aimed at law enforcement, our officers continue to show up every day to keep the communities they serve safe. These men and women run toward danger to protect the public when everyone else is running away.”
458 law enforcement, police officers died in line of duty in 2021 –
Statistic, released Tues by National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, surpassed 1930 recd of 312 fatalities & reflects a 55% jump in line-of-duty deaths compared to 295 officer deaths in 2020 – pic.twitter.com/UlYav4EP3Z
— Blanche Victoria (@tammytabby) February 6, 2022
While last year may be a historic record in terms of the increase to officers murdered in the line of duty, 2022 may far outpace 2021 if the current trend continues.
In January of 2022, there have been 30 law enforcement officers who were shot in the line of duty – five of those died. The increase in the number of officers shot is a startling 67 percent.
Yoes spoke about the sharp increase in 2022 as compared to the same time frame in 2021:
“In just the first month of 2022, we saw the real-life consequences of and felt the immense pain caused by the recent surge in violent crime and the heinous acts of cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer.
No officer should be at risk of being violently targeted simply because of the uniform they wear…
“I have worked in law enforcement for 36 years and the current level of violence targeted at our law enforcement officers is the worse I have ever seen.”
⚠️ Violence against the police continues, with no end in sight. As long as rogue prosecutors are in office, no one is safe—not law-abiding citizens, not police officers.
LEOs can once again deliver historic results reducing crime. But not if we’re handcuffed from doing our job! pic.twitter.com/3lRFRgtyRS
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) February 1, 2022
He did this through a decision he made before his life was cut short, as he was designated as an organ donor.
Officer Mora sadly lost his battle to stay alive after he was gravely injured during an on-duty shooting while investigating a domestic violence situation.
Although his life was lost when he gave the ultimate sacrifice, he was able to save five lives after his organs were donated to those in need.
According to the organization that facilitated the organ transplant, LiveOnNY, when Officer Mora’s family realized that all life-saving efforts had failed, they made the decision to honor a decision the fallen officer made years ago – to donate his organs.
On January 23rd, Officer Mora’s body was transported to NYU Langone Health where LiveOnNY’s organ transplant team is housed.
LiveOnNY’s President and CEO, Leonard Achan, spoke about the tragic incident and how Officer Mora’s organs have saved five lives. He said:
“In such a tragic story for New York, people will have a second chance at life thanks to the generosity of the Mora family and Officer Mora.”
Achan then spoke directly about Officer Mora’s parents who were forced to make the devastating decision to stop all life saving efforts. He said:
“Their son became an NYPD officer to serve, protect, and save lives. They knew that was true in his life and they knew in his death he would want to save lives.”
Achan continued by speaking about the number of organs that Officer Mora donated and the five lives that he saved as a result. He said:
“LiveOnNY can now confirm that through the generosity of NYPD Officer Mora and his family with their heroic gift of organ donation, 5 people who were waiting for a heart, liver, two kidneys, and pancreas were saved.
Based on the medical urgency of waiting recipients, 3 individuals in New York and 2 people outside the state of New York received life-saving organ transplants from Officer Mora.
“We are humbled and honored to be the steward of these gifts on behalf of Officer Mora and his family so others may live on.”
On Twitter, LiveOnNY posted:
“Officer Mora leaves behind a lasting legacy of unwavering service as an #NYPD officer and as an organ donor who saved 5 lives. LiveOnNY mourns the loss of this amazing hero, and our hearts and support will continue to be with the Mora family.”
NYPD Officers Jason Rivera and Mora were two of the three officers that responded to a domestic disturbance on January 21st. The disturbance was involving Lashawn McNeil who was having problems according to his mother.
When officers arrived on the scene, Officers Rivera and Mora began to walk down a long hallway to speak to McNeil while the third officer stayed in the living room of the apartment with McNeil’s mother and brother. As the officers approached the room McNeil was in, he burst out in an ambush and opened fire, gravely wounding both officers.
The third NYPD officer on the scene was able to shield McNeil’s mother from his gunfire and returned fire, striking, and gravely wounding him in the process. McNeil was transported to a nearby hospital in Harlem after the shooting and succumbed to his injuries days later.
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