There is a variety of data suggesting that police officers are less willing to engage in proactive or self-initiated arrests.
An estimated 150,000 cops show up to work with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
A recent poll from Baltimore states that 43 percent of officers do not feel comfortable in making proactive or self-initiated arrests (see below). From the Baltimore cops I have communicated with via social media, I believe that the percentage is much higher. Baltimore is one of a variety of locations where cops are leaving, Baltimore Sun.
Violence is increasing in Baltimore and additional American cities. Many are suggesting a crisis where violence is affecting livability, BizJournals.
There are additional reports stating that cops are reluctant to make proactive arrests or engage in self-initiated duties, Police Contacts Fall By Eight Million. I understand that a willingness to engage in proactive policing differs based on location and perceptions of public support.
Yes, negative publicity (some of it deserved) affects what cops do, Negative Publicity Affects Police Operations.
New York, Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, and other cities have suffered through major incidents and public confrontations. Regardless of the circumstances, we have a problem of growing crime, (a seventeen percent increase in the number of violent crime since 2015) along with police officers leaving and recruitment becoming increasingly difficult, Houston Police Shootings.
It’s clear that some cops lack confidence in the public’s support and that’s hurting crime control and community stability. There is data stating that proactive policing reduces crime, Police Strategies Reduce Crime.
More active-duty officers die from suicide than from shootings and traffic accidents combined—about 11 or 12 per month, according to some studies, and at least 27 so far in 2019, says Karen Solomon of the group Blue H.E.L.P.
An estimated 150,000 cops show up to work with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition often linked with heightened vigilance that could potentially affect their decision-making in fast-moving, high-pressure encounters—like when a suspect on the street reaches into a pocket for what may or may not be a gun, Mother Jones reports.
Yet there are also poll numbers stating that policing is one of the most respected professions in America, Law Enforcement Today.
We may be facing a crisis of confidence within the criminal justice system. If officers are reluctant to be proactive and if they are unwilling to stay, the very existence of some cities hangs in the balance.
We need a national conference addressing these issues. We are running out of time. Solutions seem elusive.
More than 40 percent of Baltimore police officers who took part in a recent survey said they don’t feel comfortable making proactive arrests, the Baltimore Sun reports. The survey by Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer was sent to police department leadership, officers and civilian members who responded anonymously. Some 43 percent said they do not feel “comfortable making self-initiated arrests,” which Schleifer said refers to proactive calls when officers are on patrol and they witness an incident and intervene, as opposed to calls they respond to through 911. “They’re afraid,” Schleifer said. “In this political environment, you have to justify every move you make.”
Schleifer shared the results with Acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. “It’s refreshing. He’s seen challenges similar to ours,” Schleifer said. He said Harrison is taking action by evaluating the command staff and determining what, if any, changes need to be made. Forty-four percent of responding police said they don’t “fully understand the consent decree” under which the police department is operating. One officer wrote: “Morale won’t rise until … officers receive consistent public support from the Mayor, City Council and State’s Attorney. No one is asking that corruption be tolerated. What we are asking is that when we investigate crimes and make arrests or issue citations that our elected leaders support us when we encounter resistance.” A detective said: “We don’t have enough people in my unit. The volume of cases we have is absurd given our manpower. It leads to mistakes, and inadequate follow up investigations which lead to sloppy prosecutions. None of which is for lack of trying.”
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Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. – Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Former Adjunct Associate Professor of criminology and public affairs-University of Maryland, University College. Former advisor to presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. Former advisor to the “McGruff-Take a Bite Out of Crime” national media campaign. Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University. Aspiring drummer. You can contact him at [email protected]